Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice

Yusef Salaam

"This inspirational memoir serves as a call to action from prison reform activist Yusef Salaam, of the Exonerated Five, that will inspire. . . to turn our stories into tools for change in the pursuit of racial justice. . . No one's life is the sum of the worst things that happened to them, and during Yusef Salaam's seven years of wrongful incarceration as one of the Central Park Five, he grew from child to man, and gained a spiritual perspective on life.

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Book Information

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: 05/18/2021
Pages: 304
ISBN-13: 9781538705001
ISBN-10: 1538705001
Language: English

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May 26, 2021

Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five sets a healthy example for focusing more on finding strength within oneself to improve the world in the future rather than expending energy on the injustices one has faced in the past.  READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

Named a Best Book of 2021 by NPR This inspirational memoir serves as a call to action from prison reform activist Yusef Salaam, of the Exonerated Five, that will inspire us all to turn our stories into tools for change in the pursuit of racial justice. They didn't know who they had. So begins Yusef Salaam telling his story. No one's life is the sum of the worst things that happened to them, and during Yusef Salaam's seven years of wrongful incarceration as one of the Central Park Five, he grew from child to man, and gained a spiritual perspective on life. Yusef learned that we're all "born on purpose, with a purpose." Despite having confronted the racist heart of America while being "run over by the spiked wheels of injustice," Yusef channeled his energy and pain into something positive, not just for himself but for other marginalized people and communities. Better Not Bitter is the first time that one of the now Exonerated Five is telling his individual story, in his own words. Yusef writes his narrative: growing up Black in central Harlem in the '80s, being raised by a strong, fierce mother and grandmother, his years of incarceration, his reentry, and exoneration. Yusef connects these stories to lessons and principles he learned that gave him the power to survive through the worst of life's experiences. He inspires readers to accept their own path, to understand their own sense of purpose. With his intimate personal insights, Yusef unpacks the systems built and designed for profit and the oppression of Black and Brown people. He inspires readers to channel their fury into action, and through the spiritual, to turn that anger and trauma into a constructive force that lives alongside accountability and mobilizes change. This memoir is an inspiring story that grew out of one of the gravest miscarriages of justice, one that not only speaks to a moment in time or the rage-filled present, but reflects a 400-year history of a nation's inability to be held accountable for its sins. Yusef Salaam's message is vital for our times, a motivating resource for enacting change. Better, Not Bitter has the power to soothe, inspire and transform. It is a galvanizing call to action.

About the Author

Yusef Salaam is the inspirational speaker and prison abolitionist who, at age fifteen, 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.

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