Shaka Senghor is a gifted artist, a passionate leader, and strategic advocate for criminal justice reform. He possesses a deep and unyielding compassion for the men, women, children, families, and communities who have been impacted by the juvenile and criminal justice systems, grounded in his own experience of having spent 19 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections. Through sharing his story, both in his NYT Bestselling memoir Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison and in news articles, television pieces, and lectures around the world including TED and Google Zeitgiest.
Through his work and words Shaka has contributed to our understanding of the inner workings of the U.S. prison system and the changes that need to take place in order for those who become involved in it to reach their full potential. Formerly the Director of Strategy and Innovation at partner #Cut50, Shaka has helped lead several successful criminal justice reform campaigns to reduce the prison population and improve community health.
Shaka is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2017Rev. Cecil Williams Legacy Award, 2016 EBONY Power100, 2016 Ford Man of Courage, 2016 NAACP Great Expectations Award, 2015 Manchester University Innovator of the Year, and 2012 Black Male Engagement (BMe) Leadership Award. He was recently recognized by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) as a Soul Igniter in the inaugural class of the SuperSoul 100, a dynamic group of trailblazers whose vision and life’s work are bringing a higher level of consciousness to the world around them and encouraging others to do the same.
Shaka was a 2014 TED Prize finalist for The Atonement Project. He is a MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow alumni, and former Fellow in the inaugural class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network. He taught at the University of Michigan and shares his story of redemption around the world. He is the father of two adult children who live in his hometown Detroit and a six-year-old son, Sekou, who lives with him here in LA.