Students’ bricks used to construct oppression wall

By Blair Dee Hodges, Staff Writer

U students helped construct a “wall of oppression” with concrete bricks Saturday to raise awareness among passing students about issues such as racism, sexism, war and genocide.

The 5-foot-by-30-foot wall, sponsored by the Union Programming Council’s community service board, was built at the U last year, as well as on campuses across the country, from the University of Syracuse to Western Carolina University.

The concrete bricks, containing words such as “hate” and “queer,” were constructed into a wall next to the Union that will be torn down Thursday.

Ameena Khan, community service board director for UPC, said the visible wall is intended to bring to mind the invisible walls built by ignorance, discrimination

and inequality.

“There are a lot of issues that people would like to address, but they feel like they can’t,” Khan said. “So by getting people out to paint the issues on brick, we hope to help facilitate communication and to provide an outlet for frustration.”

Last week, students painted and wrote words on bricks donated by Buehner Block Company in Salt Lake City, but Erin Kucic, associate director of marketing for the community service board, said she thinks many students weren’t able to participate because of the weather.

“Various student groups were going to help at different points with manning the tables where the bricks would be painted, but the snow and cold made some people have to change plans,” Kucic said.

Still, Kucic estimated more than 100 of the 250 bricks were painted, whether out in the cold or in the Union.

Shabnam Ghaibi, associate director of programming for the board, said the project was completed by funds from the community service budget, which paid for All Rockzz and Stonezz Masonry in Salt Lake City to construct the wall.

Ghaibi said she hopes the wall will let passing students see what is on the minds of their fellow students.

“The issues may not be affecting them personally either,” Ghaibi said. “It’s a way to let people speak their mind and a way to remind people to be more open-minded.”

Khan said the wall of oppression will be taken down in a ceremony Thursday at noon when students will be able to help demolish it as a symbol of breaking down oppressive barriers.

The ceremony will also include speakers who will discuss some of the current issues impacting U students.

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Mike Mangum

Workers construct the wall of oppression using bricks that students painted with issues that they felt needed awareness. Students can help tear down the wall Tuesday at noon.