February 07, 2020

Experience the impact of discrimination and oppression during Tunnel of Oppression tours

by Christi Mathis

Visitors to the Tunnel of Oppression at Southern Illinois University Carbondale Feb. 11-13 will experience for themselves the discrimination and injustice that some people encounter on a daily basis.

Participants will tour a series of connected rooms, each vividly portraying some form of oppression, prejudice, discrimination or exclusivity. Each year’s themes vary but previous events have focused on issues including cultural biases, religion, sexual orientation discrimination, drug abuse, race, gender, body image, child abuse and various other forms of oppression or discrimination.

Open to all

The event is set for 5:30 to 8:10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday on the lower level of Grinnell Hall. The tours last about an hour and a new tour starts about every 20 minutes. The last tour begins at 8:10 p.m. There is no cost and the public is welcome but reservations are required. In addition, due to the nature of the topics highlighted, organizers suggest that all who attend be at least age 17 or older.

Reserve a spot now

To reserve a spot, call 618/536-5505 or email jackalynn.mayfield@siu.edu. Or make an online reservation at www.housing.siu.edu/tunnel.

Participants should arrive at least 10-15 minutes prior to their designated tour time to confirm their reservation and secure their spots. Otherwise, those spots could be filled as each tour is limited to 15 visitors to ensure everyone has the best possible experience. Walk-in participants will be accommodated as space allows.

Individuals with disabilities are welcome; call 618/453-5738 to request accommodations.

Bringing about change

The goals of the Tunnel of Oppression include:

  • Increasing awareness of oppression and discrimination and their impact on people.
  • Evoking an enlightened and educated discussion.
  • Bringing about positive changes.

Each tour will conclude with a short debriefing with SIU University Housing staff. Afterward, those attending can reflect upon their experience individually in the “Hope Room” where they can also learn more about a variety of local, regional and national organizations that work to address the issues highlighted by the Tunnel of Oppression.

Dozens of volunteers work very hard to create the tunnel experience. Event sponsors include the Black Togetherness Organization and University Housing.