Yusef Salaam

Thank you to everyone who came to the Robert M. Smith Student Center to hear the powerful story of Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five, formally known as the Central Park Five. Dr. Yusef Salaam was an incredible speaker and we were honored to host him for our Black History Month event.  

To provide some background: in 1989 Yusef Salaam was just 15 years old when his life was upended and changed forever. Yusef was among 5 boys – four black and one Latino – that were tried and wrongfully convicted of raping a young woman in New York City’s Central Park. They became known collectively as “The Central Park Five.” Their convictions were vacated in 2002 after spending between 7 and 13 years of their lives behind bars. 

Since his release, Dr. Salaam 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. 

Dr. Salaam shared his personal experience as a member of the Exonerated Five, formerly known as the Central Park Five, discussed some of the issues that he is an advocate of, and answered questions from members of the crowd. He earned two standing ovations from all 724 individuals who attended the event.  

Thank you Dr. Salaam for sharing your story with the SRU community! 

A special shout out to all the SRU organizations that helped us make this event possible: 

  • Black Action Society 

  • Office for Inclusive Excellence 

  • Frederick Douglass Institute 

  • Gender Studies 

  • FMLA 

  • Psychology Department 

  • History Department 

  • Political Science Department 

  • CRIM Department 

  • Philosophy Department 

  • Philosophy Club 

  • President’s Office 

  • SGA