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Columbia College Chicago
Tunnel of Oppression
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Tunnel of Oppression

Presented by One Tribe

Tunnel of Oppression 2013 - Aversion Therapy Tunnel of Oppression 2013 - Government Torture

Tunnel of Oppression 2013 - Lynch Mob Tunnel of Oppression 2013 - Police Brutality

Dates:    Wednesday, April 24 and Friday, April 26, 2013

Time:      5:00 – 8:00pm Wednesday, and 2:00 - 5:00pm Friday. Tours begin every half-hour.

Where:   C101 Gallery, 33 E. Congress, 1st floor

RSVP:     To make a reservation to experience the Tunnel of Oppression, please download and complete the RSVP form and email it to onetribe@colum.edu. We will also accept walk-ins!

What is Tunnel of Oppression?

Tunnel of Oppression is a campus diversity initiative originally developed at Western Illinois University and loosely based on the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, CA. The idea for Tunnel came during a search for an effective way to accurately reflect the realities of oppression in a full sensory experiential manner. The creators wanted to give participants the opportunity to see, touch, hear, and feel the realities of oppression as a stepping-stone toward creating diversity awareness.

The full-sensory experience of Tunnel is intended to challenge our ideas and perceptions about the issues surrounding oppression. It is intended to be raw, eye opening, and a consciousness “gut-check.” The rationale is that students are often unable to fully understand oppression and discrimination until they see it, or experience it firsthand.

The Tunnel experience should stimulate thoughts, feelings, and emotions around the issues and images presented. It is often shocking and disturbing for those who have never witnessed blatant forms of discrimination or oppression. It may also be upsetting to those who have witnessed the realities of the images presented. Yet, it is important to realize that the scenes depicted in the Tunnel represent reality for many individuals. It is also important for us to realize many behaviors and misconceptions need to be changed.


Tunnel FAQ

Want to learn more about Tunnel? Check out our list of frequently asked questions or email onetribe@colum.edu.


One Tribe’s Goal for the Tunnel

The Tunnel of Oppression at Columbia College Chicago will be held April 24 & 26, 2013, at C101 Gallery, 33 E. Congress, 1st floor. Groups and/or individuals who wish to attend this year's program are strongly encouraged to sign up early via the online sign-up form. Groups will leave on the half-hour, and walk-ins are encouraged to come early to register for the next tour.

As Tunnel participants move through a series of rooms, they are presented with interactive skits, videos, sounds, images, and role-playing designed to raise awareness of acts of oppression that exist globally and in our U.S. society. After groups tour the Tunnel, they are encouraged to process their experience through guided discussion, shared expression space, and personal reflection (co-sponsored by Counseling Services). Please allow approximately 30 minutes for total immersion into the experience.

We hope the Columbia College Chicago Tunnel of Oppression will help tear down barriers that divide those who do not recognize oppression and those who live in it. For individuals who experience it daily, the Tunnel should provide an opportunity to share feelings, educate others, and facilitate understanding.

Make your reservation today!


2013 Tunnel Team                    

Team Leaders: Jasmin De La Cerda (Fiction Writing), Shane Gabler (Film/Video), Keisa Reynolds (Cultural Studies/Early Childhood Education), and Francis Shervinski (Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management)

Kristi Agne (Journalism)

Manuela Alcala (TV)

Matt Austin (Fiction Writing)

Alex Diamond

Corina Ferrer-Marcano (Journalism)  

Ava Ginsburg

Alina Lewis (Theatre)

TC Liggins (Marketing Communications/PR)

Brian Martin (Cultural Studies)

Tanna Mayer (Theatre)

Thumy Phan (Graphic Design)      

Charles Phillips (Audio Production)

Rocio Robles (Photography)

Mike Santoyo (Theatre)

Keith Surney (Theatre)

Brandon Taylor Sides (Music)

Jordan Tucker (Fiction Writing)

Eli Vazquez (Film)

Elly Zaid (Film)

Resource Guide

If you went through the 2013 Tunnel of Oppression, you should have received a Resource Guide for more info on the issues presented. Here is the guide, with easy-to-click links!

Scene 1: Government Torture: Waterboarding

80% of countries torture at least one person in government control per year. Waterboarding is listed as Number 2 for the worst modern torture methods. Domestically, we do not know much about it, relying on media to stir us away from what happens within our country to others who torture on a grander scale. Even then, most countries in Europe continue to torture without any consequences.

A 2012 Poll asked whether it should be legal to use waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists. 54% said Yes and 46% said No.

After the 9/11 attacks waterboarding was used by the CIA to obtain information about Al Qaeda members, and torture was used on inmates at Guantanamo Bay. These acts have brought great shame on our nation. Government documents show hundreds of prisoners were tortured and even killed in the course of interrogation.

