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A call for musicians to join the band “Abuse Nation”

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I am looking for musicians who would like to be part of a band called Abuse Nation. These musicians would preferably be abuse victims themselves but people sympathetic to abuse victims would be more than welcome. The songs would be about abuse. That could be a song about verbal or emotional abuse or about sexual abuse or human trafficking. While I write songs myself, I am hoping that the other members of the group will contribute songs, creating a variety of music.

Due to the that fact that it’s unlikely that all of the people interested  in a group like this will live in the same area, I expect this will be a virtual group. If engineering and mixdown is needed a kick-starter will be created to fund that.

The long term goal of this band is to be the symbol for a brand, also called Abuse Nation.  I have found that the majority of the non-abused population are unwilling to discuss abuse, blocking any substantial progress in strengthening laws and helping end abuse. I have settled on the idea of using music due to my feeling that people will listen to music about a controversial subject before they will take time to read a book or watch a movie or television show and they will do this without a lot of conscious thought. Perhaps it’s the fact that music seems to speak to listeners at a deeper level and passes the internal censors without trouble.  I am hoping to put this music on YouTube initially and eventually, have it played on the radio under the “Abuse Nation” brand. In the long run I expect that Abuse Nation will become a musical brand that is accepted by radio and internet listeners. What people become used to, they tend to accept.

The first contribution to this collection of music comes from me and can be found at:

http://www.neildouglasnewton.com/uploads/4/8/7/8/48782169/lamb.mp3

I can be reached at abusenation@gmail.com

Neil Newtonabusenation

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Randa Fox and “Not On Our Watch”. Working to end the shame and devastation of child sexual abuse.

“Please consider joining me in finding your voice.  Through poetry, art, music, or any other outlet you choose, we want to give you a place where you can tell your truth and let others hear your story.   Once we break our silence, others will know finally that they are not alone, and you will find that you are able to let go of any shame, guilt, or any stigma society has placed on us.”

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With these words Randa Fox throws down the gauntlet in a well past due effort to address a plague that has existed for years. It is estimated that there are forty-two million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the United States. That could simply be just another statistic. But what Randa Fox knows is that the effects of this abuse do not end when the abuse does. For years the cancer of abuse eats at its victims. The statistics are there; sexual abuse survivors are far more likely to become substance abusers, experience depression, anxiety and PTSD, become involved in crime and to be incarcerated. These symptoms of childhood brutalization are not isolated cases; they involve millions of adults who walk among us today.

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But Randa Fox’s message is not simply a litany of disturbing stories that we hear in the occasional  PSA on television. She is beginning her reformation of the landscape of abuse by urging abuse victims to shed the shackles of the devastating after effects of growing up as an abuse victim. She urges them to “find their voice”. For those of you who are not abuse victims this may seem like a laudable and pleasant idea, but not one of any real consequence. But look at it this way: there are forty-two million child abuse survivors who are suffering. Wasted lives, depression, and unrealized potential. From a moral point of view, it would seem that anyone would want to aid Randa in reaching her goals. From a practical point of view there is spillover of this widespread travesty in the form of money spent on medical care for victims of severe depression and public monies spent on the criminal justice system, both in terms of law enforcement and penal institutions.

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And there is more that is unique about Randa and her goals. In most cases, charitable organizations that fight child abuse work mostly within their own purview. That this is inefficient and less effective seems obvious. Yet one of Randa’s most fundamental ideas is that fighting abuse requires a coalition of all survivors and, more to the point, all organizations that deal with child sexual abuse. Randa has set into motion a program of grants, raising money for other organizations, working to fund any organization that can contribute to a solution. The long-term goal is to create synergy in the efforts to fight child sexual abuse, a synergy that will increase in magnitude and effectiveness as more organization join the effort.

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Randa has developed a 5013c that I feel takes on the most difficult aspects of the battle against child sexual abuse. I can personally attest to her ability, through her genuine desire to free people from their chains, to gently convince me that I am a survivor of neglect, something that never would have occurred to me to consider. In addition to being an excellent planner, Randa has the soul of a counselor. This is probably the most important quality in her arsenal, giving rise to her instincts in creating the mission statement of her organization; the goal of Not on Our Watch is nothing less than erasing the horrifying effects of child sexual abuse.

I am not the only one who sings the Praises of Randa Fox. ID Discovery recently awarded her “Hero of the month”. It is obvious that Randa’s potential can be seen by people who are not directly connected to her; quite a number of candidates are submitted to ID discovery for this honor.

If you want to be part of the true solution for child sexual abuse visit http://notonourwatch.net/. It will be worth your time and effort. You can be part of the solution.

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The Groove.

Neil Newton: Author of “The Railroad” on Amazon
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What’s a groove? The word has been around since the jazz days. It went mainstream back in the sixties in the word “groovy”. While hearing that word after 1975 is a bit of joke, the concept of the groove has stayed with us for almost seventy years.

I learned about the Groove from my teachers, many of whom were getting old when I was born. What business does a white boy from the east end of New York City have talking about the Groove? Outside of music, probably not that much. I am not naïve enough to claim any bragging rights about understanding what it’s like to be African American in this day and age because I’m a musician. But what I did learn from the likes of Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and, my absolute favorite, Wes Montgomery, was a complicated, endlessly fascinating musical language. They also taught me about the “Groove”.

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The term has gone underground, at least in white America. I hear it in movie titles like “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”. For musicians the Groove is the Holy Grail. It’s a place you go, especially when you’re playing with other musicians, where everything fits, the music drives itself and saying that all of the players are together is an understatement. It’s almost as though one person or a conglomerate mind is playing.

Returning to “Stella”, stories like her’s demonstrate how the “Groove” is a goal for life in general, perhaps its most important manifestation. So many of us stay safe and keep things quiet, myself included; a simple life is a life more easily lived. So what does the Groove require? Not surprisingly, the forefathers of the groove, musicians who invented jazz, blues and by extension, rock and roll, are one of the best example of the path to the groove. These men and women were pioneers who bet their future on presenting a growing, rapidly changing form of music. It was risky both financially and to some extent physically. These were men and women who showcasing their considerable talent in a world that was not friendly to black men and woman. There have been countless stories of violence against jazz musicians.

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What is striking is that their passion to build something intelligent and complex held their fears at bay. The same passion also allowed them to ignore an uncertain financial future, especially when they were starting out.  Years later these men and women are legends because they found their groove but most of them paid a high price to do it.

As we hear, life is short. I don’t think that most of us believe that until it becomes obvious that it’s true, when you become older. Following the path to your groove takes courage but, in the end, isn’t it the only thing that does honor to the life that God gives you. I doubt that people who are not music enthusiasts see the full meaning of the “Groove” through discussions of the pioneers of jazz. But I’m sure that you can look toward actors, activists, social workers, businessmen, all people who have focused on one thing and ignored all the fears and obstacles to get where they were called to go.

These sentiments have been echoed in the work and philosophy of people like Joseph Campbell who coined the phrase “follow you bliss” and presented the concept of the “hero’s journey” which eventually became the basis of the Star Wars franchise; Campbell and George Lucas were longtime friends. The hero’s journey, stated simply, is a journey that involves leaving your comfort zone to go through devastating changes and challenges. The end game for this journey is to return from the warzone of drastic change to bring something valuable to the hero’s life and the lives of those around the hero.

Regardless of what you call it, The Groove represents the journey of letting go, not staying safe, and being ready to take whatever comes. The path is hard but the rewards are incalculable.

Wes

 

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