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"Kemba Smith Pradia to Receive Indiana Black Expo’s Humanitarian Award"

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Kemba_Smith (21k image)Kemba Smith Pradia will receive Indiana Black Expo’s humanitarian award at this year’s Corporate Luncheon, Thursday, July 15, 2010 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. The Senator Carolyn Brown Mosby Above & Beyond Award, named after the late Indiana State Senator (D-Gary) is presented annually to someone who has made an ongoing commitment to serve humanity and someone who has persevered and overcome considerable odds to exceed other’s expectations and achievements. Prior award recipients include: Gospel Recording Artist Kirk Franklin, Actor Louis Gossett Jr., University of Alabama at Birmingham Basketball Coach Mike Davis, former NBA player Alan Henderson and the late Dr. John Hope Franklin, the “Dean” of African American history and author of “From Slavery to Freedom”. The luncheon will be attended by more than 3,000 business and civic leaders from central Indiana and will also honor Comedian Mike Epps, actors Idiris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, Butler University Basketball Coach Brad Stevens and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. For more information on Indiana Black Expo visit .

Growing up as an only child in Richmond, Virginia, Kemba Smith Pradia graduated high school and continued her education at prestigious Hampton University. What happened to Kemba in her new campus environment was a nightmare. In an attempt to “fit in,” Kemba associated with the wrong crowd and became involved with a drug dealer. He was a major figure in a crack cocaine ring and drew Kemba right in the middle of his life with physical, mental and emotional abuse disguised as “love.”

After enduring this turbulent four-year relationship in 1994, Kemba was sentenced to 24.5 years and served 6.5 years in federal prison. Fortunately, she regained her freedom after President Clinton granted her clemency in December 2000. Her case drew support from across the
nation and the world to reverse a disturbing trend in the rise of lengthy sentences for first time non-violent drug offenders. Her story has been featured on CNN, Nightline, Court TV, The Early Morning Show, Donahue, Judge Hatchett, and a host of other television programs. In
addition, Kemba has been featured in several publications such as The Washington Post, New York Times, Glamour, People, JET, Emerge and Essence magazines.

Kemba’s traumatic real life experience forces today’s students to recognize that there are consequences to their life choices. She has been corporately sponsored to speak at a variety of high schools and college venues by Proctor & Gamble, Bank One Academy, Shell Corporation,
Traveler’s Foundation, Verizon, and BET. In 2007, Rainforest Films acquired the rights to roduce Kemba’s life story into a film. Rainforest Films has produced the critically acclaimed films: “Stomp the Yard”, “This Christmas”, “Obsessed”, and the soon to be released film, “Takers”.

Kemba finished her undergraduate degree in Social Work at Virginia Union University as well as her first year of Law School at Howard University. She also was an award recipient for a two year Soros Justice Postgraduate Fellowship for advocates. Currently, Kemba is continuing to develop her 501 (c) (3) foundation, the Kemba Smith Foundation. As a wife, mother, advocate, consultant and public speaker, Kemba has received numerous awards and recognitions for her courage and determination to educate the public about the devastating consequences of current drug policies. Ultimately, Kemba knows that there is a lesson in each experience in life, and she has embraced her experience, learned from it, and is now using that experience to teach others.

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