The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.  Richard Bach

Donald W. Williams II was not surprised on May 25, 2020, but filled with shock, pain, and anger as he witnessed the murder of George Floyd in South Minneapolis.  Williams talked about the George Floyd murder and the subsequent Derek Chauvin conviction in a recent interview on Conversations with Al McFarlane on KFAI, 90.3FM, Minneapolis. His comments set the stage for a McFarlane family discussion on the uprising that ensued and on the pandemic that was underway globally.

McFarlane thanked Williams for bearing witness to the horrific event, and for his willingness to testify in the state’s trial of the accused killer and his fellow police officers. McFarlane asked Williams to describe what it meant to sit on that witness stand, be as courageous as he was, and tell the true story about what he saw.

Williams said he was not intimidated or discouraged.  His parents taught him the value of being a positive role model and giving back. He said he learned discipline as a soldier in the US military.  Williams is a father, a professional mixed martial arts fighter, entrepreneur, and community activist.

The show, which airs Tuesdays at 1pm, was exceptional because it brought McFarlane family members into the discussion, some from the U.S. and from around the world, some having never met each other. 

For native Londoner, Sharon June McFarlane, the George Floyd murder and uprisings reminded her of the Rodney King riots in America in the 90s when the police were acquitted after almost brutally killing their victim. 

“Since people were confined to their homes because of the pandemic lockdowns, more people saw Floyd take his last breath.  More whites were speechless and frustrated and wanted something to be done,” she said.  “But remember, Great Britain was the best colonizer ever.  It’s difficult for the English to acknowledge their history.  Institutions such as Lloyds of London and supposedly the Tate Galleries became monetary dynasties thanks to their participation in the stain of slavery.  The seaport city Bristol was a major player in the transporting of enslaved people from Africa to England to the Caribbean. Now, there’s a less blatant form of racism here, but Backs can always pick up the clues.”

Bostonian Imani McFarlane, in reaction to the painful murder of George Floyd said, “Finally, you see for yourself.  We’re not just complaining!” 

Imani McFarlane, a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, entrepreneur, fashion designer, co-owner of “Safari Wraps”, is also Yorba priestess, Rastafarian, and self-described citizen of the universe. She said at issue are classism and colorism mixed in this historic evil. 

Delmisha Haynes, Imani’s daughter, reached out to Al McFarlane.  She had seen his picture and name on Facebook and knew he had to somehow be related.  “It is often Divinity that drives us all to each other,” Haynes said. “I am working on healing myself, and I hope soon, other family members will do the same.  I do know who I am.  We really do need each other.  Since the COVID pandemic, I have returned to Boston and have re-connected with my mother as a friend, mentor, and business partner.”

Danni Golden’s father was a McFarlane.  She never got a real opportunity to know him or his side of the family as he transitioned quite young.  She is ten-year-old, Jada’s mom, Marcus Scott’s (Bitterman) partner, and a singer/songwriter. Her stage name is Clarq. 

Reflecting on George Floyd’s murder 18 months ago, Golden said, “What happened for all to see struck a nerve because it was so real and so up close.  There was such an outcry from those who weren’t us.  Our lives simply stopped and then we were also right in the beginning of this pandemic ravaging our world.  I started examining my own inner circle.   How comfortable are you where you are?  Do all your friends look like you?  Division is evil.  We must work to stamp out marginalization and stop allowing this trauma of racism to carry on generation after generation.  Unification. Being up for battle. Standing for truth, and holding on to our faith…  that’s what it’s going to take.”

Mills College is a private women’s liberal arts academic institution in Oakland, CA.  Jillian Mosley, another McFarlane cousin, works there as a special program manager and is currently finishing up her master studies in educational administration.  Mosley said she works to build community, diversity, and inclusion - striving to close the gaps that have festered and remained ignored for decades.  “This is Oakland,” she said, “and the protests were and have always been quite intense.  We also had a lot of loss from COVID.  Minneapolis is my home.  I love the city.  But like so many places, there’s this niceness and naïve belief that if you don’t use the ‘N’ word, that makes you okay.  It’s pervasive.  Let’s be truthful. Nowadays, they even say it out loud.”  Mosley said that America must have a wide range of conversations that acknowledge and act on changing the bitter truth -- that colonialism is alive and well.       

I fell in love with Earth Kry from the first time I heard “Tables Turn”.  The creativity in the video accompanying the reggae sound always lifted my spirits, and I found myself bouncing and moving my feet behind my desk even as I used my gift of creativity and words to write.

Al McFarlane said his young cousin Phil McFarlane, is ‘\living in a space of pure art, spirit, and action that embodies creativity. “There’s a fearlessness in him as he continues to believe that change is possible.  Through his music and his voice, he establishes what he wants to see in the world.” 

EarthKry’s lyrics are like an anthem: “One day, one day, children, we will watch as the tables turn.  There will be no more rich.  No more poor.  There will be no more racial war.  We’ll build bridges, no more walls.  And the world will be as one.”

Phil McFarlane said colonization remains the root of the different struggles he sees daily in his home of Jamaica.  Ironically when Earth Kry goes on tours on the US, most of their audiences are white.  “I try not to get emotional about skin colorism and classism.  My messages are in my music.  I concentrate on learning and supplementing with what I can do so we are not so dependent on the gate keepers.  We have a farm and are growing our own food.  We also have a center for the children,” he said.

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