Shaka Senghor is a former drug dealer and convicted murder. More importantly, he is NOW an amazing father and husband, motivational speaker, MIT Media Lab Director Fellow, a W.K. Kellogg Community Leadership Network Fellow, a published author and a recent star of the internationally recognized TED Talk.
Senghor was selling drugs throughout his neighborhood as a teen, was shot three times by the age of 17, and by 18 had shot and killed a man, earning him a 20 year jail sentence. After a few years in prison, Senghor was still getting into trouble with his fellow inmates and was sent to live out the remainder THIRTEEN YEARS of his sentence in one of the most inhumane ways – solitary confinement. A few months later, while pacing his cell and reading a letter from his then 2 year old son, Senghor realized that jail needn’t be just a warehouse to hold criminals, but should be a vehicle of reform, helping them turn their lives around.
After his epiphany, Senghor set out to help change the lives of those around him, many products of the same violent and drug filled environment from which he came. He continued and added momentum to his work once he was free, using his story to serve as inspiration and warning for others.
Shaka is a prime example of not letting your past define you. While he is and always will be apologetic for the things he did in his troubled past, he has used his remaining time here to not only right his wrongs but fill the world with way more good than any bad he may have contributed.
Catch his TED Talk below: