<blockquote>I want you to know, truly, sincerely, I love sincerely each and everyone of you. You can put your heart on that. You know, I've always seen all of us, no matter what our ethnicities are, whatever our color, I've seen us as one family. And I'm not saying it just because I'm on the stage, I'm saying it 'cuz that's how I really feel. (To band:) Bring it down.
Can you believe that within one month, two grand juries, secret grand juries, declined to indict two policemen for the killing of two black men? I just don't understand that. Let me just say this also. I don't understand why our legal system would choose secrecy when there's so much mistrust in what they're saying. I don't understand why there could not have been a public trial where we would be able to hear all sides to the story. I just don't understand. I'll tell you what I do understand. I heard Eric Garner say with my own ears, 'I can't breathe.'
And as much is apologized, I don't understand why he did not stop. You see, I feel that, when people say to me, 'Look, you know you,' and I've heard this from various politicians as well is that, 'when you've got all this black on black crime and all this...' Well, my feeling is that guns are too accessible to everybody.
I do understand that something is wrong, real wrong, and we as a family, Americans, all of us, of all colors, need to fix it with a quickness real soon. I love you and I really love you, know that. And this is why this song, unfortunately, is still relevant today. If you know the words you can sing along with me.</blockquote>
Last night, at a concert in Seattle, Stevie Wonder opened, "Living For The City," with statements about race, justice, and the need to change the status quo. Watch the video above and you can read the transcription of his speech that calls out the secrecy of the legal system and an overabundance of firearms in this country. As Wonder says, "something is wrong, real wrong, and we as a family, Americans, all of us, of all colors, need to fix it with a quickness real soon."
This week, despite an autopsy declaring Eric Garner's death a homicide and video footage of repeating "I can't breath" as he is taken down by New York City cops, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo. Nine days before this, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, did not indict officer Darren Wilson even though he shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown to death. Both instances of white cops killing unarmed black men -- and then not even facing a trial -- sparked protests across the country demanding justice.
"Living For The City" was released 41 years ago on Stevie Wonder's Innervision album and won the Grammy for the Best R&B Song, while the album won the Grammy for Album of the Year. The song's central theme is perseverance through the struggles of life, told through the story of a someone who grows up in Mississippi and moves to New York City. Lyrics like "To find a job is like a haystack needle / Cause where he lives they don't use colored people" and "He's almost dead from breathing on air pollution / He tried to vote but to him there's no solution" shed light on systematic racism and powerlessness that persist to this day.
For Stevie Wonders's latest music, news, and tour dates, check out his Zumic artist page.
Source: Zoltan Grossman YouTube Channel