Sekyiwa Shakur, sister of Tupac Shakur and the head of the Tupac Shakur Foundation, recently spoke about the new direction for the foundation.
The Tupac Shakur Foundation, originally the Shakur Family Foundation was founded by Afeni Shakur in 1997. Sekyiwa Shakur has always been a strong leader in the foundation since it’s birth, but now finds herself with a bigger responsibility. Since her mother’s passing in 2016, Sekyiwa has led the organization.
Some of the programs offered by the Tupac Shakur foundation consist of Mental Health Awareness, Youth & Creative Arts, and Families Affected by Incarceration.
Sekyiwa Shakur and the Tupac Shakur Foundation was recently at The Laundry in San Francisco, celebrating the foundation. Speaking with Sterling James, of KBLX 102.9, Sekyiwa spoke about the foundations impact in the Bay Area. “We been here in the Bay Area the past three, four years, and we are finding new roots here. We’ve been working with organizations like, People’s Conservatory group, Rising Stars of Marion City.”
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Tupac Shakur Foundation Mental Health Awareness
Being there for the youth is key for the Tupac Shakur Foundation. Letting them know someone is indeed there for them. “We are looking to change the way young people, especially people of our community see themselves. How they hear about themselves, how they learn, how they are able to process their most times compound trauma. And, let them know they we actually have a community of responsible, healthy adults that are willing to be there for you to walk through your pains and your trauma,” explains Tupac’s sister Sekyiwa Shakur.
“Mental health is as important as physical health. You can’t thrive with a sick body, and you can’t succeed with an aching soul. When we begin to care for our spirits, we open ourselves up to all of the love the world has to offer, and, as significantly, the inner-love we have waiting for ourselves.”Leon Garber, Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Psychotherapist
Mental health awareness is a big focus for the Tupac Shakur foundation. Something that Sekyiwa herself like many, have or still deal with in their everyday lives. “Two years after my brother (Tupac) died. I went to a hospital for mental health, and one of the biggest lines I learned there, or lesson, me letting go over other people’s expectations of me. Measurement of me, and the need to have that, and it helped me so much. And, the shackles of other people’s plans for my life. Your opinion of me is none of my business,” says Sekyiwa Shakur.
For Tupac’s sister, getting things right personally has been a key factor to enable herself to lead others to move forward. Not just herself, and what she has experienced, but also those before her. “What I want to be a new message from us, is that we realize where we have been. From the Panthers, the civil rights movement, the human rights movement, rap, Thug Life. We’ve realize where we have been, and where we want to go. What’s been working and what hasn’t been working. Today we can honestly say what hasn’t been working, and I want to create and want to help anybody else who is working on the right choice, the right change. The right way to offer support,” adds Sekyiwa.
Sending a strong message to the communities that the foundation is here is key for the progression of the foundation and it’s mission. “The simpleness of a clean hug. Or a clean neighbor, to know that you really do have support here with no malice. I’m not trying to molest you. I’m not trying to take from you. I want to hear your heart, and what you need, and what to find anywhere that I can, and how I can help you with that. That’s who we are,” says Sekyiwa.
When TASF was founded by Afeni Shakur in 1997, the foundation provided a place for creativity. But, since it’s rebirth the foundation is taking it the next level. With the goal of doing more than just creating a performing arts platform. “Since Afeni’s passing we had to stretch what we do and how we help. Before it was cute to put it in a box of performing arts cause it was under the Tupac umbrella. But now I feel the need to fill in the blanks, from not just Tupac, but from my grandfather, my father, my mother, my uncles, my aunts.”