Today: Jul 23, 2024

Tunnel of Oppression shows new light to SCSU

Jamila Young | Photo Courtesy Images shown about how women are beautiful in all sizes.

Jamila Young – Staff Writer

When a person or group in a position of power controls the less powerful in cruel and unfair ways, it is called oppression. The ballroom of the Student Center portrayed this as black curtains formed a pathway of different rooms with presentations for the Tunnel of Oppression event.

Jamila Young | Photo Courtesy
Words that were shown to see the impact they have on people.

Maayra Nieves, a senior public health and theater major and worker for the Women’s Center, helped put the event together and explained what happens in the tunnel.

“It is a program representing different oppressions around the world. Students tour through the tunnel, and we make them as uncomfortable as possible, as if they’re being oppressed,” said Nieves. “Each room of the tour is a different oppression, and students are welcome to leave if they feel uncomfortable.”

Nieves also explained the process for creating the Tunnel of Oppression.

Jamila Young | Photo Courtesy
Images shown about how women are beautiful in all sizes.

“Each room comes up with their own presentation and it has to get approved by the director of the Women’s Center,” said Nieves.

Nieves said her theater major is an asset to her being in the Tunnel of Oppression.

“There are some acting and still lives, where you just look at the room,” said Nieves. “I love acting and educating people on different oppressions.”

According to the website of the Grassroots Policy Project, a movement that assists organizations with developing grassroots for social transformation, there are five faces of oppression.

Exploitation is a type of oppression that has to do with the difference between the wealth that workers gain with their labor power and the actual wages that workers get paid because employers want to increase profits by lowering wages. When people are unable to maintain a steady job because of various roadblocks such as, disabilities, education levels, age, poverty, etc., they are experiencing an oppression known as marginalization.

The other types of oppression are powerlessness, cultural dominance, and violence. These consist of lacking an authority to act, saying that one culture is more superior than another instead of seeing them as having equal value, and acts of violence occurring because of a person’s race, beliefs, background, or actions.

Ebony McClease, the coordinator of the event, said that the Tunnel of Oppression was not an easy task to put together, but she received help from the Southern community.

“It took energy and time, a really long time; months,” said McClease. “People volunteered to help; we got help from counseling services.”

McClease, a student worker for the Women’s Center, was an actor in the Tunnel of Oppression.

“I put together a two-minute theatrical trailer,” said McClease. “I’m acting as a mean person, in the room that is about words, and how they affect people.”

McClease decided to coordinate the event because she said she had previous experience with putting the event together.

“My alma madder, Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, pushed social justice,” said McClease. “I was on the planning committee for the tunnel of oppression there, and I started it up at Southern.”

McClease said that people were really into the subject at her old school, and it didn’t seem the same at Southern.

“People cared at my old school,” said McClease. “Social justice is not as important in Southern.”

McClease said that she hopes the event has an impact on the Southern community.

“You hope and pray people leave and say there are things they don’t think are right,” said McClease. “The material was sad; I cried when I watched the stuff I made.”

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