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Kemba Smith Pradia to Be Keynote Speaker for Ethel H. Hall Colloquium

Kemba Smith Pradia will deliver keynote message for this year’s colloquium.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Kemba Smith Pradia, BSW is set to deliver the keynote address Feb. 16 as part of the 2022 Ethel H. Hall African American Heritage Month Celebration Colloquium from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

This year’s event, as well as Pradia’s presentation, “Reimagining Criminal Justice: Changing the Narrative,” will be completely virtual due to the ongoing coronavirus global pandemic. Attendees can sign up for the event by following the link here. One CEU will be granted for attendance.

About Keynote Speaker, Kemba Smith Pradia

Kemba Smith Pradia went from college student to drug dealer’s girlfriend to domestic violence victim to federal prisoner; and in 1994 she was sentenced to 24.5 years in federal prison. Kemba’s case drew support from across the nation.

Often labeled the “poster child” for reversing a disturbing trend in the rise of lengthy sentences for first-time, non-violent drug offenders, Kemba’s story was featured on a variety of television shows and in several publications. The support prompted then President Clinton to commute her sentence in December 2000, after having served 6.5 years in prison.

Today, Pradia is a wife, mother, public speaker, advocate, consultant and author of Poster Child. She has worked with senior officials at The White House, the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Members of Congress, and has led trainings for Federal and State Probation organizations across the country. Corporations such as Verizon, Traveler’s Foundation, Proctor and Gamble, Bank of America and Gulfstream have sponsored her speaking at events across the country. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her courage and determination as a motivational speaker and advocate.

Pradia earned her BSW from Virginia Union University and was a past recipient for a two year Soros Justice Postgraduate Fellowship for advocates.

Information on the Late Dr. Ethel H. Hall

The late Dr. Ethel H. Hall, a native of Decatur, Alabama, was widely known as a community activist who championed the cause of public education. Dr. Hall became the first African American female to serve as Vice President of the Alabama State Board of Education (ASBE), a position she held for 10 consecutive terms. In 2004, after representing the board district for 23 years, she was honored by ASBE as Vice President Emerita.

A distinguished educator, Hall was known as an advocate for students as well as educators statewide. As a member of the state board, she served with integrity and was described as a member who always “does her homework” when deciding on key issues. Hall also was a dedicated community servant. She served on the board of directors of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the National Conference of Community and Justice, the Women’s Exchange, Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Alabama Archives and History Foundation. She has also held positions with the Education Commission of the States, the Governor’s Commission on Instructional Improvement and Academic Excellence, and the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.

Hall is the recipient of more than 200 honors and awards including being named by the “Birmingham Business Journal” as one of the Top Ten Women Making a Difference and in 1999 was awarded the NASBE Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education. In 2010, she authored the book My Journey: A Memoir of the First African American to Preside Over the Alabama Board of Education.

Hall received her bachelor’s degree from Alabama A&M University, master’s degrees from the University of Chicago and Atlanta University, and her PhD from The University of Alabama. She taught in the public-school systems in Hale and Jefferson counties. She also was an Associate Professor at the University of Montevallo and The University of Alabama.

Hall was married to the late Alfred Hall for 55 years.