William C. Kellibrew IV
William Kellibrew IV is a native Washingtonian and an international advocate for civil, human, women, children and victims’ rights. He is a sought after motivational speaker throughout the world on issues related to trauma and recovery, trauma-informed care, poly-victimization, and has extensive experience developing and directing civic engagement campaigns, work around public policy issues, and campus organizing.
William has inspired and empowered many through his work, artistic talent, powerful presentations and is tied passionately and uniquely to his ‘calling’. At age 6, he was violently raped by his mom’s neighbor and at age 10, he watched helplessly as his mother and twelve year old brother were shot in their living room by his mother’s ex-boyfriend. The killer took his own life, but not before he had William beg for his life at gun point. Nearly three hours would pass that day before he was reconnected with the rest of his family, not knowing if they were dead or alive. The next day, William witnessed his grandfather shoot the next door neighbor. Witnessing two shootings in two days shocked and terrified him for years.
Many who have had the opportunity to hear him speak and work with him closely, consider him a “miracle”. Featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show with Dr. William Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint, William’s story has been heard in over 120 countries with an audience well over 45 million when the story aired. However, the pathway to recovery hasn’t been without barriers. At age thirteen, William attempted suicide and was hospitalised more than nine times to grapple with his trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and clinical depression. William often turned to violence, drugs, alcohol and unhealthy relationships as symptoms of his traumatic experience. He spent many of his teenage years running away, homeless and wondering the streets in a life of despair.
Over twenty years of rebuilding, William decided that education was the pathway to a viable career and an entrepreneurial future and enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) as a non-traditional student where he flourished and is currently completing his degree in business administration with a concentration in management. William not only thrives on campus, he has become a beacon for others in their pursuit for education.
At UDC, William was elected president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association for two terms. Also, realising the importance of the academic experience, William was selected as an educational exchange student through the ‘Sister City Agreement’ between Washington, D.C. and the City of Sunderland, England. The agreement was signed by Mayor Anthony Williams in 2006 and renewed by Mayor Vincent Gray in 2012. William was one of four individuals to speak at the renewal including the British Deputy Ambassador, the Chief Executive of the City of Sunderland and Mayor of Washington, D.C. While studying in the United Kingdom, William was appointed by City Leader Bob Symonds as a worldwide ambassador for the City of Sunderland and as a permanent member of the Steering Committee headed by the Secretary of the District of Columbia. His experience has given him the opportunity to meet former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliban and former Prime Minister Tony Blair. He consistently visits school children, at-potential youth and other organisations in Sunderland and Washington, D.C. to help strengthen the relationship between the two cities and its residents and to encourage D.C. and Sunderland youth on exposure to other cultures.
In 2007, D.C. Historian and UDC Professor Clarence Davis and Professor Barbara Harvey founded The William Kellibrew Foundation to honor William’s work on campus and in the community. The Foundation started out providing educational scholarships, but has since evolved as an advocate, bridge and community driven partner dedicated to breaking the cycles of violence and poverty. The WKF harnesses and provides resources to both victims and similarly focused organizations through prevention, intervention, education and outreach. By sharing the stories of survivors the WKF give voice to victims, raise community awareness and empower people working to rebuild their lives, families and communities. The Foundation has become a staple in the District of Columbia, supporting local public policy initiatives and is a member of the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence Public Policy Task Force.
For working diligently in his local community of Washington, D.C., in October 2011, during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, William was recognized by the White House as a ‘Champion of Change’ working to end domestic violence and sexual assault and has blogged for the White House.
On the international stage, William was selected as a member of the official British delegation during an official arrival ceremony for UK Prime Minister David Cameron on the South Lawn of the White House who welcomed the Prime Minister as a part of a group of special guests whose lives, careers and service exemplify the closeness and breadth of the US-UK relationship.
Recently, as a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. William moderated a celebrity panel for Sigma Day on Capitol Hill on bullying, violence and on teens dropping out of school with high school students participating from Dunbar and Cardozo Senior High Schools. Students and attendees were captivated by William’s ability to share his story and moderate a lively discussion along with Congressman John Lewis. William believes that sharing his story of resiliency empowers others to share their story. Several young people built the courage to stand and tell their stories.
Continuing to engage young people across the country on civic engagement, violence and the importance of education, William has toured with superstar recording artist and actor Bow Wow, Diggy Simmons, Mindless Behavior, OMG Girlz, Jacob Latimore, entertainment mogul Michael Mauldin and other celebrities, community activists and elected officials.
After the 2012 Presidential Election, William will transition from his position as Deputy Director and National Victims Advocate with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), an organization founded in 1976 whose mission is to eliminate the barriers to a democratic process for all communities. He will be following his passion full-time as he consults with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, a technical assistance center dedicated to building awareness of trauma-informed care and promoting the implementation of trauma-informed practices in programs and services across the U.S.
Currently William serves on the national advisory council for the Ms. Foundation for Women, Election Verification Network Coordinating Committee, the Washington, D.C. and City of Sunderland, England Sister City Steering Committee, the board of directors for the Opera Guild of Northern Virginia and The William Kellibrew Foundation.
William has been featured on MSNBC, CNN In Session, CNN HLN Newsmakers with Robert Traynum, BBC Worldwide, Washington Post, Sunderland Echo, in Open Society Institute’s Leadership and Sustainability Institute and countless news and media outlets throughout the world. He enjoys tennis, singing, reading, travelling and credits his grandmother and God for helping to save his life.