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ACLU Honors Central Park Five At 25th Annual Luncheon

Source: Mario Tama / Getty

An entrance into Central Park is to be named after the five men who were exonerated after spending years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of beating and rapping a white female jogger more than 30 years ago.

The “Gate of the Exonerated” will be inscribed on the perimeter wall at an entrance on 110th Street, according to a report from CNN

The project was unanimously approved by the New York City Public Design Commission during a meeting on Monday. 

The report notes that the project will also feature a historical sign with background information about the name and a QR code linking to online resources. 

“The ‘Gate of the Exonerated’ symbolizes the resiliency of the ‘Exonerated Five’ and all those who have been wrongfully convicted, and serves as a lasting reminder of the grave miscarriage of justice that took place more than three decades ago,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.

“Today marks a moment of truth and reconciliation for New York City, and it’s only fitting that the most iconic park in the world tell the world this important story,” Adams added. “I thank the Harlem community leaders and Community Board 10, whose advocacy made this naming, the first in Central Park’s history since 1862, a reality.”

At the meeting, Sharonne Salaam, mother of one of the “Exonerated Five,” said that the naming of the gate “speaks to the idea of … exonerated people, wrongfully incarcerated people, people who fall under the radar and, oftentimes, do not have access to the services that are deserved by them once their exoneration has happened.” 

In a statement, the Central Park Conservancy noted that they have “worked alongside the Harlem community for more than 40 years, and we are proud to have helped the Gate of the Exonerated come to life in a way that emphasizes how Central Park is meant to be a place for everyone.”

The “Gate of the Exonerated” will be unveiled in a ceremony next week.