Yusef Salaam is the inspirational speaker and prison abolitionist, who, at age fourteen was one of the five teenage boys wrongly convicted and sentenced to prison in the Central Park jogger case. In 1997, he left prison as an adult to a world he didn't fully recognize or understand. In 2002, the sentences for the Central Park Five were overturned, and all Five were exonerated for the crime they didn't commit.
Yusef now travels the world as an inspirational speaker, speaking about the effects of incarceration and the devastating impact of disenfranchisement. He is an advocate and educator on issues of mass incarceration, police brutality and misconduct, press ethics and bias, race and law, and the disparities in the criminal justice system, especially for men of color.
"An important memoir and call to action that sheds light on the personal injustices of mass incarceration."—Library Journal
“Warm, generous, and inspirational: a book for everyone.”—Kirkus
“An uplifting and hopeful book.”—Booklist
"Better Not Bitter is equal parts, a luminous journey of awakening, and an indictment of a system that swallows boys and girls whole, only to spit out their broken bones. It is an urgent and poetic treatise on the human spirit’s ability to make itself whole again over and over. I cried for the little boy who was imprisoned, and rejoiced for the man who emerged years later as a battle tested warrior for justice.”—Shaka Senghor, New York Time bestselling author of Writing my Wrongs
"Punching the Air is the profound sound of humanity in verse... Utterly indispensable."—Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author (Praise for Punching the Air)
"Zoboi and Salaam have created nothing short of a masterwork of humanity, with lyrical arms big enough to cradle the oppressed, and metaphoric teeth sharp enough to chomp on the bitter bones of racism. This is more than a story. This is a necessary exploration of anger, and a radical reflection of love, which ultimately makes for an honest depiction of what it means to be young and Black in America." —Jason Reynolds, NYT bestselling author of Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You: A Remix (Praise for Punching the Air)
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