LA PARKER: TRENTONIAN, FEBRUARY 2, 2012

Things are not always as they may seem.

Take for instance the 1979 smash hit “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by Gene McFadden and John Whitehead.

The song became an anthem for African-American progress in the United States when actually the music dynamic duo penned the song after legendary music men Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff finally gave McFadden and Whitehead an opportunity to become performers.

Now let’s segue to Trenton, where everyone seems up in arms about another spate of violence, including a gun battle on Route 29 that claimed the life of 23-year-old Daquan Dowling.

If we still lived in album days, oh how I love that scratchy sound of 33 RPMs, this would be where the needle drags across the record.

While violence riles, rants and rivets us, frequently it’s better to look away from the human wreckage to areas where hope springs everlasting, love flourishes, peace whispers and positive thoughts abound.

Lately, my journey places me in the calm eye of a hurricane owning an eye of the tiger attitude, laid up on a bed filled with goose down pillows and tripping about wonderful things occurring in Trenton.

For instance, committees are being formed to produce the city’s second annual Trenton African American Pride Festival at Cadwalader Park.

Our organization attracted thousands during a beautiful day in August 2011. This time around we intend to celebrate an entire week, beginning on Aug. 12 with a kickoff event followed by a week of seminars that include information that can deliver immediate help.

Residents can expect information about criminal record expungement, getting out from under domestic violence and financial issues such as starting a bank account or buying a home.

Yes, we will end with another major party with music, entertainment and food, but our event will improve the quality of life for Trenton residents.

Interested supporters can attend our next meeting on Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel. A special thanks to everyone who contributed last year and returned for another year.

We acted like a perfect family, fought, criticized, shouted, loved and nearly everyone stuck. Big love for all members.

I can tell you that another group that includes Campfire USA, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Christine’s Hope for Kids, What Kind of Mark Will You Make? and Trenton Housing Authority will host a “Paint Party” at Donnelly Homes on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Free snacks will be provided, as will an opportunity for kids to paint on gigantic canvases, learn about bullying, laugh and run around.

We are coming to you with love, support and a message that we care deeply about your safety, lives and future.

Trenton Central High School Principal Mark Maurice is organizing a diverse group of students to participate in a cleanup of Columbus Park with Elissa Horan’s Care Trenton effort, while Emily Fisher Charter School President Dallas Dixon expects to create a group of students who intend to make a difference in their Chestnut Avenue neighborhood.

Legions of people who believe in other people are being formed, seeds are being sown while rescues of youth trapped by addiction are underway thanks to organizations like City of Angels.

All my love and support for people like Kevin and Maryann Meara, Kelli Nitti and COA Executive Director Joy Tozzi. We are family.

This may sound like an Academy Award acceptance speech but thanks to Stacey Heading and Bishop Earl Jenkins of True Servant Worship and Praise Ministries and all the work you do with young men.

No telling where Trenton would be without Isles, Inc. headed by Marty and Liz Johnson. Their YouthBuild initiative positively changes lives.

Congratulations to UIH Family Partners, which on Thursday announced it had received a $150,000 New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI): Community Agency Capacity Enhancement grant from Robert Wood Johnson, a gift that will help expand its “Strengthening Families by Strengthening Fathers” initiative.

Come on Trenton. We cannot allow a few people or negative minds to hold us back.

Ain’t No Stopping Us Now or tomorrow.

(Let me know if you, an organization, or church are making a contribution to improving Trenton).

L.A. Parker is a Trentonian columnist. Reach him at laparker@Trentonian.com.