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Boots on the ground: Restoring the neighbor back to the ‘hood

By Yusef “Bunchy” Shakur
Special to the Michigan Citizen 

Whatever good comes out of our neighborhoods, will be a direct result of the good we invest into our neighborhoods. On Black Aug. 2, 2014, the eighth annual Backpack and Family Fun Day was part of that good, bridging the gap between hope and desperation

The annual event takes place in the Z8ne neighborhood of Detroit, right at my mom’s house. We welcome community members from other neighborhoods to participate in this block party of live music, food and backpacks filled with school supplies. It’s an experience in hope and love and of breaking bread as neighbors!

Our budget for the event is love and hope, which influenced Michigan Round Table, BME, AYE and JRD Printing to become sponsors. The Baltimore, Md., community-based program, Friend of a Friend, volunteered and distributed over 300 boxes of dictionaries. 

Lack of resources have reduced urban neighborhoods to “Third World neighborhoods” and the social conditions have manufactured “‘hoods.” “Hood behavior” has become an apex of surviving in a culture of violence, drugs and social mayhem. Our focus is to transform and redeem lives and inspire freedom fighters to re-build our neighborhoods in becoming the apex of resistance! The other day, I was walking through the neighborhood and a young boy shouted to his brothers “That’s the man that gave us the backpacks!” When we change the narrative and culture, we change the people. 


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