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"Not Going Back" emerged on a drive through the desert near the California-Mexico border


[Editor's note: Mary Lou Fulton is a program director at The California Endowment. She also sings in a choir and is a songwriter. She wrote "Not Going Back" to be an anthem for social change, which includes the ACEs science movement.]

The idea for "Not Going Back" came to me as I was driving through the desert after a visit to my hometown of Yuma, Arizona, which borders both Mexico and California. I heard yet another story on the radio about people at a rally saying we should return to the ‘good old days’ and began thinking about what that really meant. I thought of what life used to be like for women, for immigrants like my mom and many others who have struggled for their rights. So I started writing down ideas that became verses that eventually turned into a song.

There’s so much fear in the world, and nostalgia for a so-called simpler time is being used to tap into our fears and divide us. "Not Going Back" is about calling out that strategy and rising above it, as so many have before us. Music has always played an important role in bringing people together for social change. My hope is that "Not Going Back" will be sung at rallies, in churches and wherever people come together to call for a more just world.

I also have a web site,, with more information about me and the song. There, you can send a video link singing "Not Going Back" to be posted to the video gallery (and you can post it on, too). You can add your own verse or rap, and you can download free sheet music of "Not Going Back" to play on piano, guitar, vocal or to sing with a choir.

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Hi, Mary Lou:
What blessed gift you have! Your poignant song, "I Don't Think So", is inspirational! Thank you for the words, the depth of meaning, and the powerful images you chose to reflect the magnitude of your song.

Please know I'll be sharing widely with friends and colleagues.

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