“Coming to America” isn’t just a movie for Kimathi Lewis — it’s her life.
The Jamaica native lived on her own from the age of 16, until she graduated high school and moved to America to join her family. She settled into her new life just outside Atlanta, but Lewis struggled to decide what to do next.
She enrolled at Clark Atlanta University and was immediately recruited to join the campus newspaper, The Panther. She was bitten by the journalism bug and abandoned her plans to major in speech. She honed her journalism skills, first as a staff writer and then as editor. She also worked at various publications.
When her editor at The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland balked at her pitch to do a story about children being robbed for their sneakers, Lewis, then an intern, uncovered that there were thousands of victims. Her story became front-page news.
After graduating with honors, she joined The State newspaper in South Carolina as a crime reporter. Her in-depth coverage of an apartment complex that was the center of drugs, prostitution and shootings led to major changes. It is now a housing complex with residents living in 60 new, energy-efficient townhouses.
When a woman called about a missing loved one, Lewis dug and discovered that the family member had been a victim of the state’s most notorious serial killer. She wrote award-winning articles and challenged police when they attempted to underreport their crime rate. She started a column that helped capture dozens of “most wanted” criminals and fought to prevent domestic violence stories from being buried.
Her work has appeared in numerous local and national publications, including Examiner.com. Upscale magazine in Atlanta, NV in New York and the Atlanta Business League’s annual magazine. She currently writes in-depth features for TheVillageCelebration, an online African-American news and features website. In her free time, she teaches Tai Chi to children and the elderly.