When I visited the Kogi Indigenous Tribe of Colombia in 2014, I was moved by the stories
the elders shared with me. They discussed their history on the sacred lands we stood upon, explained their connection with nature and demonstrated the customs of their daily life. They also warned that our shared world was changing rapidly, and not in a good way.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t have been more right.
While climate change ravages the earth as advocates fight hard to lessen — or at least delay — its outcomes, all across the globe we’re also fighting a deadly pandemic. Sadly, among the hardest hit by Covid-19 are the Indigenous tribes and river people who live in the Amazon. The lack of access to medical and sanitation resources coupled with inadequate communication about how the virus spreads has created a perfect storm of infections and grief.
Thanks to the kindness of Alexi Callinicos and family, The White Feather Foundation was able to send $40,000 in immediate aid to two relevant organizations: the Amazon Conservation Team, and the Nevada Building Hope Foundation. They’re both working on programs that provide direct relief to the most vulnerable communities affected by the virus.
Now, we’re asking our TWFF supporters to make a donation to help us reach our total goal of $80,000. The situation is an emergency both for the loss of life and economic strain, but also for the cultural impacts. Oftentimes in Indigenous communities, the elders carry with them the history and language of their people. Because this virus is known to impact older citizens more severely, elders are at a greater risk, as are the tribes’ peaceful ways of life. I urge you to make a donation in any amount, as every little bit helps.
The Morning Tribe
A few weeks ago we announced my next book, The Morning Tribe, which is a graphic novel for middle-grade kids. The story, which I developed with my co-author Bart Davis, has synchronicity with life today as the main characters, an Indigenous brother and sister, spend a lot of time protecting their land in the Amazon. The book will be released next year and you can find more details about it on our blog.
In the meantime, you can entertain younger environmentalists by heading over to the Activities section of our website. There, you’ll find step-by-step crafts based on my children’s book trilogy related to Reforestation, Conservation, and Sanitation.
Our Charity Partners in Africa
With the dangerous ripple effect of Covid-19 now reaching Africa, our team has been checking in with our partners across the continent to see how everyone is doing. Not surprisingly, each group is working tirelessly to help the communities they serve.
At Studio Samuel, an emergency campaign was launched to help caregivers in Ethiopia get basic necessities. They also have a Buy One, Give One special in their shop that donates liquid soap to the affected community with each bar purchased.
The Cura Orphanage in Kenya also launched an immediate campaign to provide for students displaced by the cancellation of school classes through the end of this year. Funds raised will be used to buy care kits with food and sanitation supplies for the families hosting them.
The team at Mothers of Africa is spending their time helping the local hospital reopen and coordinating a project for a women’s sewing group to make much-needed masks for the community. They’ve also resumed fundraising for the Zambia Nursery School Campaign that we launched in December, but had paused earlier this year due to the pandemic.
Climb Aboard the Merry-Go-Round
As summer sets in, I hope everyone is taking a few moments to breathe and relax away from life’s demands — I know that’s not always easy. I hope sharing my latest project with you may help.
In recent weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in a special show with Mix Delirium for Radio Kaos in Italy called The Merry-Go-Round Episodes. In each episode, I read passages from works of literature set to eclectic music, past and present. Some say the vibe is soothing and I hope that’s your experience if you have a listen. Each episode is now available in one easy-to-access, free playlist for your convenience.
Listen to the first nine episodes on my website or my YouTube page.
Looking Forward to August
On Monday, I’m participating in a benefit to help the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation and Live Nation’s Crew Nation campaign, which raises funds for touring and music-venue crews that have been impacted by the shutdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ll perform Radiohead’s “Karma Police” alongside Nuno Bettencourt on At Home and Social with Nuno Bettencourt & Friends, which airs on AXS TV, Monday, August 3rd at 8:00 p.m. EST.
Be sure to stay tuned via our social pages for The White Feather Foundation updates, as we’ll be expanding the Children’s Activities section on our website with some interactive games, adding more TWFF merchandise to the shop and posting a few surprises along the way …
Photo credit: Kogi Tribe/Colombia #2, 2014 by Julian Lennon. To see his entire Kogi Tribe/Colombia collection, visit julianlennon-photography.com.
To experience over 9,000 of Julian’s images, follow his account @julespicturepalace on Instagram.