In the Chair

    LaSuria Kandi Allman Interviews Civil Rights Activist Yusef Bunchy Shakur

    Author: Ey Wade Genre: »
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    Welcome back. Today we have e the distinguished Yusef Bunchy Shakur in the The Hotseat. LaSuria has some I retesting questions, and we are in for some entertaining and life learned information. Grab a chair and let's join the interview.

    By any measure, Father, Author, Educator and Neighborhood Organizer Yusef Bunchy Shakur’s life is an epic story of transformation, redemption and hope. His parents were teenagers when he was born. His father was imprisoned and his mother battled with alcohol, which lead her to abuse him as a way of discipline. Nurtured by the streets, he co-founded the notorious Detroit “Zone 8” street gang by the age 13. At age 19, he was sentenced 5 to 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, where he met his father for the first time. Ironically, his father became the force that drove his metamorphosis from a thug to a redeem human and community leader. Shakur has become a well-known activist and organizer who focuses on “Restoring The Neighbor Back To The Hood” in a Detroit neighborhood known as Zone 8 and throughout the country. He has answers for the disengaged, disenfranchised, students, educators and professionals, and the prolific inspirational speaker shares his message of hope, redemption, transformation and triumph at conferences, community gatherings, churches, on pannel discussions, conventions and top colleges and universities.

    He has presented at Harvard and Standford University, Chicago Ideas Week and featured in the production Broken Mirriors: Bullies and Bystanders. His 2008 critically self-published memoir, “The Window 2 My Soul,” has been used as a requried reading at several universities, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Central Michigan University. Since being home from prison over 14 years Shakur has dedicated his life to community-based initiatives such as distributing more than 8,000 school children with backpacks filled with school supplies at his annual school supply event held at his mother’s house in his neighborhood of Zone 8 as well as providing free food to all the families in attendance.
     He’s organized and develpoed mentoring programs, community forums, promoted literacy, fostered gang intervention and organized events such as the Urban Community Peace and Justice Summit, the State Emergency of the Urban Youth and the monthly People’s Survival Program of feeding and clothing the people. He opened a Detroit bookstore, the Urban Network, which operated as a community center as well and has toured as a speaker for public schools locally and nationally. For his work, the Knight Foundation honored him with a 2012 Black Male Engagement Leadership Award and a grant to provide literacy classes, digital training and school supplies. He also was named a Best Community Leader finalist in Steve Harvey’s 2012 Hoodie Awards. Shakur also penned “My Soul Looks Back,” the sequel to his first memoir, and published, “Scribes of Redemption” a memoir of letters and lessons from his father.

     His life story of transformation also is featured in the documentary, “Detroit’s Native Son.” He is featured in the critical accliam book “Reach: 40 Black Men Speaking On Living, Leading and Succeding” that has taken the American nation by storm . He has been a Huffington Post Detroit contributor. His message and story has been shared on numerous television and radio shows, and he has been featured on International and National Public Radio, BBC, CBS Detroit, the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, the Michigan Citizen, an Chronicle, the Michigand Black America Web. He resides in Detroit, where he is busy raising his own son and running his company YBS Consulting, LLC. Visit him at www.yusefshakur.org.Please enjoy the interview and leave a shout out in the comments.
    What city and state did you grow up in?
     I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan.
    What was it like growing up in Detroit?
     I grew up in the 80's when crack and heroine became King. Women single parenting and gangs.
     Tell me something about yourself?
      I went to prison for a crime I didn't commit. There I met my father Ahjarmu Baruti. I changed my life.
     What is Restoring the Neighbor back to the hood?
    Functioning within the hood, it's a movement, we are engaging through the work.
     Is there a website where ppl can learn more about Restoring the Neighbor back to the hood?
      Fb, Twitter, Instagram
    You are an author, what is the title of your book? What is it about?


      The Windows To My Soul. A close look at my life, growing up in the City of Detroit. My involvement in the streets.
    What inspired you to become an author, mentor, activist, a voice for the people?
     Reading changed my life.
     So your fans can follow you what social media sites are you?
     Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
      What other community programs that you are involved in?
    Yusef.  We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Voting registration, feeding the needy and homeless. We give them Hope. We are The First Responders.
     If you could speak directly to youth today what would you say?
    It is important to love yourself know who you are. Everyday you wake up be the best you can be.
    What advice would you give to the young men who are suffering from police brutality?
    Take responsibility for who you are. How you represent yourself. We live in a racist society. Make the best decisions.
    Are there any survival tactics or a journal that you can suggest to aid young Black men?
    Look at Malcolm X, Paul Roberson who have dealt with the same tactics in a different era. Import the right information in your mind.
     What are you thoughts on the phrase "By Any Means Necessary?"
      You have a right to fight for yourself. It is a Lifestyle a way of thinking.
    I believe that we need more men like you who actually care and who is putting the work in. I commend you on that!! I know that you went to Ferguson, when Mike Brown was murdered, did you accomplish your goals while you were there?
    Yes, To fight for our people, learn as much as I could and contribute. It was the everyday Brothers and Sisters that were fighting.
     Tell me about some of the things you saw and heard while on the front lines in Ferguson?
      Witnessing the exploitation. Some people were living out of their backpacks. The struggle was real. Who was your mentor?
     My father Ahjamu Baruti
    17. Kandi.  Give me a list of books to read?
    Yusef.   Malcolm X. My book "The Windows To My Soul"
    18. Kandi.  Do you have any books, speaking engagements, events coming up?
    Yusef.  Baltimore Maryland next week. Preparing for 2016
    What keeps you motivated?
    Serving my community
     Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
      Running for Detroit City Council 2017, and writing more books.
     Do you have any political thoughts or dreams of becoming Mayor of Detroit?
     Yes, I am
     Are you a Republican or Democrat? Who will you be voting for President of USA?
    Independent, neither candidates have our best interest.
    Are there any challenges you have faced that you have overcome?
    Absolutely, internal being, immaturity, not having funds. There is a cost to being radical and real.
    What can we do as citizens to make Detroit a better city?
     Build around people who has the same value system.
    How do you feel about the legalization of marijuana?
    Detrimental to the community, alters your state of mind. Altering who you truly are.
    Are you a sports fan? Who is your favorite team?
    Yes, OKC and The Patriots.
    Married? Children?
     Yes, I have two sons
     Zodiac sign?
    Aquarius
     What are your hobbies?
      Reading, Netflix
     Is there something you would like to say before we end the show?
     The Man, The Myth, The Truth
    I am just making a difference.

    I would like to thank you for this powerful and informative interview. I look forward to future interviews with you. Much success on all your endeavors.


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