Wall of Oppression breaks down diversity

The student-run “Writing on the Wall Project” spearheaded Diversity Week this year, challenging students and faculty to confront issues of intolerance and discrimination in society and their lives.

On Friday, Oct. 17, six months worth of time and effort by a group of diversity-driven students culminated in the destruction of the “Wall of Oppression,” an act meant to symbolize the breaking of barriers in society. From Oct. 6-9, 200 students and faculty members associated with various organizations attended six brick-painting sessions in the African-American Inst-

itute, the Snell Library Quad and Speare Cafeteria, where they decorated bricks to represent instances of intolerance in their lives or the lives of people they know.

Margot Ferencz, a freshman geology major, heard about the project through the Northeastern University Allied Student Coalition (NUASC) and volunteered to supervise the brick painting in Speare Cafeteria.

“When I heard about [the Wall of Oppression], I thought it was an absolutely great idea, so I decided to help,” Ferencz said.

The project took on a more personal meaning for Ferencz, who is also involved in the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and the Asian Student Union (ASU).

“I’m multi-racial and I think it’s important that we learn to accept everybody, especially in the U.S.,” she said.

Following speeches by President Richard Freeland and Donnie Perkins, dean and director of the office of affirmative action and diversity, during the Oct. 14 opening ceremony for the “Wall of Oppression,” the first of 300 bricks were placed into position in the Snell Library Quad. Freeland recalled witnessing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” in Washington, D.C. in 1963.

“We’ve learned a lot in the 40 years since that famous and wonderful March on Washington … and so we gather here today … as a journey on those principles continues,” Freeland said.