CCI Diversity Week tears down oppression


Translation major Carlos Usnay places a “brick” on the Oppression Wall in the student center on April 24, 2017. The wall remained standing for all of last week for students to add colored bricks representing different forms of oppression. At the end of the week, the wall will be torn down to tear down oppression. 

Alec Slovenec

As a grand finale to CCI Diversity Week’s “Wall of Oppression,” students were invited to take turns smashing the wall.

Starting Monday, students built the Wall of Oppression in the middle of the Student Center. Students taped different colored paper bricks to the wall , representative of oppressive social issues they care about.

Some students even chose to write messages on bricks. Many shared their opinions and experiences to go along with the oppressive issues they chose.

The wall remained from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Starting at noon on Friday, students and faculty gathered on the third floor of the University Library to metaphorically tear down oppression. Students who wanted to participate had to make a statement about the issues they cared about or about how to fight oppression in general.

The event was organized by Amanda Leu, coordinator of the Office of Academic Diversity Outreach. Leu encouraged students to participate by sharing their thoughts, as well as guiding them to where they should hit the wall with their giant hammer.

Victoria Grubbs, a senior communication studies major, said that it’s important to be proactive in fighting social issues. She suggested more training, such as Green Dot training, which deals with sexual assault and domestic violence. 

Catherine Zingrone, the curriculum services director of CCI, took her own swing at the wall. Zigrone said that her idea for fighting oppression is “continuing to talk about it, so we can come together and unify instead of separate.”

Zingrone said she enjoyed swinging the hammer at the Wall of Oppression.

“It’s very empowering,” she said.

Abigail Winternitz, a junior public relations major, said that a smart way to spread awareness for social issues is to have more events like the Wall of Oppression.

“Just look at all of the different people who put things, who took the time to show what they care about on here,” Winternitz said. “We just need to keep having opportunities like this for people to seek out. As long as people have the opportunity, they will, clearly.”

After a few hits, the wall was falling apart. Eventually, everyone’s efforts knocked it down entirely. 

“It’s great to just say, ‘Here’s this wall. Let’s put up these things that we care about,’” Leu said. “But caring about them is just step one. Step two is actually taking steps to make a difference with oppression and to take tangible steps to be able to fight for inclusiveness and diversity and equity in our society.”

The Wall of Oppression from Alec Slovenec on Vimeo.

Alec Slovenec is the university diversity reporter, contact him at [email protected].