No one's life is the sum of the worst things that happened to them, and during Yusef Salaam's seven years of wrongful incarceration as one of the Central Park Five, he grew from child to man, and gained a spiritual perspective on life and channeled his energy and pain into something positive, not just for himself but for other marginalized people and communities.
Despite this horrific miscarriage of justice, Salaam's compelling memoir is one of astounding warmth ... His tragic circumstances notwithstanding, Salaam frequently writes of the many things he had to be grateful for ... This book should be read by anyone who wants to hear the story of the Exonerated Five directly from one of its members. Just as Ava Duvernay's renowned series about their story, When They See Us, serves as a powerful counter to the more than 400 articles written vilifying the teens in 1989, so does this book continue to illuminate just how wrong the American justice system can go. Salaam notes that the media 'screamed about our guilt and whispered about our innocence.' The better we know this story and stories like it, the better able we'll be to prevent them from recurring.
It’s easy to see how Salaam became a motivational speaker, writing throughout the book of transforming traumatic experiences: 'you must take the emotions that come up in your reflection and move that energy into something purposeful.' An uplifting and hopeful book about a terrible miscarriage of justice and the lives impacted.