Get Ready For September 25! A Really Big Event.

Want to see a really hip and cool website?  Take a look at the Concert for America website which is promoting a remarkable event on September 25th. This event is becoming so big, and the website is so beautiful and chock-full of energy, ideas, things to buy and things to do that I don’t know where to start.  So let’s start with why this event, or I should say, this phantasmagoria of events is being held at all.

CAA           Actually what this really is all about is a #ConcertAcrossAmerica to #EndGunviolence.  You see, even an old guy like me is starting to write with hashtags rather than just plain, old (boring) words.  Behind these tags is a remarkable, collaborative effort combining the energies and commitments of more than 100 organizations who have already organized more than 75 concerts in 40 states, with more on the way.  And not only can you get to a live event by driving a couple of hours in one direction or another, if you even have to go that far, but through the miracle of social media you’ll be able to attend multiple events. In that regard, I should also put a link (it’s right here) to the concert’s Facebook page, which also contains news about all the different events.

I was going to stick around my home state, Massachusetts, and go to concerts here and there, but I’m tempted to go down to da city because the concert at the Beacon Theater, which happens to be a few blocks away from where I used to live, is going to be an unbelievable event.  I mean, when was the last time that the one, the only, the magnificent Jackson Browne shared a stage with Marc Walkin’ in Memphis Cohn and, and, Roseanne Cash??? I mean, this really can’t be done.

I’m going to make a prediction.  My sister Barbara and my mother actually went to Woodstock for the real deal in 1969.  They went up there because my father, who managed a big dairy in New Jersey, used to buy raw milk from Max Yasgur, on whose farm the concert was held. So a couple of days before the great event Max called my father to tell him not to send up a truck to get that week’s milk supply because, as Max put it, “they’re running all over the place.” And he wasn’t talking about his cows. He was talking about the 400,000 who showed up and camped out all over his land.

Anyway, back to my prediction.  If I had a nickel for everyone who, over the years, claimed to have been at Woodstock, I wouldn’t have to keep working for a living.  Truly, the concert was a national, cultural event.  And my prediction is that we may be looking at the same kind of situation on September 25th because everyone will either have been at one of the performances or will want everyone else to believe that they went to one of the events.

Take a quick look at the logos of the supporting organizations.  It’s a who’s who of faith-based groups. anti-violence groups, environmental groups, student groups, education groups – an enormous outpouring of interest, energy and concern.  And don’t forget to buy a t-shirt and contribute to the campaign. I just bought a shirt and added some more dough.  You should do it too.

In addition to the music already planned, many more are taking shape, and at least 150 faith-based organizations are also planning to hold musical and devotional events. This gets us to around 300 venues where people will gather on September 25th to use music as a medium to express their determination to stop the killings, the injuries and the violence caused by guns.

Know who’s really going to take back America?  The Gun Violence Prevention movement is going to take back America and the campaign gets into high gear on September 25th.  Remember, if you don’t go to one of these concerts, you’ll have to tell everyone that you did.

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A Remarkable GVP Event Is Being Planned And Everyone Should Come!

The very first time I drove into Boston, probably 1994 or 1995, I came towards the center of the city on the Mass. Pike and as I passed the newly-completed Prudential Center on my left, the light towers of Fenway Park loomed to my right. As I drove towards Fenway I was expecting to see the back of the Green Monster but, all of a sudden what I really saw was the huge billboard with pictures of kids who had been victims of gun violence, along with a caption that read: “15 Kids Killed Every day.”

concert           This remarkable public statement about gun violence, which decorated Fenway Park from 1993 until 2015 (there were actually a series of different, eye-popping murals,) was the handiwork of a Boston resident, John Rosenthal, who makes a nice living developing real estate and, by the way, he’s no Donald Shlump.  He’s an activist in gun violence, environmentalism, homelessness; in other words, he puts his money where it will really do some good.

His latest bright GVP idea is a national Concert Across America to End Gun Violence which will take place on September 25.  The concert will actually be a series of concerts taking place around the country on the same day, but the Boston event will be the anchor for the whole shebang, which is why we need to get out there, shout out there, and make it work.

I know a little bit about gun violence and about trying to prevent gun violence because I have been involved with guns, one way or another, since 1965.  And if I have learned one thing about gun violence prevention over the last fifty years, it hasn’t been an easy sell.  And the basic reason that GVP sometimes has difficulty reaching out to a wider audience is that one of our two major political parties – I’ll let you figure out which one – has decided that 110,000+ gun deaths and injuries each year is a small price to pay for unfettered and unquestioned access to guns.

Think about this for a second.  We had a big argument over whether to mandate seatbelts but nobody would dare stand up in Congress or run for President proclaiming that seat belts were a risk to health!  Yet every single Republican who entered a Presidential primary this year declared, indeed demanded that 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ be left alone.  As if there is such a thing as a 2nd-Amendment ‘right.’ What sheer, unadulterated crap.

But the problem with the GVP community is they really are committed to an honest exchange of ideas.  So not only are they up against liars, panderers and promoters on the other side, their messages calling for safety and restraint are easily and continuously drowned out.

Which is why Rosenthal’s billboard was so different– talk about being in your face.  And now (to paraphrase Arnold) he’s ba-ack with a new GVP venture that should be a home run, because there’s nothing that gets people going, gets them talking, gets them moving like a great, big musical event and, in this case, a whole country full of musical events.

The concert is already sponsored by nearly 50 organizations from sea to shining sea, you can help organize an event if you like, be in the audience at a concert, or just tune in through one of many social media venues that will carry the activities on that special day.  The website is up, artists are committing, the whole thing is moving forward and you should be involved.  This could be another Woodstock and don’t underestimate the impact of that one event on the culture of the times.

Sign up on the website, spread the word, make your organization a sponsor, tune up your old guitar.  In 2007 Congress designated September 25 as a National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims and let’s not forget that two-thirds of all those victims are killed each year with guns. Get it?