The “Tunnel of Oppression” educated students about oppression, discrimination, and social justice. The goal of the event was to expose participants to various forms of oppression and the impact it has on individuals, as well as connect participants to UCF and local resources. Participants were guided through a series of mixed media scenes that each portrayed one example of how oppression may be experienced. The event included electronic media and acting performances on topics of: racism, hazing, accessibility, heterosexism, intimate partner violence and gender identity.
In one immersive scene, audience members were invited to see the importance of understanding gender identity and the challenges that transgender people face on a daily basis through a short scene showing a transgender man being excluded by a team captain. In another scene, a YouTube video exposed the rant of a college-aged girl who generalized against Asian-Americans at her university. To depict the pain and fear that comes from intimate partner violence, Kendall Josey performed a self-written spoken word piece.
Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive, as multiple people expressed their appreciation of the experience. Ursula Recarte, an actor in this year’s gender identity scene, stated, “this event is so important. I even noticed, on my way here, that people treated me differently and looked at me strangely because I was dressed in men’s clothing. It was an experience that showed me how important all of this is.”
After audiences completed the tunnel, they were invited to enter the debriefing room that allowed for conversation and processing about the different oppressed communities. Participants actively engaged in the conversation about oppression, power, and privilege and shared that they were exposed to types of oppression that they never thought of.
All participants that came through this year’s Tunnel of Oppression were able to see the experiences of others in a new perspective that invited understanding, compassion, and empathy. This year’s event was spearheaded by Student Development and Enrollment Services’ Office of Social Justice and Advocacy with assistance from a campus planning committee, which resulted in over 400 people attending the event.