Shaka Senghor was an honor-roll student. He was full of hope and potential. But growing up amidst abuse, violence and poverty, Shaka fell into a cycle so many young men in his situation find themselves.
By the age of 19, he was imprisoned for murder.
In this episode of Twisted Storytellers, Shaka tells the story of how he found hope and transformation during his nearly two decades in prison.
Shaka Senghor is a leading voice in criminal justice reform and the Director of Strategy for #Cut50, a national bipartisan initiative to safely and smartly reduce the prison population by 50 percent by 2025. His memoir, Writing My Wrongs, is a redemption story told through a stunningly human portrait of what it’s like to grow up in the gravitational pull of poverty, violence, fear, and hopelessness.
It’s an unforgettable tale of forgiveness and second chances, one that reminds us that our worst deeds don’t define who we are or what we can contribute to the world. His story has inspired thousands and serves as a powerful testament to the power of hope, compassion and unconditional love.
Oprah Winfrey has referred to her interview with Shaka for Super Soul Sunday as “one of the best I’ve ever had—not just in my career, but in my life… His story touched my soul.” Shaka’s TED Talk, which he delivered at TED’s 30th Anniversary Conference, received a standing ovation and has been viewed more than 1.2 million times; TED featured his talk in its “Year in Ideas” roundup, a collection of the most powerful TED Talks of 2014.Shaka is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Manchester University Innovator of the Year Award and the 2012 Black Male Engagement (BMe) Leadership Award. He was a 2014 TED Prize finalist for The Atonement Project, which is designed to help victims and violent offenders heal through the power of the arts. Shaka is a former MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, and a current Fellow in the inaugural class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network. He has taught at the University of Michigan and shares his story of redemption around the world.
New episodes of Twisted Storytellers are available every other Wednesday.
Twisted Storytellers is produced by WDET 101.9 FM and sponsored by the Henry Ford Health Systems.