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Past work, speaking on today & changing the future
prison complex & reform
Serving nineteen years in the Michigan Department of Corrections, including more than five years in solitary confinement, I am very familiar with the inner workings of prison and the politics that play out on the state level and inside the prison walls. From my experience, there are two things I know for sure: 1) prisons are a business and 2) prisons do not rehabilitate. In addition to these topics, I cover the following issues:
  • Overcoming seemingly impossible odds
  • Breaking out of self-imposed prisons
  • Getting out and staying out
  • Avoiding the snares of imprisonment (for youth)
  • Tech deserts and what we can do about them
atonement & literature
Unpacking baggage from my past and getting to the core of my anger allowed me to take responsibility for my crimes and redirect my energy and talents. After years of self reflection, I've been able to transform and begin atonement for my mistakes. This is a very delicate and complex process; Starting with acknowledgment of what's said and done to cause harm, offering an apology, which was the hardest thing to do, and finally taking action to right your wrongs. In this talk, I address the themes of acknowledgement, apology and atonement. And discuss 'The Atonement Project', an initiative that helps the healing and understanding between victims of violence and violent offenders through art, literature and tech. Also, the role that literature played in my transformation and the possibilities for others to do the same.
hurt people, hurt people
Before I became an avid perpertrator of gun violence, I was first a victim of that same act. What I have come to understand in my time of reflection and reform is that hurt people, hurt people and if we took the time talk to our youth, we'll see that they have been victimized themselves and don't know the proper steps to process their emotions in a healthy way. In this talk, I will address key points on the following issues:
  • Understanding the impact of P.T.S.D.
  • Non-violent conflict resolution
  • Getting to the root: hurt people hurt people
  • Understanding the voice of the youth (for adults)
  • Living In Peace instead of Resting in Peace
You: the remix
No matter what you've done or where you've been in life, you can rewrite your story.
The standard fare in self-help and leadership development workshops is two, three or more days starting at 8am and ending after dark. Inspired by the TED model -- big ideas in 18 minutes or less -- we have built a workshop that delivers big impact in a short amount of time. Developed with the busy professional in mind, YOU: the remix is a one-day workshop designed to help participants reimagine their lives and rewrite their story so that they can maximize their personal and professional talents.
Some of pop culture’s hottest songs have been remixed and remastered, taking the best from the original work, adding new energy, and making it even hotter. This same concept can be applied to your life! In this workshop, participants learn how to break out and break through the internal obstacles -- low self-esteem, guilt, shame, self-defeated thinking -- that prevent them from overcoming life’s external obstacles and stepping into their greatness.
Breaking Free: How to Escape the Prison of Your Mind
Learn how to free yourself from toxic thoughts, people and situations by breaking through mental chains that keep you from stepping into your greatness.
There are different kinds of “prisons” that limit our thinking and keep us locked in destructive or unhealthy behavior:
  • Addiction
  • Toxic relationships
  • Self-doubt
  • Societal pressure
  • Procrastination
  • Abuse
  • Low self-esteem
In this workshop, participants will be provided with an escape kit that includes the tools needed to escape the prison of their mind and stay free of toxic thoughts and relationships.

Talks & Press

Reforming today & building tomorrow

Writing My Wrongs

Life, Death, and Redemption In An American Prison
In 1991, Shaka Senghor was sent to prison for second-degree murder. Today, he lectures at many universities, is a leading voice on criminal justice reform, and an inspiration to thousands.
Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle class neighborhood on Detroit’s east side during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic. An honor roll student and a natural leader, he dreamed of becoming a doctor--but at age 11, his parents' marriage began to unravel and the beatings from his mother worsened, sending him on a downward spiral that saw him run away from home, turn to drug dealing to survive, and end up in prison for murder at the age of 19, fuming with anger and despair.
Writing My Wrongs is a redemption story told through a stunningly human portrait of what it's like to grow up in the gravitational pull of poverty, violence, fear, and hopelessness. It's an unforgettable tale of forgiveness and hope, one that reminds us that our worst deeds don't define who we are or what we can contribute to the world. And it's a lasting testament to the power of compassion, prayer, and unconditional love, for reaching those whom society has forgotten.


``Shaka Senghor is a once-in-a-generation leader, championing a cause that will define a generation: mass incarceration. Behind prison walls, Writing My Wrongs is already taking its place alongside the memoirs of Malcolm X and George Jackson as must-read literature. In the broader society, its publication will propel him into the ranks of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michelle Alexander—powerful visionaries whose words are shaking the foundations of our nation's understanding of itself.``
-Van Jones, CNN Contributor, bestselling author of The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild the Dream
``Writing My Wrongs is an extraordinary, unforgettable book. It's a necessary reminder of the deep humanity, vulnerability and potential that lies within each one of us, including those we view as 'thugs' or 'criminals'. Shaka's story illustrates that if we muster the courage to love those who do not yet love themselves, a new world is possible.``
-Michelle Alexander, professor of law, Ohio State University, bestselling author of The New Jim Crow
``If you’ve wondered what makes it possible for good people to do terrible things, and what a man can endure to reach redemption, then you must read this book. Shaka Senghor’s story is told with brutal self-assessment and tender attention to what makes profound change – in a person, in our communities – not only possible but imperative. In this unforgettable memoir Shaka takes us from the streets of Detroit into solitary confinement in prison, and against all odds, home safely and successfully to a family and community that needs him.``
-Piper Kerman, bestselling author of Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison


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