Yusef Salaam has declared a win in the Democratic city council primary in Harlem, New York. The pending victory will move the politician one step closer to a seat in office.

According to The Associated Press, with the win, the 49-year-old is predicted to secure an upcoming general election victory in a district unlikely to elect a Republican. “What has happened in this campaign has restored my faith in knowing that I was born for this,” he said in a Tuesday (June 27) speech.

Yesterday, Salaam was one of three candidates in a tight primary race. By the night’s end, he led the voting polls with 5,403 votes, the New York Post shared. His closest opponent was Inez Dickens with 2,706. Although his win wasn’t official because all the votes had not been tallied, Salaam addressed his supporters. “Harlem has spoken,” the politician noted.

During his speech, the New Yorker opened up about his journey to politics as a member of the Exonerated Five. “Having to be kidnapped from my home as a 15-year-old child, to be lodged in the belly of the beast… I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams. I was gifted because I was able to see it for what it really was, a system that was trying to make me believe that I was my ancestor’s worst nightmare,” he said before adding, “I am here because Harlem, you believed in me.”

As REVOLT previously mentioned, Salaam was 15 years old when he and four other Black teens were wrongfully arrested and charged in 1989. At the time, authorities accused the teenagers of raping and beating a white woman in Central Park. Each was sentenced to time behind bars. However, in 2002, a judge vacated their convictions after a reexamination of the case. The members of the Exonerated Five were later awarded a settlement of $41 million. “Here we are 34 years later, and I’m able to use that platform that I have and repurpose the pain, help people as we climb out of despair,” Salaam told AP News ahead of the election.