Results For NYC Council District 9 In 2023: Yusef Salaam Declares Triumph

November 9, 2023

By Daniel B. TIsdale

Dr. Yusef Salaam, an activist and renowned speaker who was falsely accused as one of the Central Park Five teenagers in the infamous 1989 rape case, has emerged victorious in Harlem’s District 9.

Salaam, 49, secured an impressive 98.33 percent of the counted votes as of 9:15 p.m., according to the city’s Board of Elections.

His campaign has championed critical issues such as affordable housing, safer streets, education reform, and more thoughtful policing. Despite his limited political experience, Salaam’s dedication to justice and equality over the 34 years since the Central Park jogger case has been unwavering, as reported by the


Dr. Yusef Salaam, an activist and renowned speaker who was wrongfully convicted as one of the Central Park Five teenagers in the infamous 1989 rape case, has emerged victorious in Harlem’s District 9.

Salaam, 49, secured an impressive 98.33 percent of the counted votes as of 9:15 p.m., according to the city’s Board of Elections.

His campaign has championed critical issues such as affordable housing, safer streets, education reform, and more thoughtful policing. Despite his limited political experience, Salaam’s dedication to justice and equality over the 34 years since the Central Park jogger case has been unwavering, as reported by the Associated Press.

Having spent nearly seven years unjustly incarcerated, Salaam and four other Black and Latino teenagers were exonerated in 2002 when DNA evidence linked a convicted serial rapist to the case. In 2014, the city awarded them $41 million as part of a civil rights settlement.

Salaam has since become an influential motivational speaker and a staunch advocate for prison reform. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from former President Barack Obama in 2016 and published his memoir, “Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice,” in 2021. In 2022, he relocated from Georgia to New York City, where he was recruited by New York County Democrats leader Keith L.T. Wright for the highly coveted District 9 seat, according to The New York Times.

Reflecting on his journey, Salaam stated, “I’ve often said that those who have been close to the pain should have a seat at the table. When people look at me and they know my story, they resonate with it. But now here we are 34 years later, and I’m able to use that platform that I have and repurpose the pain, help people… as we climb out of despair.”

Salaam’s victory came in the June primary race with over 63% of the vote after three rounds of ranked-choice voting tabulations, as reported by NY1. Fellow Democrat Inez Dickens secured about 36% of the primary vote.

Incumbent Kristin Richardson Jordan, who faced a tumultuous first term, dropped out of the race earlier in the year, citing concerns about the behavior of the Harlem Machine and its lack of community focus. Jordan noted that dealing with such issues, along with what she viewed as irresponsible journalism, was diverting attention from meaningful work.

“… spent nearly seven years unjustly incarcerated …”

Having spent nearly seven years unjustly incarcerated, Salaam and four other Black and Latino teenagers were exonerated in 2002 when DNA evidence linked a convicted serial rapist to the case. In 2014, the city awarded them $41 million as part of a civil rights settlement.

Salaam has since become an influential motivational speaker and a staunch advocate for prison reform. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from former President Barack Obama in 2016 and published his memoir, “Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice,” in 2021. In 2022, he relocated from Georgia to New York City, where he was recruited by New York County Democrats leader Keith L.T. Wright for the highly coveted District 9 seat, according to The New York Times.

Reflecting on his journey, Salaam stated, “I’ve often said that those who have been close to the pain should have a seat at the table. When people look at me and they know my story, they resonate with it. But now here we are 34 years later, and I’m able to use that platform that I have and repurpose the pain, help people… as we climb out of despair.”

“Salaam’s victory … with over 63% of the vote…”

Salaam’s victory came in the June primary race with over 63% of the vote after three rounds of ranked-choice voting tabulations, as reported by NY1. Fellow Democrat Inez Dickens secured about 36% of the primary vote.

Incumbent Kristin Richardson Jordan, who faced a tumultuous first term, dropped out of the race earlier in the year, citing concerns about the behavior of the Harlem Machine and its lack of community focus. Jordan noted that dealing with such issues, along with what she viewed as irresponsible journalism, was diverting attention from meaningful work.

Photo credit: Salaam (center with shades) by Seitu Oronde.


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