This scene is meant to demonstrate what can happen during an interrogation/torture chamber. Created in 1985 the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) is the main coalition of international non-government organizations fighting against torture. There are a total of 311 organizations in OMCT from across the world.

The Obama administration has prohibited the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” It has instead stated that the nation must look forward and not backward. Without formal legal consequences for torture, there is a very real danger that torture will be part of our future and not just our past.



You can become involved by simply informing yourself of what is happening domestically and internationally. Reading alternative press such as Democracy Now instead of the “liberal” and “conservative” press will give you a better understanding of what happens in the world. There are also websites you can go to for more information, like Honor Those Who Said NO to Torture.

Top officials of the Bush Administration approved the torture and abuse of prisoners, but brave men and women throughout the military and the government challenged their policies, called out abuses, and worked to end the use of coerced evidence. These courageous individuals should be honored for their integrity and their commitment to real American values. So far, though, our official history has honored only those who approved torture, not those who rejected it.


Write letters to President Obama and to your congressional representatives. Good letter writing information can be found at the websites of Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International, and The Center for Constitutional Rights.


If you’d like to help fight against torture, check out Act Against Torture.

Scene 2: Aversion Therapy

Homosexuality used to be considered a mental illness in the United States and most places around the world, and many believed that it could be cured by aversion therapy. Aversion therapy is a type of treatment in which a patient is subjected to a stimulus and, at the same time, some form of discomfort. This causes the patient to associate the stimulation with the discomfort, which is meant to stop them from their behavior.

Aversion therapy has often led to depression, mental illness, and suicide because of the verbal, and sometimes physical, trauma inflicted upon patients. There are many different kinds of aversion therapy: guilt trips, electroshock, nausea-inducing drugs, hypnosis, and even exorcism. Even though the American Psychiatric Association has condemned the practice, there are still many therapists that practice this heinous act using their First Amendment right to freedom of speech as justification.

As of right now, California is the ONLY state in which aversion therapy of any kind is banned. It is currently being challenged by practitioners claiming their freedom of speech has been violated.
The most common kind of aversion therapy is “talk” therapy, but other methods, like electroshock, are still used today in some extreme cases.

Exodus International, Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays, and Homosexuals Anonymous are examples of organizations that claim to help people become “ex-gay.” Patients of aversion therapy range from willing participants, to scientific experiments, to those forced into therapy against their will. The idea that homosexuality can be cured is disturbing and untrue, but until that can be proven, aversion therapy will still exist.


Become informed! Visit the websites of these “ex-gay” ministries and learn more about the harmful lies they perpetuate:

Exodus International
Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays
Homosexuals Anonymous
Courage (specifically for Catholics)
Evergreen International (specifically for Mormons)
JONAH (specifically for Jews)

Scene 3: Immigration and Racial Profiling

Deportation among the Hispanic community has risen over the last eight years. States like Arizona have tried to pass anti-immigration laws allowing racial profiling. The DREAM Act would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to gain conditional permanent residency.

Many hospitals around the country deny treatment to undocumented immigrants. Since 2009, President Obama’s administration has deported about 1.5 million undocumented immigrants, more than the administrations of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.


Illinois Organizations for Immigrant Rights:

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
ICIRR is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.

Immigrant Youth Justice League
A Chicago-based network that represents undocumented youth and allies in the demand for immigrant rights through education, resource-gathering, and youth mobilization.

National Organizations for Immigrant Rights:

Center for New Community
A national organization committed to building community, justice, and equality. The Center is grounded in many faith traditions, and builds community where the dignity and value of all humanity is manifest.

The Fair Immigration Reform Movement
FIRM is a national coalition of grassroots organizations fighting for immigrant rights at the local, state, and federal level.

National Immigrant Justice Center
NIJC provides direct legal services to and advocates for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers through policy reform, impact litigation, and public education.

Reform Immigration for America
A national network of advocacy groups. If you sign up for updates on this site, you will be sent info on events and campaigns specific to your zip code.

Scene 4: Mob Lynching

Violent punishment or execution, without due process, for real or alleged crimes. A lynching is an extra-judicial execution carried out by a mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a population of people.

In recent news:
March 21, 2013: A suspected car thief was in lynched in Egypt. The man was hanged from a tree for his actions.

March 20, 2013: An 18-year-old gay teen was allegedly stoned to death as punishment for his homosexuality, in Somalia.

January 20, 2013: A 55-year-old woman was beaten to death by her in-laws after they branded her a witch. They dragged her outside and beat her with sticks and iron rods, in Jaipur, India.

These are just a few of the many stories currently happening in the world in which we live.


Read more on the Anti-Lynching Bill.

And spread peace wherever you go, whatever you do. Denounce these acts, speak out, and promote peace!