Unapologetic: Dr. Yusef Salaam

A program dedicated to amplifying voices and stories of individuals, like Muhammad Ali, who are unapologetically changing the world for the better.


At the Center

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

NOTICE: This program has been rescheduled for a later date in Autumn 2024. This event will be updated once a date is confirmed. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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.

In 1989, at just fifteen years young, Dr. Yusef Salaam was tried and convicted in the “Central Park jogger” case along with four other Black and Latino young men. The Exonerated Five spent between seven to 13 years behind bars for crimes they did not commit, until their sentences were overturned in 2002. Since then, they have received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of New York for its injustice and 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. In 2023, Yusef was elected as a member of the New York City Council representing District 9.

Over the past two decades, Yusef has become a family man, father, 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.

Yusef was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (2014) and is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama (2016). More recently 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.

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.

Event begins at 7PM, with an exclusive members-only reception from 6-7PM.

Tickets to this event are first come, first serve.

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