Kemba Shakur

Alum 2013

Kemba Shakur is the Founder and Executive Director of Urban Releaf, an urban forestry nonprofit responsible for the planting and caring of an estimated 16,000 trees in low-income East Bay Area communities. Kemba has always loved trees, and cherishes childhood memories of outings with her parents to places like Big Basin. A pivotal moment in her life came in the 1990s, when Kemba moved to West Oakland and was struck by the lack of greenery. Instead of packing up and moving on, Kemba started planting trees. She founded Urban Releaf 14 years ago, guiding it to success by abiding by two key principles – creating a more beautiful community where residents take pride in where they live and offering opportunities for at-risk youth and unemployed adults to gain marketable skills. Kemba continues to advocate for the importance of trees on a local as well as national level. She is currently working on her autobiography, “A Tree Grows in Oakland.”