This month (May 2022), I have another lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach. The pain is deep for me and hundreds of others who are tired. We are tired of turning on the television or hearing on the internet of another shooting. The Buffalo and Uvalde shootings hit me especially hard. It was my birthday weekend (May 13) for the Buffalo shooting, and I was high on LOVE. I enjoyed John P. Kee in concert (Los Angeles, CA) and the taste of my chocolate covered edible. The weekend was perfect. Suddenly, I could not believe what I heard on the news about another mass shooting. This time, it was at the Tops Friendly Market Store, a supermarket on the eastside neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. Ten black people were killed, and three others were inquired. The shooter livestreamed part of the attack but the live stream was shut down by the service under two minutes. The accused identified as 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder. He formally entered a plea of “not guilty” on May 19, 2022. The ten victims ages were 20 to 86 lives were taken unnecessarily. The three victims injured did not have to be hurt. The ten people who died reminded me of family and friends. Some were just going about their day and ran an errand that cost their lives. Some were pillars in the community. The shooting targeted black people. This left me speechless and put me on a psychological alert at the same time.
The outpouring of love warmed my heart. It is amazing how people come together when there is tragedy.
New York Governor, Kathy Hochul announced $2.8 million in funding for the victims and their families, according to a statement from her office. The Buffalo Bills and NFL Foundation combined to donate $400,00 as a response to the shooting.
This and other shootings (especially the Uvalde) have traumatized us repeatedly. It is a frightening idea to think of a child going to school for an education and losing their life. It brought tears to my eyes to look at the photos of the precious students full of life who were gunned down.

I always try to have a keen sense of awareness about people and my surroundings but more so now. It is critical to pay attention to things in our surroundings. I try hard not to become easily distracted and live in the present. I cannot just let precious lives be taken. I have a responsibility to participate in bringing good to the world. Simple acts of kindness go a long way. This epidemic of gun violence will require changes on many levels. There is something everyone can do to show love and support to others. In many instances, people are hurting emotionally, and no one ever knows. Many are in physical and mental pain. Research states, roughly two-thirds of the silent suffers (70.6%) reported being in moderate to severe pain, and half reported being in pain more than eight days a month. According to the National Alliance on Mental illness, Depression affects nearly 16 million Americans every year.
Suicide is another cause of death that happens too often. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is death caused by injuring oneself with the intent to die. A suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves with any intent to end their life, but they do not die as a result of their actions.
Many individuals were stunned and sadden by hearing about the death of tWitch, star Ellen DeGeneres Show and So You Think You Can Dance. The official cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Although, I did not know tWitch personally. His energy lit up rooms and brought me joy seeing him dance. tWitch’s death is a big loss as he was an inspiration and admired by many. I just hate he suffered in silence. Others who died by gun suicide, Don Cornelius, Junior Seau, Dave Garroway, Richard Farnsworth, Joel Fluellen, Keith Emerson, John Costelloe, Pete Duel, Romain Gary, Ernest Heminway, Benjamin Hendrick, Silvio Horta, Rick Jason, Richard Jeni, Naomi Judd, Brian Keith and Benjamin Keough to name a few. These individuals were precious and are gone too soon.
Challenges and barriers can cause individuals to feel hopeless. Some may feel there is no way out of a situation. I encourage everyone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts or experiencing a mental health crisis to talk with a trusted friend or family member, seek therapy or call 988 or (800) 273-8255. Help is available.

More important than ever, I am committed to a higher level of humanity. I will check on my brothers and sisters more. I am committed to aid those hurting who may just need a hug or a listening ear. I value the lives of others and will use my resources and influence to save lives. I pledge to support others by any means necessary to include singing like no one’s listening, love like they have never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching and live like it is heaven on heart.

Author's Bio: 

• Recording Artist, author, self-care advocate, Wellness Consultant and owner of SCB Consulting.

• Founder of a Men's Reading Program in San Diego which recently celebrated its 15th year anniversary.

• Received countless awards for her contributions to the community including “Sonara Day in San Diego” proclaimed by the San Diego City Council, and Citizen of the month by Former Congressman Bob Filner, just to name a couple.

• Created a National Healing Music Project which was sent to the Obama Administration.

• Working on a book entitled, Music is my Medicine.

• Lives by the philosophy, “the more we invest now into the lives of others, the less we’ll be required to pay later”.