01 October 2020 :
Yusef Salaam, exonerated member of 'Central Park Five,' to speak Oct. 6----Yusef Salaam, found innocent of a crime that sent him to jail for 7 years, now speaks on and works toward justice.
The case of the "Central Park Five" at the time had a huge media coverage. Five teenagers, black and Latino, were convicted of the rape of Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old woman who was jogging in Central Park on April 19, 1989. After the attack, the woman was in a coma for 12 days. The boys were all sentenced, and Donald Trump, a businessman at the time, ran full-page ads in four New York newspapers, including the New York Times, calling on New York State to adopt the death penalty in response. All convicted were found innocent only in 2002 when a man, Matias Reyes, sentenced to life in prison as a serial rapist and murderer, confessed to the Central Park rape, and DNA confirmed his involvement.
Yusef Salaam, who served nearly 7 years for a crime he did not commit as one of the since-exonerated "Central Park Five," will discuss his story and the need for justice reform at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6. His virtual talk is part of the college's I Am Oz Diversity Speaker Series.
Salaam was just 15 when he was tried and convicted in the “Central Park Jogger” sexual assault case along with 4 other Black and Latinx young men. The Exonerated Five spent between seven to 13 years behind bars, until their sentences were overturned by DNA evidence and a confession by the real perpetrator in 2002. Since then, they have received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of New York for its injustice and have been profiled in award-winning films, including "The Central Park Five" documentary from Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, and most recently the Emmy-Award-winning Netflix limited series "When They See Us," written and directed by Ava DuVernay with Oprah Winfrey and Robert Duvall among the producers.
Over the past 2 decades, Salaam has become a family man, father, poet, activist and inspirational speaker. He continues to utilize his platform to share his story with others and educate the public about the impact of mass incarceration and police brutality. He regularly advocates for criminal justice reform, prison reform and the abolition of juvenile solitary confinement and capital punishment, specifically restoring “humanity” of those incarcerated and those trodden down by the justice system.
Salaam received a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama in 2016, and more recently has shared his story and stance on current issues on CNN, MSNBC, Revolt TV, NPR Atlanta, Fox and more. He also is a board member for the Innoncence Project.
Online registration is open for this free event. See: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dAjxxypGS2iapC2YyYXnlA