This past week, UCLA held the 4th annual A Bruin’s Walk, a multi-faceted performance piece by students detailing various forms of oppression that students face at and around UCLA.
This program first started at the Museum of Tolerance, and similar versions take place at colleges across the country.
At the beginning of the tour, our guide let us know about the debriefing rooms that were available if at any time it was triggering or too uncomfortable. The program was made up of a tour in which the audience is guided from room to room in the Grand Horizon room of Covel Commons.
Each room had a different message and evoked real feelings from me. It was quite striking to listen to the struggles my fellow Bruins faced, and I was at times uncomfortable with how it made me feel.
One particularly relatable piece talked about what it is like to be a 1.5 generation immigrant from Asia. The student spoke of their struggle with never feeling like a true citizen of either their native country or the one they immigrated to.
This is the exact situation my mother faced when moving here from Japan as a child, and the performance made me recognize a struggle I hadn’t previously thought about. The highlight of the performance was the emphasis on the pain of being “forever foreign.” Leaving your native country as a child leaves you feeling out of place wherever you go.
After going through each room, everyone was brought into the main hall to see the last part of the exhibit. All along the walls there were messages of hope and new ways to interact with the program. It was the perfect way to end and the perfect time to reflect on what we witnessed. One part of the hall was dedicated to all of the different clubs we could join on campus that champion diversity and change around UCLA.
Programs like these are what make UCLA such a great school. While it’s unfortunate that there are still so many forms of oppression that UCLA students face, it’s important for students to have an outlet of expression when facing the diverse difficulties of being a college student.