“Winter In America”-Gil Scott-Heron

     

“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it.”-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During Stevie Wonder’s “Hotter Than July” tour in 1980, Gil Scott-Heron joined Stevie in his campaign to bring about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a Federal holiday to remember and honor Dr. King.  Before Heron died in 2011, he wrote about this experience in his memoir, The Last Holiday: A Memoir, “In 1980, Stevie joined with the members of the Black Caucus in the US congress to speak out for the need to honour the day King was born, to make his birthday a national holiday. The campaign began in earnest on Halloween of 1980 in Houston, Texas, with Stevie’s national tour supporting a new LP called Hotter than July, featuring the song Happy Birthday, which advocated a holiday for King. I arrived in Houston in the early afternoon to join the tour as the opening act. By 15 January 1981, King’s birthday, I had been working on the Hotter than July tour for 10 weeks.”

Gil Scott-Heron was a masterful lyricist…the Father of today’s rappers, whether they know it or not. It’s sad that his addictions prevented him from staying around and contributing his words and music to what is happening today. “Winter in America” comes in many forms: all inequalities, poverty, educational divides, global climate changes, technology inequality, food deserts, unemployment, minimum wage, hate, racism, prejudice…I hope that school children in the U.S. who are off from school today have parents that will talk about why schools are closed today; why we should remember Dr. King and the way or ways each individual can do something beneficial for others.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Still Relevant After All These Years

 

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”John Lennon

33 years ago today, John Lennon was murdered in NYC. I can remember the day and the shock and sadness that I felt. Well, like all great writers, Lennon’s words will live on forever. His words are still relevant today, Dec. 8th, 2013.

“Folk Music Has Always Contained a Concern for the Human Condition.”-Mary Travers

As I’ve written before in other posts, I received my first transistor radio for my 6th grade graduation from elementary school and that radio brought such joy into my life as I listened to a great DJ, Jerry White, on WJRZ play young Bob Dylan, young Joan Baez, young Pat Sky, young Peter, Paul & Mary. I was young then too, 10? (A few months ago, Jerry’s daughter somehow found my posting and contacted me and told me, to paraphrase, that her dad, before he died, recounted those days as some of his happiest days!). I loved Peter, Paul & Mary and bought all of their albums. For my 10th birthday, my older brother took me to Carnegie Hall to see them! Their first album has them against the brick wall inside The Bitter End ( venue I frequented in the village). That album reached #1 on the Billboard Charts today in 1963. Throughout the years I used the music of Peter, Paul & Mary in the classroom and on the stage of the school to promote peace, love, tolerance, social justice, history, English, current events and just the love of music.

“If we are going to teach the world to stop hating the different, the other, then we’re going to have to start with children.”-Mary Travers

Here’s one of my favorite off the first LP that I continue to sing to this day:

 

Wishful Wednesday

 

Gandhi was born today and The International Day of Non-Violence is always celebrated on his birthday. “According to General Assembly resolution A/RES/61/271 of 15 June 2007, which established the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness”. The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”.un.org

Time for a NEW Beginning

As I prepare for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, “I can’t help but wonder where I’m bound, where I’m bound, Can’t help but wonder where I’m bound.”(Tom Paxton, Folksinger, Social Commentator) I would substitute “I” with “We,“ WE as a nation.

My matzo balls are simmering away; my son is living in India; my husband, mom and daughter will partake in a familial and familiar Rosh Hashanah dinner. The candles will be lit, peace and good health will be prayed for.

The Progress byGwendolyn Brooks (1971) – – USA

And still we wear our uniforms, follow

The cracked cry of the bugles, comb and rush

Our pride and prejudice, doctor the sallow

Initial ardor, which keeps it fresh.

Still we applaud the President’s voice and face.

Still we remark on patriotism, sing,

Salute the flag, thrill heavily, rejoice

For death of men who too saluted, sang.

 

But inward grows a soberness, an awe.

A fear, a deepening hollow through the cold.

For even if we come out standing up

How shall we smile, congratulate; and how

Settle in chairs? Listen, listen. The step

Of iron feet again. And again – wild.