Conference keynote emphasizes community to overcome oppression

Yusef “Bunchy” Shakur spoke as part of the City College’s social justice conference

Yusef “Bunchy” Shakur

Yusef “Bunchy” Shakur was a keynote speaker at the second day of the Social Justice Conference. Zoom screenshot

Braydon Griffith, Multimedia Journalist

As the 6th Annual Social Justice Conference continued, Thursday’s schedule started with keynote speaker, Yusef “Bunchy” Shakur.

Shakur is an author, educator and survivor of the incarceration system. He educates and promotes community to fight the oppressive behaviors in present-day America. 

Shakur started his presentation by noting he is a product of his neighborhood, which is an oppressed neighborhood in Detroit.

“Oppression can do one of two things, either bring the best out of us or the worst out of us,” Shakur said.

Shakur spoke about transformation and how Malcolm X transformed into a revolutionary after finding the Nation of Islam while he was incarcerated.

“There he acquired the knowledge of self,” he said. “It provided him the opportunity to transform his life.”

Shakur explains that oppression is not solely an environmental occurrence but is something that happens in your own mind, and that is the oppression that must first be overcome. 

“Anger can spark movement, but it cannot sustain forward movement,” Shakur said to the audience on Zoom. 

Shakur discussed how angry he was when every job application he filled out asked if he had been convicted of a crime.

He recounted the anger but did not cite that as the reason for him changing. He was angry for those who could not articulate their anger the same way, and he removed that question for all of those like him who struggled with that form of oppression.

He emphasized that the self must be reformed before the world, but when a group of reformed bodies comes together, that is when exterior reform will be made. 

If you missed any of the presentations, videos can be found on the San Diego City College YouTube here.

For more information on the conference or the speakers, please visit