On Tuesday (Nov. 7), the Exonerated Five’s Yusef Salaam won an unopposed seat on the New York City Council and will be representing the ninth district, which is located in central Harlem. The achievement comes after scoring an impressive victory during the Democratic primary back in June.
Following a short introduction from fellow Exonerated Five member Raymond Santana, Salaam spoke to his supporters after the news became official. “When I think about this case that ran over us with spiked wheels, I often called it, now, a love story between God and his people,” he began. “I want you to consider that when they built the power to consume us, they forgot the owner of the heat. I got my wife by my side. We woke up this morning, and even though it was a gloomy day, the sun was still shining above the clouds.”
Salaam continued, “While tomorrow, we begin the hard work of legislation, tonight, we mark the beginning of another chapter in God’s love story to his people. We embark on this mission with a shared dream. A dream of a brighter, inclusive, prosperous future for us all, where equality is not just a buzzword, but a living reality. I am proud to say that our collective efforts have born fruit and we are one step closer to being the change we want to see.”
As REVOLT previously reported, Salaam, alongside Santana, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, and Antron McCray, spent several years in prison after a white jogger was raped and beaten in Central Park in 1989. Their sentences were overturned in 2002 after another man, Matias Reyes, confessed to the crimes. In 2019, the Ava DuVernay-directed Netflix docuseries “When They See Us” brought additional light into the lives and families of the Exonerated Five and what they endured at the hands of the justice system.