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What’s Going On?

Upland, CA

Like many of you, music has been a big part of my life in both my childhood and adulthood. I have fond
memories of listening to the sweet sounds coming from my grandmothers record player. Music has always
allowed me to express my emotions and sentiments. During tough times, it was music that permitted me a
chance to escape from the difficulties of life. Music has brought much happiness and peace into my life. Many of
my father’s side of the family could sing or play an instrument, but unfortunately, I was not blessed with the gift
of either. Growing up in the era of Motown, I came to appreciate the talents of Diana Ross, the Temptations,
Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Four Tops and of course the Jackson 5. But one of my
favorite singers was Marvin Gaye, not only was he talented but he was also very conscious. If he was alive today
and was witnessing the crime, violence, hate, police brutality and racial injustice in our society he would once
again ask what is going on? In 1971 Marvin Gaye released a protest song, that soon became a national anthem
titled, ‘What’s Going On.” It was a powerful and groundbreaking song at the time, some have stated that it is the
most influential recording in modern musical history.
During the last few weeks, we have seen three football players from the University of Virginia senselessly
murdered, four students at the University of Idaho were discovered in their shared off-campus home dead, a 22-
year-old gunman entered an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs and killed five people while injuring 25 others,
and now Walmart is not even safe. There are hate crimes still being done towards not only Black people, but
also Jewish and Asian people. Let us not forget that there is still a war in Ukraine. The stirring lyrics of Marvin
Gaye’s song are as relevant today as they were over a half century ago. “Mother, mother there’s too many of you
crying brother, brother, brother there’s far too many of you dying. You know we’ve got to find a way to bring
some lovin’ here today. Father, father we don’t need to escalate you see, war is not the answer for only love can
conquer hate.” The final verse says, “Picket lines and picket signs don’t punish me with brutality c’mon talk to me
so you can see what’s going on yeah, what’s going on tell me what’s going on.” I am a true believer that love can
conquer hate if we are willing to give it a try.
If we do not figure out soon, “What’s Going On” when it comes to mass murder, child abuse, domestic violence,
bullying, police misconduct, suicide, gun violence, and international conflict, it is safe to say that the end time is
coming sooner than any of us desire.  One of the saddest national statistics is that homicide is the leading cause
of death among young Black men and contributes significantly to the shortened lifespan of the Black male. In
about 80-90% of the cases, the Black victim was killed by another Black individual, and about 52% of the murder
victims were acquainted with their assailant. Young Black males represent 2% of the U.S. population but
accounted for about 38% of the gun homicide deaths last year. Black homicide rates are seven to eight times
those of whites. What is going on with Black community violence? Our community is in dreadful need of
meaningful and sustainable homicide prevention centers with programs of prevention, research and treatment.
America, what is going on? Black communities, what is going on? God and love are the answer. Not hate.
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on.

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