Why He’s Interesting: With more than 500 shootings a year in Cleveland, Shakur created the Wolfpack Gunshot Response Team to mobilize and empower African-American youth by outfitting them with trauma kits to respond to gunshot, knife and bomb wounds before EMS or law enforcement arrives.
Trauma Experience: Shakur was first inspired to create the Wolfpack Response Team when he became a grassroots first-responder in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. “I have never seen poor, black people being treated with such love, respect and care. I knew I had found my calling.”
Life Lessons: Helping with the relief efforts in New Orleans at 32 forced Shakur to reevaluate his life and priorities. “I became the man I always wanted to be in New Orleans. It can be a fickle place, but if the spirit of New Orleans takes you in, as it did for me, you are set for life.”
Kit and Kaboodle: To date, Shakur has been able to secure the donation of 50 trauma kits, which include coagulated gauze, shears, bandages, gloves and combat application tourniquets. While he’d like to triple that number in the short term, he has much larger aspirations. “My goal is to help people in need. I’d like to have a chapter across the U.S.”
Heart Food: Young residents of his Hough housing complex, including members of rival gangs, regularly convene in Shakur’s apartment for meals and relationship building. “I feed them, respect them and love on them like my grandmother did to me.”
Crisis Mentality: If there is an emergency, Shakur is the guy you want near you. He tries to be a role model for those around him on how to navigate crises. “When people see you panic, they panic. I always try to show everyone how to slow down and keep your head.”
Pre-Dawn Stillness: A self-professed night owl, Shakur has an affinity for the hours between 3 and 7 a.m. when he says the world is quiet around him. “Everything is calm. No one that I can see is getting hurt. No one is screaming for help. No children are screaming out of neglect. And then the sun comes up, and it’s on like popcorn.”
Advising Himself: Although he says he was too arrogant as a teenager to heed others’ advice, Shakur still would try to impart some wisdom to his younger self. “There is nothing more important than trust. If you can deliver and others see you deliver, then they will know who you are.”
Pack Goals: If Shakur had to create his own celebrity wolf pack, he would run alongside some pretty notable figures. “Danny Glover, Sean Penn, Chadwick Boseman, N’Bushe Wright, Danai Gurira and Joan Jett. Oh, and Oprah. You have to have Oprah in your pack.”
Interesting Fact: Shakur led a sit-in in 2006 to save St. Augustine Church, the nation’s oldest African-American parish.