Before a lit candle flickers out and dies, in many instances there can be a catalyst to cause it to reignite. Detroit, my hometown, has seen better days and in the eyes of many seems to be a candle whose flame is soon to become extinct. However, Yusef Shakur -- author, entrepreneur, and activist -- has decided to be a catalyst to reignite its flame.
I travel back to Detroit to create economic empowerment initiatives frequently, but on this trip my primary purpose was to provide exposure for the efforts of my good friend and Brother Yusef Shakur. He has planned the fifth consecutive Restoring Neighborhood Rally where he annually gives out school supplies for the kids among other things. Out of his pocket and fund-raising abilities, hundreds of youth in this inner city neighborhood receive book bags, clothes, food, and most importantly a lot of love from friends and family from their neighborhood all of whom have decided they will also be catalysts for change and solutions for economic depression.
Yusef and I have very similar but different backgrounds. We are both from the same neighborhood. However, we chose different paths. While I went to college and eventually became a stock trader, he had helped to form one of the most notorious gangs in Detroit Zone 8, and eventually spent time in prison. However, we both had revelations that we could do more, so after I had completed my time on Wall Street and he had completed his time in prison, we both became activists to create change in our communities and support each other every step of the way through the businesses we both have created.
Our stories exemplify who America as a whole should be able to operate. Two Brothers with different backgrounds who have decided there is more power in their unity than in division. I wish Yusef all of the best in his feats and the public should keep a close eye out as we will be hearing much more from this activist. If the spirit within Yusef represents the new way of thinking within residents of Detroit I have no doubt my hometown will be back... it's only halftime!
See video interview of Yusef Shakur at the Detroit Restoring the Neighborhood Rally here.