Shanduke McPhatter, 36, was first incarcerated at the age of 16. Shortly after, he became one of the first group of young men to join the New York Bloods, after years of violence and putting in work rose to the rank as the ‘OG’. He spent the next 15 year of his life living a life of crime, fast money, violence, and many years in and out of incarceration, Shanduke (a gang specialist and Advocate against Senseless Gun violence) is now the Executive Director and Founder of Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes (G-M.A.C.C. Inc); helping community youth overcome those very same challenges he once faced.
Shanduke was born and raised in Brooklyn. Although it is those very same streets that influenced him into becoming a product of his environment, Shanduke always maintained a love and pride for his hometown, which is evident in his dedication to it today. Shanduke, his twin sister, and two other siblings spent their early years in foster care until their mother was able to raise all five of her children in a single parent home. Never ever seeing a photo of his own father, his first male role model was his older brother, who he himself was a constant victim of the juvenile system. Shanduke’s mom was a very strong woman. She always did all she could to raise a strong man, but at times lost connection him as many parents do. She couldn’t offer him that male leadership he craved and at times other resources became more readily available to him by his peers. ‘Trife Gangsta” as the streets referred to him, had lots of friends; some called them a gang, but to him they were family.
Although Shanduke realized being in prison took 15 years of his life from him; he has come to believe that had he not been sent there, he may not have become the asset to society he now is. After Shanduke’s third major sentence, he knew it had to be his last. He realized that the system wasn’t going to change him, he had to in fact change himself and vowed to make a change, not just for himself but for those who come across the same path that had him there. He had lost so many friends to prison and murder, he just knew that he needed to take his life experiences and help those who would fall victim to the same circumstances. From then on his promising future became clearer. While in prison he completed his GED with one of the highest honors. Upon being released, he went immediately back into a full time work setting, but most importantly he was becoming that valuable influence in his twin sons lives, he never had.
Shanduke always found himself stopping to talk to the youth, whether it was on the way home from work or after yet again another senseless murder occurred. More and more, Shanduke realized the height of the problems and furthermore the immediate need for the right solution; which prompted him to start Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes Inc. (G-M.A.C.C.). The organization is based upon changing the lives of those caught in the street life, which involves drugs, guns, violence, prison and the overall gangsta mentality. G.M.A.C.C. provides resources to youth, men and women in and out of the prison system. G.M.A.C.C. believes that the need for change is understanding that individuals, especially our youth population who get caught in this lifestyle, need a strong and positive support system to help keep them motivated and improve their lives.
Shanduke spends countless hours in the streets of Brooklyn to help lower the level of violence within the surrounding communities. Shanduke is called by Brooklyn public schools to give gang prevention seminars and workshops designed to help kids stay away from gangs, violence and the lifestyle that surrounds it. Shanduke and G-M.A.C.C. were very influential in helping the young friends of Kimani Gray, the Brooklyn young man killed by police. Shanduke has marched with Council Member Jumaane D. Williams and helped lead his annual NOT IN MY HOOD march against senseless violence along side Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes (the very same DA who once used to prosecute him) and borough president Marty Markowitz. Shanduke also teamed up with reverend Al Sharpton and NAN to Occupy the Corners of some streets in Brooklyn during the times that most shootings happen. Shanduke has been featured on several news and radio programs such as Brian Lehrer TV and Radio, CNN, RT America with Mona Zughbi, and Channel 7 Here and Now with Sandra Bookman to name a few. Shanduke has become the most sought out man for elected officials and community leaders when the streets and youth need guidance and understanding, because he has the heart and credibility to go into the neighborhoods before and after senseless murders.
Many parents, teachers, and law enforcement officials don’t understands that there are different perspectives that influence a youth’s options when making choices, when he or she is not sure how to address something affecting their daily lives. They also are not sure who to turn to for honest, nonjudgmental ways to settle their problems. Shanduke has filled that void. Whether it is the Youth, Parents, Teachers, and all within the community, no issue is too small or too large for G-M.A.C.C. when dealing with gangs, drugs, bullying, violence, peer pressure, and all aspects surrounding family and community.