Tunnel Sheds Light On Oppression

By UM News

Tunnel Sheds Light On Oppression

By UM News
Interactive exhibit raises awareness about issues surrounding racism, religion, climate change, human trafficking, and more.

A wall covered with photos of transgender women of color who have been murdered in the past year. A poster displaying a United Nations statistic that says as many as 4 million men, women, and children are sold into slavery each year. An illustration showing what sea level rise will do to buildings in Miami. And a black and white photo of human remains discovered at a Nazi concentration camp.

Those are among some of the disturbing images and facts on display inside the Tunnel of Oppression, an interactive exhibit on the third floor of the University of Miami’s Shalala Student Center that raises awareness about issues such as race, gender identification, human trafficking, and climate change.

Students, faculty, and staff who tour the exhibit are guided through a series of nine themed rooms designed to educate and challenge people to think more deeply about issues that impact society.

“We get so caught up in our campus bubble sometimes that we forget what’s happening in the real world,” said Saskia Groenewald, a student assistant at the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development and co-chair of the committee that organized this year’s Tunnel of Oppression. “That’s why we made the theme of this exhibit Headlines, to focus more attention on what’s happening today.”

UM President Julio Frenk, the son of German-Jewish immigrants who fled to Mexico to escape the persecution of Nazi Germany, and his wife, Dr. Felicia Knaul, whose father was a Holocaust survivor, toured the tunnel on Tuesday with a group of students.

Frenk called the exhibit a “powerful experience” and applauded the students who organized it, saying their efforts help raise awareness about harsh realities.

As many as 800 students will tour the exhibit, an official event of UM’s presidential inauguration week, during its three-day run, according to Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Whitely. Tours, which are given from 4 to 10 p.m., will run through Wednesday, January 27.