Kevin Richardson, one of the Central Park Five, will be honored at a special scholarship benefit at Syracuse University on September 8.
What We Know:
- During an interview with Oprah Winfrey in June, Richardson admitted that he had hoped to play the trumpet in Syracuse’s band before he was arrested and accused of being involved in the rape of Trisha Meili in 1989. “One of my goals was playing for Syracuse University, but I never reached that,” he said.
- That same month, a petition was started on change.org, by Syracuse student Jalen Nash, to help get Richardson an honorary degree from the university. The petition received close to 6,000 signatures showing support for Richardson.
- The case of the Central Park Five has been a topic of discussion after Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series, When They See Us, aired. The series recounted the details of what occurred during the 1989 case and how the five young men involved were wrongly accused and imprisoned for a rape they did not commit.
- All five of the young men, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Richardson, Raymond Santana and Antron McCray, served between six and thirteen years in prison before their exoneration thanks to DNA evidence and a confession in 2002. They also received a settlement of $41 million from New York City.
- Since his exoneration, Richardson has become an advocate for the reformation of the criminal justice system by speaking at various events. The Criminal Innocence Project credits him with aiding in criminal justice reform in New York City. Along with Salaam, he has spoken at events like Talks at Google series in October 2017 and even visited local schools to speak with the students.
- Syracuse’s Office of Multicultural Advancement is hosting the event. The benefit is in support of the school’s scholarship program for black and Latino students at the school. Before the benefit, a performance of Keenan Scott II’s play “Thoughts of a Colored Man” will be done by Syracuse Stage and a panel discussion will be held afterward. The play is about the experiences of black men in America.
The ceremony for Richardson will start at 5 p.m. and all proceeds from the benefit will be donated to the Our Time Has Come scholarship program.