Tunnel of Oppression offers UA students experiential learning, aims to build empathy
Briana Sanchez / Arizona Daily Wildcat
ASUA hosts Tunnel of Oppression, taking viewers through several different types of oppression including a disability, genocide, and a tunnel of hope in the Grand Ballroom at the student union Feb. 11. ASUA held the event for the first time single handedly but for the third year at UA.
A Tunnel of Oppression event allowed students to experience and empathize with those struggling with oppression Monday night.
The beginning of the Tunnel of Oppression tour commenced with a group of participants standing in a line holding hands side by side. Depending on answers to “yes or no” questions asked by the tour guide, participants would take a step either forward or backward.
The point of the exercise was to show that everyone comes from different backgrounds and can hold different beliefs.
Following the first exercise, participants were guided through rooms located on the third floor of the Student Union Memorial Center. Attendees learned of controversial topics regarding oppression in today’s society. They traveled through dimly lit rooms where speakers gave personal and moving testimonies, watched a video educating on the horrors of the Holocaust and witnessed pictures and skits that emphasized the struggles fellow peers battle with every day.
“I just think a lot of people are not exposed to a lot of types of oppression,” said Alexandra Gates, a public health freshman. “They’re not aware of the variety of them. I think it’s a good way to introduce different types of oppression.”
The interactive event allowed students from various cultural backgrounds and social upbringing to share an experience together in the hopes of finding common ground. The two-day event hosted by ASUA involved many volunteers, actors, actresses, and facilitators to guide attendees through a tour lasting about an hour and a half.
The tour consisted of the reenactment of many topics of oppression experienced on the UA campus. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and transgender discrimination were a few just topics discussed.
“Here, we’re able to address the ignorance,” said Fabian De La Cruz, an intern for the ASUA Diversity Center and a biochemistry sophomore. “What you don’t know, you usually fear.”
Marina Shalabi, intern for ASUA Diversity Center and senior studying political science and Near Eastern studies, said she expects 370 to 400 students will attend.
“I’m sure that it will definitely touch some people and it will inspire some people and … that’s better than nothing,” said Angelica Ceniceros, a graduate student studying aerospace engineering.
For more coverage, see the photo gallery from the Tunnel of Oppression Monday night.