After the Ava Duvernay-produced Netflix series When They See Us was released, viewers were reintroduced to the Central Park 5. Wrongfully convicted of assaulting a white female jogger back in 1989, five teenage boys were sentenced to years in prison. The New York supreme court justice eventually vacated the group’s rape and assault charges in 2002, but the men were still subject to public opinion and the lasting effects of trauma experienced behind bars. 

All five men were granted a $41M settlement. For Raymond Santana, his $8.2M portion of the settlement was more than enough for him to create a life he very much deserved. During an interview with Pierre Thomas on “Pierre’s Panic Room”, Santana talked about what he’s been doing since receiving his settlement. 

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“First thing I did was take care of my family and make sure they were straight. For me, this was a lot of money and I didn’t know what to do so I just sat,” he said. “I quit work. We did the film with Ava. We were running around promoting that and then I was on the circuit. Yusuf and I did a lot of public speaking, so we spoke at universities and high schools. We had been doing that since 2004 and 2005, but When They See Us came out it catapulted us to a new platform and so it made everybody want to book us,” he continued. 

While Santana did admit to doing a little splurging, he acknowledges that the Netflix series gave him a better opportunity to involve himself in social activism. 

Since the release of the series, Raymond tied the knot with Flavor of Love star, Deelishis and has devoted much of his time to advocating for prison reform.