The University of Central Florida’s Department Social Justice and Advocacy held an interactive social justice event in the student union Friday called “the tunnel of oppression.”
Upon entering the tunnel, students were brought into multiple rooms that focused on many current events that are prevalent in the world today. Some of these issues include the Flint Michigan water crisis, Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, and the Dakota Access pipeline. In these rooms, students were presented with facts about the situation and then encouraged to reflect on the issue.
“They presented the issues in a very centrist viewpoint,” UCF student Ian Hunt said.
“They never said who was right or wrong in any of the situations. I really liked that they weren’t biased, they just talked about what the issues were.”
Hunts experience was the goal intended by the Social Justice and Advocacy Director, Edwanna Andrews.
“I feel like social justice sometimes can be a dirty word, and I felt like some people can feel some type of way about it,” Andrews said.
After the current event portion, students were invited to participate in an activity to see just what type of privileges they have. This activity did not focus on the common privileges’ such as race, sex, or religion, though; instead, its focus was on opportunity privileges that people have.
According to Andrews, “Privilege has evolved.”
“Privilege is a little more complex than when Peggy McIntosh came out with her invisible nap sack back in the 60s and 70s. So as society has evolved privilege has become more complex and it’s a paradox. Privilege depends on the spaces and the places you occupy,” Andrews said.
Following the activity, students were brought into another location where the focus was on women and how they’re portrayed in society. In this area, students were asked to write down words that have limited them on makeshift blocks.
UCF student Sierra Scott really liked this part of the tunnel and took this opportunity to voice her feelings about a name she’s been called her entire life.
“I wrote too dramatic on the box because I have been hearing that since I was little,” Scott said.
After writing down what limited her, she and other women proceeded to knock down the wall of blocks and felt empowered.
According to their website, the goal of the Department Social Justice and Advocacy on campus is, “to promote an equitable campus environment where all are assured that diversity, in its many forms, is valued.”
Along with Social justice week, Andrews and her department put on an event called the “Conscious Thought Café” every third Tuesday of the month in the Student Union room 207. These events are put on to create an open dialogue for students to discuss social issues.
Knight News was told the tunnel of oppression could not be filmed, and we are currently waiting on the Department of Social Justice and Advocacy to send us the script used during the event. Knight News will update the article with the transcripts once we receive them.