Are you drowning? The start of the school year can be stressful for parents, teachers and students. And this summer hasn’t been smooth sailing for many of us either — with extreme temperatures, a global pandemic and other crises. How do we take a breath? Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ UNDROWNED: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, draws on the practices of marine mammals — they are the experts, after all, in not drowning. (The harbor seal can slow its breath to about four beats per minute!) The book landed her the prestigious 2022 Whiting Prize for nonfiction, and now she is working on a biography of Audre Lorde. Plus, she is bringing people together through Soul Sanctuary, retreats that center a Black, feminist and queer vision. Join Laura and Gumbs for a conversation on how we can all practice “another way to breathe.”
“This is an offering towards evolution, towards our evolution, towards the possibility that instead of continuing the trajectory of slavery, entrapment, separation, and domination, and making our atmosphere unbreakable, we might instead practice another way to breathe.” – Alexis Pauline Gumbs
“The context of undrowning, breathing in unbreathable circumstances is what we do every day, in the choke hold of racial, gendered, ableist capitalism. We are still undrowning. And by we, I don’t only mean people like myself whose ancestors specifically survive the middle passage.” – Alexis Pauline Gumbs
- Alexis Pauline Gumbs: Author, Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, 2022 Whiting Foundation Winner Nonfiction
Portions of this interview are featured in our episode “Survival Guide for Humans Learned from Marine Mammals with Alexis Pauline Gumbs”.