Author, father, youth mentor, inspirational speaker, community organizer and bookstore owner are just a few of the significant roles willfully acquired by the indispensable Yusef Bunchy Shakur.
His innate ability to overcome the odds of growing up in a fatherless home with an abusive and alcoholic mother while a product of a thuggish environment, are extraordinary. This lifestyle ultimately led to his co-founding a notorious street gang; “Zone 8,” which contributed to his imprisonment at just 19 years old for a crime he did not commit.
It was during this imprisonment that he became acquainted with his estranged father. Ironically, the man who had not been there for him played an integral role in Yusef’s development from a hardened criminal into a responsible adult. After serving 9 years in prison, Shakur became instrumental in making significant contributions to the betterment of his community. These contributions derived from his personal mission to “Restore the Neighbor Back to the ‘Hood.” He has organized various community initiatives and events in and around the City of Detroit during the past eleven years.
They include but are not limited to, providing backpacks and school supplies to more than 3000 children over the last 6 years. He also furthered his education by earning his Associates Degree. Shakur sums up his epic journey of redemption, hope, triumph & transformation into the self-published, critically acclaimed memoir The Window 2 My Soul: My Transformation from a Zone 8 Thug to a Father & Freedom Fighter which he released in 2008, followed by the highly anticipated sequel, My Soul Looks Back and documentary film Detroit’s Native Son. He also has was a written for the Huffington Post Detroit, help co-found the national movement Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement (FICPM) and currently holds the position as their Communication Officer.
Yusef is on a journey to capture, condition and nurture the minds of our youth and community and for that, he should be honored as a “trailblazer making a positive difference in Detroit and shaping the renaissance of our region”. In 2012 he was voted a finalist for Steve Harve’s Hoodie Awards “Best Community Leader” by community members all across the country because of his hard work and dedication of being a change agent.
Universities Incorporating “The Window 2 My Soul” Into Curriculum: University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Wayne State University, Wayne Community College and Merritt College
Contributions to the Community include but are not limited to:
2012– Help organize “Embrace our Families 2 Rebuild our Communities” school supply giveaway
2012 – Played an integral role in organizing the 4th Annual Back to School Supply Give Away Family Fun Day
2012 – Help organize “Real Men Wear Pink: All Pink Everything” Cancer awareness event
2012 – Help organized “From Community Predator 2 Community Protectors”
2011 Help organize the 1st GoodBrothas Skating party
2011– Played an integral role in organizing the 4th Annual Back to School Supply Give Away Family Fun Day
2010 – Played an integral role in organizing the 3rd Annual Back to School Supply Give Away Family Fun Day
2010 – Played an integral role in organizing – 9 Years In—9 Years Out “Celebrating Transformation”
2010 – Played an integral role in organizing – Community Dialogue “Fear of The Black Man”
2010 – Played an integral role in organizing – MLK celebration “Reclaiming Our Families, Reclaiming Our Communities” where I was the host
2009 – Was elected the Chair of the Community Outreach organization H.O.P.E.
2009 – Organized the 2nd annual “Free School Supply Give-Away” where over 150 youth received free back packs and school supplies
2009 – Organized with City Councilwoman Joann Watson, a Youth Summit at Cobo Hall where I was also a speaker
2009 – Toured as a speaker for Detroit Public Schools with former radio personality and now Charter Commissioner Reggie Reg Davis & Cease Foundation
2009 – Organized and conducted a 10 week Mentorship Program “Real Talk: Empowering Our Youth” using my book
2009 – Opened up a bookstore in the inner City called the “Urban Network”
2008 – Coordinated and organized Urban Community Peace and Justice Summit, and was also the keynote speaker
2008 – Co-Founder of the Youth Task Force Commission on Peace & Justice with Detroit City Council Woman JoAnn Watson and Al Martin
2008 – Coordinated and organized an outdoor community event – The State Emergency of the Urban Youth wherein we gave away free school supplies and new clothes to over 200 youth
2008 – Conducted an 8 week gang intervention program at Timbuktu Academy utilizing my book as a reference guide
2008 – Actively participated in the Real Men Read program in Highland Park
2006 – Organized and coordinated an 8 week Real Men, Real Talk men support group for Highland Park Head Start
2005 – Was elected to the Board of Directors Parent Network, a premier parent organization which assists with strengthening parental involvement in order to make Detroit a better place to raise and educate children. It also facilitates the Prison Parenting Program in conjunction with the HOPE organization
2004 – Was elected Vice-President of the Men Forum, an origination dedicated to providing comprehensive leadership to the Detroit and Highland Park Communities
2004 – Developed and Coordinated with Kwasi Akwamu, a 20 week Malcom X Male Rites of Passage @ Kabazz Cultural Center Program Coordinator
2004 – Organized and Coordinated Prisoner Awareness Day Coordinator
2004 – Created and Facilitated Wayne-Metro Head Start Olympics
2003 – Member of Helping Our Prisoners Elevate (HOPE), an organization designed to provide prisoners with reading materials that will challenge their thinking and prepare them for re-entry into the community as productive citizens. The organization also assists former prisoners in finding employment and resources to assist in their re-adjustment into the community
2002 – Co-Organized and coordinated the community outdoor event “Young Brothas and Sistas on the Move,” a leadership training and Self-esteem building program
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