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Community Reads: Fall 2021 | Wellbeing

A guide to the Community Reads program at UWB/CC Campus Library

Fall 2021: "Undrowned: Black Feminists Lessons from Marine Mammals" | Alexis Pauline Gumbs

"We, too, on land are often navigating contexts that seem impossible for us to breathe in, and yet we must. The adaptations that marine mammals have made in relationship to breathing are some of the most relevant for us to observe, not only in relationship to our survival in an atmosphere we have polluted on a planet where we are causing the ocean to rise, but also in relationship to our intentional living, our mindful relation to each other."

-Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Undrowned, p.21

As our campus and our world navigates an uncertain return to an uncertain "normal" in the current stages of the pandemic that has held us all in its grip for over a year now, we are all dealing with personal, societal, and global trauma inflicted by a year of grief and an unjust world. For our Fall 2021 programming, the Community Reads team intends to dive into Undrowned by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, a collection of meditations inspired by marine mammals, to seek ways we can all breathe easier, individually and together. Our readings this quarter will be the meditations breathe and go deep. Using these meditations, along with prompts inspired by the writing, we invite you to join us in reflective, creative responses to our reading in a contribution to a community art piece dedicated to learning to breathe in the troubled waters that surround us. Stop by the Library Information Desk to get a free copy of the book. While supplies last!

Community Art & Wellbeing

Our Fall 2021 programming is meant to support reflection, process, and well-being through activities guided by the reading. Instead of gathering in person, we hope to build community through sharing creations born of a common reading experience. Our online gallery website provides access to the readings, as well as a series of prompts. We encourage you to respond to the prompts, readings, or whatever you need right now in any form you would like, and submit your creations to us digitally through that site. The platform allows us to form a digital "gallery" of art, writing, and other creations inspired by this work.

Start participating in our programming and sharing your creations by visiting our online gallery website. The About page is a gentle introduction to the site and this quarter's programming.

Access the eBook through UW Libraries

Access in other ways

Buy the book at Third Place Books or the University Bookstore

Listen to a breathe mediation through Marine Mammal Meditations, a collaboration between Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Toshi Reagon.

Additional Resources

Please feel free to explore this curated list of related resources from the CR Team

If the kinds of meditation and reflection exercises in Undrowned appealed to you, you'll be interested in Dr. Kristen Neff's meditations for self-compassion.

Related Events



                                                                                                                Campus Remembrance Event, Tue., Oct. 5, 3:30-4:30 p.m., The Plaza

This community gathering and healing event will provide support as we hold our grief, losses and hopes simultaneously. It will be a time to move from our isolation and grieving alone toward community support. We will honor our losses as we also hold the hope and joy for our future. Together, we will create a path forward. Brought to you by: The Counseling Center, First Year & Pre-Major Program and the Health and Wellness Resource Center, led by Rosemary Simmons, director of Counseling, Health & Wellness.

Remembrance Rock Garden, Tue., Oct. 19, 3:30-4:30 p.m., The Promenade

Join us as we create a tribute to memorialize the past 20 months. It will be displayed throughout autumn quarter as a place to make connections, to have a moment of silence or simply to admire the spirit of our community. You can contribute to the Rock Garden by bringing a rock from home or painting a rock during one of the workshops listed below.  Brought to you by: The Counseling Center, First Year & Pre-Major Program and the Health and Wellness Resource Center, led by Rosemary Simmons, director of Counseling, Health & Wellness.

Rock Painting workshops

Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1-3:30 p.m., at ARC Overlook (hosted by Social Justice Organizers)

Monday, Oct. 11, 1:30-3:30 p.m., in ARC-110 (hosted by Health Educators Reaching Out)

Virtual Community Circle - "My Grandmother's Hands" (ebook), Register by October 25

On October 28 the UW community is invited to remember the relatives we are still losing to the pandemic of Covid and racism, acknowledge  the collective trauma we are still experiencing, and gather together to highlight lessons we have learned in the past 20 months and integrate them into our work as professionals in population health and higher education. A Zoom link will be sent to you before the event. Sponsored by Population Health Initiative, the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, Race & Equity Initiative, and the School of Public Health Office of the Dean.

Community Reads Team Contacts

Contact members of the team via email with questions, comments, or concerns:

Fall Quarter Reading

Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs. E-book available in the UW Libraries catalog. UW NetID required for access (for Cascadia community members who do not have a NetID, please visit the CC Computing Services NetID website to get started).

Specific meditations:
two: breathe
fifteen: go deep

About the Reading

Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a series of meditations inspired by marine mammals using information from scientific guidebooks, Indigenous history, and a poet's perspective. Alexis Pauline Gumbs connects the behaviors and bodies of whales, dolphins, seals, and other marine mammals to lessons we can learn to live in and struggle against an unjust world. The book encourages us to recognize that we are in relationship with these mammals, as well as with one another - to recognize the ways that disconnect and injustice have hurt so many different parts of our world. It provides lessons and encouragement to struggle against that injustice, but also to hold ourselves, one another, and our world close. The meditations breathe and go deep, this quarter's readings, focus on how to survive in difficult conditions, how to keep breathing in a hostile world, and how to love ourselves and the world through it all.

About the Author

"Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings. Her work in this lifetime is to facilitate infinite, unstoppable ancestral love in practice... Alexis’s co-edited volume Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines (PM Press, 2016) has shifted the conversation on mothering, parenting and queer transformation. Alexis has transformed the scope of intellectual, creative and oracular writing with her triptych of experimental works published by Duke University Press (Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity in 2016, M Archive: After the End of the World in 2018 and Dub: Finding Ceremony, 2020.)." Alexis has worked in many different movements, projects, and journals, and her work is always "grounded in a community building ethic."

Gumbs, A. "Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs."

Contribute to our Online Gallery

Share Your Creation(s) with the Campus Community

Use our online gallery website to view the readings, prompts, and program instructions. Then respond to the prompts through creative expression (like painting, drawing, writing, sculpture, collage, photography, digital art, audio, video, the list goes on). You can then "Share" your creation by uploading it to the site (accepted file types will be listed). It will be posted to our online gallery with the rest of the creations by our campus community members to create a collective art piece dedicated to learning how to take a breath in the turbulent waters we find ourselves in. We appreciate your participation in community building around Wellbeing. UW and Cascadia College students, faculty, and staff are all encouraged to dive in and participate. If you have questions, please contact any one of our Community Reads Team members. We’ll see you in our collective community art!