Ali Center welcomes Dr. Yusef Salaam as Unapologetic series guest

Text "Bold. Inspiring. Fearless. Unapologetic" with picture of Dr. Yusef Salaam



Muhammad Ali Center welcomes Dr. Yusef Salaam as guest for new Unapologetic speaker series

Member of the Central Park Five shares powerful story of racial injustice and his journey to political office

LOUISVILLE, KY (April 18, 2024) – The Muhammad Ali Center will welcome Dr. Yusef Salaam as the first speaker of its Unapologetic Series, a program dedicated to amplifying the voices and stories of individuals, like Muhammad Ali, who are unapologetically changing the world for the better. The event will take place on Friday, May 10 from 7-8 p.m. at the Muhammad Ali Center (144 N. Sixth Street). Tickets are available here. General admission seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Salaam was a member of the Central Park Five (later renamed the Exonerated Five) who were tried and convicted in the 1989 “Central Park jogger” case, but their convictions were later overturned in 2002. Salaam was 15 years old at the time of his arrest. The Exonerated Five spent between seven and 13 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

Since then, they were awarded a multi-million-dollar settlement from the city of New York for its injustice in handling the case. They have been profiled in award-winning films, including The Central Park Five documentary from Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon and most recently the Emmy award-winning Netflix limited series When They See Us, written and directed by Ava DuVernay.

Over the past two decades, Dr. Salaam started a family, and has become a poet, activist and inspirational speaker. He continues to utilize his platform to share his story with others and educate the public about the impact of mass incarceration and police brutality rooted in our justice system. He regularly advocates for criminal justice reform, prison reform and the abolition of juvenile solitary confinement and capital punishment.

Salaam was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2014 and is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama. He has shared his story and stance on current issues on CNN, MSNBC, REVOLT TV, NPR Atlanta, FOX and more. He authored his memoir Better, Not Bitter and is the co-author of Punching the Air.

In 2023, Yusef was elected as a member of the New York City Council, representing District 9.

This discussion will be moderated by Dr. Nat Irvin, the Assistant Dean for Thought Leadership and Civic Engagement, Dean’s Office at the University of Louisville.

The Unapologetic Series celebrates those who fearlessly challenge the status quo, push the boundaries of convention, and inspire change through their unyielding dedication to social justice, equality, and positive transformation. This program is an opportunity to engage with individuals who are not just making a difference but are transforming their communities and the world, one unapologetic act at a time.


Annie Moore

Muhammad Ali Center

(502) 992 – 5338 or (812) 786 – 1072 mobile


The Muhammad Ali Center is much more than a museum. As an athlete, a humanitarian, a global voice and man guided by faith, Muhammad Ali embodied a pursuit and belief in the greatness found in all people. Founded in 2005 by Lonnie and Muhammad Ali in his hometown of Louisville, the Center is dedicated to honoring Ali and continuing work based on his core principles.

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