New York, NY— Two board members from Manhattan Community Board 10 gave a presentation to Community Board 6’s Housing, Homeless and Human Rights Committee to demonstrate their support for the installation of an exhibit in Central Park to commemorate The Exonerated Five, formerly known as The Central Park Five.
Thirty-one years have passed since a young woman was brutally attacked and raped while jogging in Central Park. In the aftermath five teenagers from Harlem—Antron McCray (15), Kevin Richardson (15), Raymond Santana (14), Korey Wise (16) and Yusef Salaam (15)—were tried and convicted of the crime. Although the charges against them were overturned in 2002 due to DNA evidence linking the crime to an individual who confessed, they suffered life-changing consequences of their arrests, convictions and prison time.
Cicely Harris and Karen Horry of CB 10 noted that public art has the power, over time, to transform and uplift social consciousness. CB 10 envisions a city with successful and engaging public spaces, where citizens and visitors alike will encounter a work of public art that is not only captivating, but conscience-raising as well.
“We envision a permanent commemoration to the fortitude and resiliency of the five men known as The Exonerated Five and to the need for social justice reform,” said Horry.
“We propose a commemorative permanent art piece sited in the north-east section of Central Park that celebrates the extraordinary diversity and history of our community, while pointing to the city’s aspirations for the future.”
The exact siting of the exhibit would be near the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center in Central Park at 110th Street and 5th Avenue.
Both Harris and Karen Horry added that one of their hopes for the exhibit is that visitors to Central Park, which numbered 42 million pre-pandemic, have a chance to reflect on what they say is the human cost of systemic racism in U.S. society.
They also hope it contributes to the passage of legislation, specifically the Wrongfully Convicted Recovery Act, among others, in the New York Legislature, which has been introduced in the New York State Senate by New York State Senator Brian Benjamin and in the Assembly by Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry.
The Housing, Homeless and Human Rights Committee of CB 6 voted 9-0 on a resolution to introduce a resolution at its next meeting in November to support CB 10’s campaign to build the exhibit.