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With Twin Mass Shootings, Playing for Change Asks “What’s Going On?”

Guest post by Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.

This year in America, there have been 251 mass shootings as of day 215; three of them in the past week.

While the motive of the Dayton shooter is still TBD, the shooters in Gilroy, CA and El Paso, TX were both motivated by racist hate with the goal of slaughtering men, women, and children of color.

This is the sickening truth that Americans woke up to today and must live with.

How do any of us cope with the ceaseless crisis of gun violence and our leader’s complacency and willful inaction? How do we stem the growing tide of racism, xenophobia, and public displays of hate? How did we get here? What’s going on?

Nearly fifty years ago, the great Marvin Gaye asked the same question after an act of police brutality. His chart-topping, “What’s Going On?” is a ballad of grief, yearning, and most of all hope.

It became an instant classic and has brought people together in the darkest of times reminding us of common humanity when we are in most need of healing.

Playing For Change, an artist collective created to inspire and connect the world through music recently released a cover of Gaye’s hit that shines a special light of hope today.

From their official website:

“Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.

“Our primary focus is to record and film musicians performing in their natural environments and combine their talents and cultural power in innovative videos we call Songs Around The World.

“Through these efforts, we aim to create hope and inspiration for the future of our planet.”

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Founded in 2002, Playing For Change released its first album in 2009, “Songs from Around the World,” featuring 100 musicians from 21 countries.

From its liner notes:

“For seven years our small film crew traveled the world with recording equipment and cameras in search of inspiration — we traveled from streets and subways to native Indian reservations, through African towns and villages, up to the Himalayan Mountains and beyond.

“Throughout the journey, we created a movement connecting the world through music. This album is a collective statement from over 100 musicians spanning five countries. Many of them have never met in person, but through their different cultures, these songs demonstrate a profound human connection and willingness to unite.

“Through music, we can understand our differences and create a better world.”

Playing For Change’s debut music video, a cover of the Ben E. King classic, “Stand By Me,” showcases their inspirational and remarkable journey.

Their latest music video of Imagine Dragon’s “Love” was recently released and its message could not be more relevant or important. Featuring musicians from across six continents, “Love” reminds us we are all one in the human choir inviting us to share in the song,

“All around the world, we are one …” and let’s share the love with everyone we meet.”

More about Playing For Change:

Support their work by becoming a member HERE.

Follow their inspirational work on social media:

Facebook: @PlayingForChange
Instagram: @playing4changefoundation
Twitter: @playing4change

You can follow guest contributor Lawrence Pfeil Jr. at his website, TheOUTFront.com