Theatre of the Oppressed: Workshop Brings Diverse Staff Together to Explore Oppression in Everyday Lives
During Mental Health Awareness Month, the Community Health Promotion Unit hosted a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop to build awareness – through an embodied, experiential and participatory process – around root causes of health disparities. Participants explored the interwoven nature of trauma and oppression, exposing systems of oppression that perpetuate inequities along racial, ethnic, gender and socio-economic lines. Through story and theatre, participants explored their own awareness of power, privilege and oppression that exists around them as well as counter-oppressive solutions to implement in prevention and community work.
Native and Indigenous Peoples Initiative (NIPI) Co-Chair, Gloria Gutierrez, participated in the workshop describing it as a space for participants
“To express [themselves] void of judgement. As an individual that has been dedicated to learn about other cultures and communities I found [it] incredibly valuable. I would definitely recommend this training to my colleagues and community members as is teaches us a different approach to handle difficult issues.”
Another participant, Sylvia Tang, Co-Chair for the Chinese Health Initiative reflected,
“The training inspired me to think more deeply about the oppressive and liberating features of our Chinese culture that I have experienced. Hierarchy/compliance can be oppressive on the one hand but the fire for family unity/well-being can be liberating on the other hand. While many assume Chinese may quiet and compliant, there are many examples where Chinese-Americans have resisted and fought for the rights of our family’s well-being, including fighting for basic educational and legal rights during the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act.”