Dr. Yusef Salaam was just 15-years-old when he, along with four others, was wrongfully convicted in the 1989 Central Park jogger case. He spent nearly seven years in prison. Chanda sat down with Yusef for a one-on-one conversation about the power of owning your narrative, the scars of lost time, and how to get up and move forward after being knocked down.
In 1989, five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, were convicted of a rape they did not commit. One of those boys, Dr. Yusef Salaam, was just 15 years old when his life was upended and changed forever. In 2002, after the Central Park Five spent between seven and 13 years of their lives behind bars, their sentences were overturned. Since his release, Yusef has committed himself to advocating and educating people on the issues of false confessions, police brutality and misconduct, press ethics and bias, race and law, and the disparities in America’s criminal justice system. The Central Park Five received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of New York for its grievous injustice against them. Yusef was awarded an Honorary Doctorate that same year and received the President’s Life Time Achievement Award in 2016 from President Barack Obama. He was appointed to the board of the Innocence Project in 2018.
In August 2019, Yusef was featured at a live Conversations with Chanda event. Check out our photos, videos, and more from that event.