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The Tunnel of Oppression exhibit at IUPUI shines spotlight on social injustices

November 15, 2016

IUPUI began producing the interactive Tunnel of Oppression exhibit in the spring of 2014, after a resident assistant brought the idea to Amanda Bonilla, the assistant director of Social Justice Education. Since its inception in 2014, the Tunnel of Oppression at IUPUI has been experienced by more than 1,300 students, faculty and staff and expanded from a one-day, eight-hour event to a three-day event running for 28 total hours. It is produced by Social Justice Education’s student scholars, resident assistants, and other dedicated students and staff on IUPUI’s campus.

The program is designed to increase participants’ awareness of various forms of oppression and see its effects on IUPUI students. Via the Tunnel, students are able to give voice to personal stories and the issues they are passionate about through videos, skits, monologues and other creative presentation forms.

“The biggest impact I see from hosting the Tunnel of Oppression over the last few years is that the students who design, perform or volunteer in the event feel a sense of empowerment from the program, and the participants who go through the Tunnel increase their awareness, understanding and empathy for social injustices in our society,” said Bonilla.

Mark your calendars for the second week of November 2017, when the Tunnel of Oppression will return to IUPUI for its fifth year.

The first room in this unique exhibit was called the "Center of Hope." Signs were placed across the Campus Center directing people there.

Display showing a

The Center of Hope featured five displays showing the differences between "then" and "now" of different areas around what is now IUPUI. See larger version of picture.

Each display had an accompanying whiteboard where people could answer a thought-provoking question about social justice

Each of the five displays had an accompanying whiteboard where people could answer a thought-provoking question.

A volunteer leads a group to the next part

After the Center of Hope, visitors were led to another location in the Campus Center for more.

A tunnel with various slurs written in it

To reach the next area, visitors went through a literal "tunnel of oppression." On the walls of this tunnel were written various insults and slurs.

Islamophobia

The next presentations were either live action, performed by volunteer actors, or previously recorded and shown on screens. Topics included Islamophobia, LGBTQ discrimination, the Flint water crisis, misogyny, immigration and mental illness.

woman wiping tear from her face

Many attendees became emotional in response to the subject matter.

Visitors watch a presentationVisitors watch one of the live-action presentations.

PHOTOS BY LIZ KAYE, IU COMMUNICATIONS

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