Kempis “Ghani” Songster
Songster co-founded Ubuntu Philadelphia, a forum on healing and restoring community, which brings together crime victims, formerly incarcerated juvenile lifers, and community members to participate in an intentional, public reconciliation process. Originally from Brooklyn, Kempis was a gifted student who set off for Philadelphia as a 15-year-old ninth grader with a couple of childhood friends with plans to make money and find respect. Their plans went terribly wrong, and within months he and a friend were facing a murder charge. He was sentenced to life without parole for the crime. After 30 years of incarceration, he was resentenced and released in December 2017, one of many juvenile lifers that have returned to society in the state of Pennsylvania since the U. S. Supreme Court decided the Montgomery v. Louisiana ruling, which determined that the unconstitutionality of mandatory juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences could be applied retroactively to JLWOP sentences given before 2010.