Kempis "Ghani" Songster
Co-founder of The Redemption Project
Kempis “Ghani” Songster spent the first seven years of his life carefree in the beautiful island nations of Trinidad & Tobago, his next 8 years as an honor student in, as he puts it, “the concrete jungles” of Brooklyn, NY, four months as a runaway selling cocaine from drug houses in Philadelphia, followed by more than 30 years in prison on a sentence to life without parole that began at the age of 15.
Ghani occupied his time behind prison walls transforming himself and others. He is a founding member of both Right to Redemption, and the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI). He is a co-founder of The Redemption Project. He is also co-founder and director of Ubuntu Philadelphia. His case is the focus of the two-part documentary Living With Murder. In 2019, Living With Murder was among eight Frontline features to be honored with the rare Gold Baton from the Alfred Dupont Columbia Awards.
For the first three years after his release, Kempis worked as a Healing Justice Organizer with the Amistad Law Project. He was also the co-creator and host of Amistad’s monthly podcast Move It Forward. He now works with the Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project as program manager of Healing Futures, Philadelphia’s first restorative justice diversion program for youth. Ghani has spent his entire adult life in the fight for a more livable world.