Shaka Senghor

Shaka is a writer, mentor and motivational speaker whose story of redemption has inspired youth and young adults at high schools, universities, and conferences across the nation. He is founder of the Atonement Project, a recipient of the 2012 Black Male Engagement (BMe) Leadership Award, a 2013 MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, a Fellow in the inaugural class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Community Leadership Network, and teaches a course on the Atonement Project at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In March 2014, Shaka shared his story on the world-renowned TED stage and in just four months his talk reached more than 1,000,000 views.

Shaka transformed his life and discovered his love for writing while serving nineteen years in prison, time he spent examining his life and the decisions that led him to spend his youth in a 6′ x 8′ cell. By sharing his story, Shaka has inspired mothers of murder victims to forgive, inspired young men in the streets to choose a college degree over a prison number, and shifted the thinking of tough-on-crime advocates from the lock-em-up-throw-away-the-key mentality to believing redemption is possible. Shaka has written a memoir about his life titled Writing My Wrongs (Drop a Gem Publishing, 2013) and published a collection of essays and poems about his abusive childhood and his life in the streets and in prison titledLive in Peace: A Youth Guide to Turning Hurt into Hope (Drop a Gem Publishing, 2012).

Anyone who has heard Shaka's story has been moved; and once they read his memoir they are challenged to question every system, from education to corrections, that touches the lives of people all over the country.