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Distinguished Speaker Series ~ Yusef Salaam
February 24 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Yusef Salaam | Feb. 24 | Alumni Arena
Criminal Justice Advocate and Member of the Central Park Five
Free tickets will be available for graduate students to reserve online as of February 9th. 1 per UB ID. Tickets will be available for pickup at the UB Ticket Office (221 Student Union) on February 12th. As of February 24th any tickets still available will be given away to any UB GSA student (regardless if they have reserved it online) at the UB Ticket Office until 3pm. After that, any remaining tickets will be available at the door.
*PLEASE MAKE SURE TO PICK UP YOUR PHYSICAL TICKET(S) FROM THE UB TICKET OFFICE IN 221 STUDENT UNION. THE EMAILED TICKET IS ONLY A VOUCHER AND WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR ADMISSION BY THE VENDOR.
UB’s 44th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Keynote Speaker
More About Yusef Salaam
On April 19, 1989, a young woman was brutally raped and left for dead in New York City’s Central Park. Five boys—four black and one Latino—were tried and convicted of the crime in a frenzied case that rocked the city. They became known collectively as the Central Park Five.
Their convictions were vacated in 2002 after spending between seven and thirteen years of their lives behind bars. The unidentified DNA in the Central Park jogger case, unlinked to any of the five, had finally met its owner, a convicted murderer and serial rapist who confessed. The convictions of the boys, now men, were overturned and they were exonerated. One of those boys, Yusef Salaam, was just 15 years old when his life was upended and changed forever.
Since his release, 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. In 2013, Ken and Sarah Burns and David McMahon released the documentary “The Central Park Five,” which told of this travesty from the perspective of Salaam and his cohorts.
In 2014, the Central Park Five received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of New York for its grievous injustice against them. Salaam was awarded an honorary doctorate that same year and received the President’s Life Time Achievement Award in 2016 from President Barack Obama.
In 2018, he was appointed to the board of the Innocence Project. In May 2019, Netflix released the limited series titled “When They See Us” based on the true story of Salaam and the other members of the Central Park Five. The series was created and directed by Ava DuVernay; executive producers included Oprah Winfrey and Robert De Niro.