‘Exonerated Five’ Member, Yusef Salaam, to Run for Harlem State Senate Seat


Dr. Yusef Salaam, one of the Exonerated Five, has is planning to run for public office in New York.

According to the New York Daily News, Salaam informed associates that he is running to fill the seat being vacated by Harlem state Sen. Brian Benjamin.

Last week Benjamin was nominated to be New York’s next lieutenant governor.

The sources say that Salaam plans to focus “in part, on issues that made his name synonymous with wrongful conviction: criminal justice and prison reform, police brutality and the abolition of juvenile solitary confinement.”

In 1989, a white investment banker was raped and left for dead in Central Park. Police rounded up five Black and Brown teenagers, including Salaam, who was just 15 at the time. The five children were charged with her rape.

In 2019, the story was retold by director Ava DuVernay, who won several Emmy awards for the Netflix limited series, “When They See Us.”

During a recent interview with Fatherly Love, Salaam spoke about the impact his experiences have had on the way he parents his ten children.

“I always talk about the who, what, where, why, and when in regards to them. They need to know who they are because life is not going to be a mirror for them. Life for black folks has never been a mirror. We’ve been looking out of a window. It’s slowly changing. It is slowly changing. But, in that truth, I make sure my children get a parallel education,” says Salaam.

The published author believes the root for meaningful change is knowing our history.

“So even though school may be saying stuff, [my kids] need to know they are the inventors of mathematics, that they come from greatness, so that they see themselves, even if history is not reflecting them through school. I’m not saying it is or isn’t. But it’s about how the child is being socialized in society to know that they matter. We have to let them know, psychosocially, that they matter. That happens, hopefully, in school. But if it doesn’t, it most certainly should happen at home.”

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