Image of Kemba Shakur

Kemba Shakur was inducted into the Environment category in 2009.

My Story

Fondly referred to as the "tree lady", Kemba Shakur is the founder and director of Urban Releaf, a nonprofit responsible for the planting of an estimated 14,000 trees in low-income East Bay 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 the Urban Releaf 10 years ago, guiding it to success by abiding 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.