Tunnel of Oppression Raises Awareness of Social Injustices

Posted: October 31, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Christopher Anzalone

George Mason’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services (ODPS) will present the “Tunnel of Oppression: From Civil Wrongs to Civic Rights,” an award-winning multisensory, multimedia presentation experience, Nov. 15-16 in the Johnson Center Dewberry Hall.

The Tunnel of Oppression has participants walk through a series of 15 scenarios that present a variety of social ills, including racism, elitism, violence, ageism, sexism and substance abuse. The tunnel is designed to impart an understanding of issues of social injustice and discrimination, as well as provide people with a forum for discussion, understanding and dialogue.

“This coalition-building event encourages a university-wide spirit toward embracing collaboration, volunteerism and diversity,” says Kimberly Saunders, ODPS acting director. The tunnel originated at Indiana University and is now presented across the United States. Saunders has coordinated other tunnel presentations at secondary and postsecondary academic institutions.

“I want everyone to walk away from this event with an increased awareness surrounding social injustices in our nation and an empowered spirit to become agents of change through their own civic engagement,” Saunders says.

A new addition to this year’s tunnel experience will be the civic action fair at the end of the walking tour, which will provide information on university and local resources related to interpersonal understanding and cooperation, self-improvement and civic participation.

Individuals or groups of 8-12 interested in experiencing the Tunnel of Oppression are strongly encouraged to call the ODPS to reserve a timeslot, as space is limited. Times can be reserved at 20-minute intervals from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 15, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 16. The entire presentation, which is free, will take about one hour.

To volunteer or to register, call the ODPS at 703 993-2700. For more information on the event, visit the web site.

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