Niya Kenny

Film Participant, Entrepreneur, Advocate

Niya Kenny was a student at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, SC when she witnessed and filmed the #AssaultatSpringValley, during which she was arrested on disturbing school charges and taken to a detention center. Niya withdrew from Spring Valley High School and opted instead to finish a GED. Niya joined other South Carolina students in a lawsuit successfully challenging the constitutionality of the state’s laws against disturbing schools, which were overly broad and applied disproportionately to Black students.

Niya has interned at the African American Policy Forum, where she worked on efforts to raise awareness about how the school-to-prison-pipeline impacts all students, but especially Black girls. Alongside her efforts to speak out, Niya is busy working as a dental assistant. She is also an entrepreneur: she loves to cook and has started a boiled peanut business, and she is in the process of starting her own rug company. You can follow and support Niya on Instagram at @niybadu.

Speaking Topics: 

  • Student Pushout from School
  • Criminalization of Black Girls
  • Student Mental Health 
  • Youth Advocacy & Mentorship


Previous Speaking Engagements:

  • African American Policy Forum 
  • Alaska Black Caucus 
  • FilmScene
  • In Our Names Network
  • National Campaign for Police Free Schools 
  • National Black Lives Matter at School 
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • University of Georgia School of Law