Poetic Justice: Yusef Salaam Elected to City Council


The people of New York elected Dr. Yusef Salaam, a Central Park Five exoneree, to represent Harlem on City Council. Congratulations to Council Member Salaam and the progress made for all survivors of The Chokehold. 

“There’s definitely a lot to be thankful for and also a lot to plan for,”

Salaam said in an interview with POLITICO Magazine.

Yusef Salaam spent 12 Thanksgivings wrongfully convicted of rape and assault. He’s spending this holiday celebrating his election to the New York City Council earlier this month. Salaam was imprisoned for nearly seven years for the 1989 attack on a Central Park jogger that he didn’t commit. The episode inflamed the city’s racial tensions (and even led future President Donald Trump to call for the death penalty for the young Black and Latino men who were falsely accused). Five more years passed before his conviction was overturned, and the group long disparaged as the “Central Park Five” was newly dubbed the “Exonerated Five.”

Salaam maintains a remarkable optimism, brushing off the notion of remaining “sad and angry and bitter,” even as he’s clear-eyed about a criminal justice system that he said has not changed much since his wrongful arrest and conviction.

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