Immersed in Social Awareness

The Tunnel of Oppression exhibit on campus shows that tolerance is the light at the end of the tunnel.

By Renee Reneau
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 27, 2014) — Each room was a greater challenge than the last. Bombarded by sights, sounds, and live actors, everyone who visited the Tunnel of Oppression came face to face with some of the most pressing social justice issues of our time, including homophobia, religious discrimination, environmental degradation, and the fight against modern slavery.

From Monday through Wednesday in the UC Ballrooms at the University of Miami, Tunnel of Oppression volunteers led 30-minute tours through nine rooms that aimed to challenge people’s thoughts and perceptions about acts of oppression and hatred.

“By fully immersing visitors in this experience, we hope to raise awareness about different social justice issues to inspire students to take action against oppression,” said Meera Nagarsheth, co-chair of Tunnel of Oppression.

Tunnel of Oppression is a collaborative project among multiple UM student organizations. Each organization was matched with a room that deals with a staple issue of that organization.
No Zebras: Canes Against Sexual Assault created the room about sexual assault; while the new UM chapter of International Justice Mission tackled the human trafficking room.

“The video and pictures of missing people in the Human Trafficking room left the strongest impression on me,” said Alessandria San Roman, president-elect of Student Government. “Tunnel motivated me to keep an open mind, and to start thought-provoking dialogues about what I witnessed in the rooms.”

With hopes of building a more tolerant and integrated campus community, a lasting impression is the most important outcome of Tunnel.

“I still remember some of the things I learned last year,” said second-year Tunnel attendee Daniela Lorenzo. “Tunnel definitely makes you realize all of the issues out there and wires your mind to think about the world in a different way. I think that is extremely powerful—the fact that Tunnel can get you thinking long after you leave.”

This year’s Tunnel of Oppression was also sponsored by the William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development, College of Arts and Sciences, UM Housing and Residential Life, and the Sociology and Criminology Club.


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