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Yusef Salaam, Will Tye to Appear at Black History Month Closing Ceremony

Keynote speaker Yusef Salaam

Yusef Salaam, one of five young men wrongly convicted in the notorious Central Park jogger case, and Will Tye, a tight end with the NFL’s New York Giants, will appear at Stony Brook University’s Black History Month Closing Ceremony on February 24, 2016. The event takes place in Student Activities Ballroom A from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

At the ceremony, Stony Brook students, faculty, and staff will join Salaam and Tye to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of Black leaders and pioneers. The closing program is the culmination of a month-long roster of educational and cultural events marking Black History Month at Stony Brook. The event will feature live performances and presentations from student groups and organizations.

Keynote speaker Yusef Salaam is a leader, motivator and thinker who is a proponent of social justice. He is also one of the teens falsely accused and convicted of raping the “Central Park Jogger.”

  • Background: On April 19, 1989, a woman, dubbed the “Central Park Jogger,” was brutally raped and left for dead in New York City’s Central Park. Five teens from Harlem, who became known as the “Central Park Five”—four black and one Latino—were falsely accused, tried and convicted of the crime. In 2002, after the Central Park Five spent between seven and 13 years of their lives behind bars, the sentences were overturned. A convicted murderer and rapist serving a life sentence confessed.

“Yusef Salaam’s sacrifice helped create awareness in the community of the issues facing young black men,” said Jarvis Watson, Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs at Stony Brook University.

WIll Tye
NFL tight end WIll Tye

“The Central Park case highlighted a struggle over ownership of what it means to be a young black male in this society,” he said. “It forced me to confront the realities of responding to law enforcement, as well as the need to create a positive image for myself and others.”

Will Tye ’15 is a tight end for the NFL’s New York Giants. Tye signed with the Giants for the 2015 season and scored his first NFL touchdown during a win over the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 14, 2015. At Stony Brook, Tye played in 23 games with 18 starts in two seasons after transferring from Florida State.  His 2-year totals were 79 catches for 1,015 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Tye is originally from Middletown, Conn.

The Black History Month Opening Ceremony is coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Black History Month Committee.


Yusef Salaam speaks out on the Central Park Jogger case

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