Urban Wilderness Project ™

Working for justice at the intersection of gender, ethnicity and environment.

Womxn and Whales First, Poetry in a Climate of Change.

Seattle Civic poet Jourdan Keith seeks 6 participants to join with her to create a BIPOC community and public art through poetry. On Tuesdays December 22 through January 12. Like Orcas, we survive because we teach ourselves how to do so. During this season when people are particularly vulnerable to the harms of isolation we will gather in our virtual living room to commune and write poetry about womxn and whales.

As Black, Indigenous, People of Color, (especially LGBTQ cis and transgender womxn), many of us understand what it means to have our grief publically displayed in order raise awareness and move towards justice.

Like J35, the Orca whale who carried her dead child for 17 days while the eyes of the world wept, Mamie Till held her child Emmett up for an astounded world to see. Now, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn are being held up by their tribes to put a stop to the violence. For me, children taken from their parents triggers ancestral memories of captured and enslaved children torn from their families.

The Bainbridge Island Museum shows photos in one room of Japanese citizens rounded up and forced by Executive Order into internment camps and in the adjacent room, the story of Orcas rounded up and captured for sea circuses despite the cries and fight of our now endangered Southern resident whales whose family members were taken. Now, two Lummi women are suing the National Marine Fisheries Service and Miami Seaquarium for the return of Tokitae. The last living Orca held in captivity for 50 years was taken from her family, the Lummi people and the endangered Orca pod. Tokitae’s mother Ocean Sun (L25, 83 years old), and her entire L-pod family of 35 Orcas are still alive.

Similar to these BIPOC histories, 2020 has shown us the intersectionality of our social and natural ecosystems and the way they harm vulnerable people, their families and communities. None of this news is new, nor is it poetry.

𝐄𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐖𝐨𝐦𝐱𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐄𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐲𝐞𝐭 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐲.

As Black Indigenous Womxn of Color in Seattle, we share the urban wilderness of the Salish Sea with the endangered Killer Whales, and our bodies face the same cumulative risks of environmental toxins and the harms of objectification, yet we both survive and are revived by the cumulative benefits of matrilineal wisdom, tradition and community. Our brilliance and wellness is entwined with the need for healthy and protected social and natural ecosystems.

Join with Seattle Civic Poet Jourdan Imani Keith and six others to create poetry that shows the world how protecting endangered womxn will protect endangered whales. We will write poems beyond the headlines.

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