Yusef Salaam is a leader, motivator, and thinker who is a proponent of social justice. He is also
one of the teens falsely accused and convicted of raping the “Central Park Jogger.”
In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged with brutally attacking
and raping a white female jogger in Central Park. News media swarmed the case, calling
them a “wolfpack.” The five would spend years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit
before the truth about what really happened became clear. In 2002, on the recommendation
of the Manhattan District Attorney, the convictions of the five men were overturned.
Yusef Salaam had served five and a half years. The story was made into an award-winning
, The Central Park Five, by the acclaimed director Ken Burns. Salaam was keynote speaker at the closing ceremonies
of Stony Brook University's 2016 observance of Black History Month.