June 18, 2012 – Vote TUESDAY for “Best Community Leader” Yusef Shakur on Steve Harvey’s Hoodie Awards
I created Detroit Half Full because of people like Yusef Shakur. Yusef is an incredible community member here in Detroit and he is now in the top 4 for Steve Harvey’s Hoodie Awards for “Best Community Leader”. THIS Tuesday may sure you vote for him and the work he’s doing here in the city. This is an opportunity for Detroit to show their support to someone who is truly making a positive impact on our city. For more information, click on the event page here.
A legacy of the system, Shakur was remanded to state custody as a teenager. His gang activity eventually led him to prison, where he would spend almost a decade behind bars. Shakur’s rehabilitation from street hustler to community activist began in earnest when he met, in prison, his erstwhile absent father, who challenged him to educate himself and understand the origin of his incarceration.
In 2010, he would go on to pen a memoir, The Window 2 My Soul, but became frustrated by the limited prospects available to him as a returning felon. When he couldn’t find a local bookstore to sell his own books, he opened his own. He now also publishes other emerging literary artists under his Urban Guerilla Publishing.
Today, education and storytelling continue to be central to his work. Shakur partners with local leaders and organizations, including the office of City Councilman Kenneth Cockrel, to provide school supplies to neighborhood youth. He also uses his story of reformation to educate returning citizens through HOPE (Helping Our Prisoners Elevate). (continue reading on Detroit Urban Innovation Exchange)