Nov 8, 2023
UPDATE: 'Central Park Five' Member WINS City Council Seat
- 6 minutes
Dr. Yusef Salaam, Central Park Five Victor he's a dear friend of mine. I've interviewed him multiple times. When it comes to Atlanta, we try to make sure we connect, but he has won his election. We talked about him running before winning his primary. [00:00:18] Let's put him up full mass, man very proud of him. Very proud of him. Exonerated, Central Park Five member Dr. Yusef Salaam won a seat Tuesday on the New York City Council, completing a stunning reversal of fortune decades after [00:00:37] he was wrongly imprisoned in an infamous rape case. Dr. Salaam, Democrat, will represent a Central Harlem district on the city council, having run unopposed for the seat in one of many local elections held across New York State Tuesday. [00:00:55] I won his primary election. The landslide, we covered that right here. The victory comes more than two decades after DNA evidence was used to overturn the convictions of Salam and four other black and Latino men in the 1989 rape and beating of a white jogger in Central Park. [00:01:14] Dr. Salaam was arrested at the age of 15 and imprisoned for almost seven years. For me, this means that we can really become our ancestors wildest dreams, Dr. Salaam said in an interview before the election. [00:01:32] And I will say this. There's an interview where I sit down with Dr. Salaam. It's on YouTube through Bueller Heights University. And I did a lecture series where instead of lecturing, we would bring in leaders and we would talk to these leaders. So college students all in front of us. [00:01:49] And Dr. Salaam talked about the moment of incarceration. He talked about how he just knew that at some point somebody was going to say, hey, you know what? We have the wrong people. And he kept waiting for that moment. That moment did not happen to many, many years later. [00:02:05] And in the midst of that, you have powerful people like Donald Trump putting up billboards against them, right? Basically calling for the execution, not even apologizing when the DNA evidence shows they never did a damn thing to anyone. They were innocent the entire time. [00:02:22] But the irony, the irony. Dr. Yusef Salaam exonerated. Now a member of the New York City Council, an elected leader, and the man who wanted him to die for crimes he never did. [00:02:37] Well, he becomes president, and now he has damn near a 100 indictments on him for things he did. When I talked to Dr. Salaam about how did it make him feel when Trump became president, you have to hear his response. [00:02:55] Because think about this, the man that did all of these adverse things to you and was unapologetic about it, becomes the most powerful man in the entire nation. As if what he did against you was a prerequisite, a requirement for him to be validated in this way. [00:03:12] So now our dear brother's where he's at. Dr. Salaam says something that I repeat often. He says, nothing happens to you. Everything happens for you. Here's some of what he said. [00:03:29] >> Speaker 2: I don't mean to walk you through the painful time in your life, but I think it's instructive to where you're coming from as you run for office. And can you just speak to what it was like to be sitting in prison for something you absolutely knew you did not do? >> Speaker 3: The biggest challenge of being in prison for [00:03:45] a crime you didn't commit is that you constantly have thoughts, well, maybe I should just become this. Maybe I should turn into the monster that they're talking about. And of course, the challenge is you're the ingredient that they're trying [00:04:01] to get to accept a definition of yourself that you weren't born with. You were born on purpose and with a purpose. You have to constantly remind yourself every single day. The greats have said things like, if you can't see it, you can't be it. And so in your mind's eye, you have to hold the most positive of thoughts, [00:04:20] so that wherever your mind goes, your body follows. >> Speaker 1: He's always talking like that, by the way. That's how he talks 24 hours a day, all right? Beautiful soul, very motivational individual. Put him up full mass, unlike this character, [00:04:39] Donald Trump, and the mug shot with a sheriff's badge behind him of a black sheriff named Labat. Donald Trump, who once called for the execution of Dr. [00:04:57] Salaam and the others in the exonerated Central Park Five, is now facing his own legal problems. Almost poetic if they secure the deal and lock his ass up. [00:05:12] All right, Mr. Mayor, thoughts? >> Speaker 4: Yeah, I think I talked to Brother Yusef about his election in the early stages during the primary and telling them. Now if you were in the primary basically, we knew this was his seat after the crime. >> Speaker 1: That's right. >> Speaker 4: But it became official, like you said, [00:05:28] because he was unopposed last night. But what I was telling that, brother, is this is beyond our ancestors wildest dreams or things they couldn't even imagine. This is also a love letter to all black men who have suffered at the hands of the so called justice system in this country about what's possible when you [00:05:46] continue to put one foot forward in front of the other. And I think the testament isn't to say or negate all of the hurdles that we have to face to be here, but for those of us who have interactions like me with the criminal justice system. [00:06:01] It is wonderful to find ourselves in the spaces being true to ourselves and still speaking truth to power. Not selling out our community, not forgetting what the system did to us and does to us and speaking on behalf of those people in those basis. >> Speaker 1: All right, farewell, said.
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