It was the message he needed to confirm his father, Beatles singer-songwriter John Lennon, was alright.
- Posted on Sep 18, 2019
Growing up, Julian Lennon had to share his father, Beatles singer-songwriter John Lennon, with the world. The pair had a strained relationship that they never had a chance to fix. In 1980, when Julian was just 17 years old, John was murdered outside his New York City apartment building by a deranged gunman.
John’s death devastated Julian, but something his father said stayed with him. “Dad said to me should he pass away, if there was any way of letting me know he was going to be okay, the message would come to me in the form of a white feather,” he says. Julian hoped for this sign, but as time went by it seemed less and less likely.
Twenty-three years after his father’s death, Julian was touring with his own band in Australia. He noticed a large crowd of people in the hotel lobby. They weren’t fans, but the members of the aboriginal Mirning tribe. And they wanted to speak with him. The tribe’s leader explained that they’d been thrown off of their land. “You have a voice,” she said. “Will you speak for us?” Then, she handed him something. A white swan’s feather.
“The goosebumps hit, big time,” says Julian.
That day, Julian got more than an assurance that his father was alright. He got direction. “Having had the White Feather bestowed upon me, I knew this endeavor was to be part of my destiny,” says Julian.
The encounter inspired him to start the White Feather Foundation, named in honor of his father. At first, it served only to collect donations for the Mirning people, but it quickly grew into something more. Now, the Foundation provides emergency relief in the wake of natural disasters, like the earthquakes that recently hit Haiti and Ecuador. It helps people in developing areas get access to clean water, medical care and education. It also spreads awareness of conservation efforts for endangered animals and insects.
In short, the Foundation is all about making the world a better place. More like the one John Lennon had “Imagined” all those years ago.
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