Shaka Senghor is a writer, mentor, and motivational speaker whose story has inspired youth and young adults at high schools, universities, and conferences across the nation. He is a recipient of the 2012 Black Male Engagement (BMe) Leadership Award and now serves as National Outreach Representative for BMe. He is 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 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 2014, Shaka shared his story on the world-renowned TED stage, and in just four months his talk reached more than one million views. Shaka currently serves as Director of Strategy and Innovation for #Cut50, which aims to reduce the incarcerated population in the United States by 50 percent over the next ten years. #Cut50
More than two million people are behind bars in the United States, which is close to 1 out of every 100 Americans. At a time when highways are crumbling and schoolchildren go without books, America spends $80 billion every year on the incarceration industry—an expense that has a devastating impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Reliance on overly long sentences and tough on crime policies is both morally indefensible and economically unjustifiable. #cut50 is a national bipartisan initiative whose goal is to safely and smartly reduce our incarcerated population by 50 percent over the next ten years.