The Day of Empathy Makes an Impact at ODA

The Day of Empathy Makes an Impact at ODA

Ashley Munroe, Staff Writer

(This article refers to an event that occurred as part of the annual school musical this past spring. Unfortunately, the article was not published at its originally intended time.)

In conjunction with the opening of the ODA theater production of Hairspray, the theater department has decided to get all of the students and teachers as involved as they can in the theme of the play. Hairspray is a fun, upbeat story that features Tracy Turnblad and her journey to becoming a dancer on her favorite TV show. As Tracy deals with mean teenage girls and the racist producer of the show, she fights to be seen for who she is and not for how much she weighs. However, there are much stronger underlying messages in the play that the ODA campus brought to life yesterday.

Hairspray takes place in 1962, at a time where the Civil Rights Movement was becoming a prominent and influential part of society. The play discusses and depicts segregation and how horrible African Americans were treated during time. Yesterday, ODA practiced its own form of segregation, and everyone was involved.

To promote the opening of the play, each student dressed up in 60s clothing. A group of theater students spent Monday night segregating the campus into four different colors: pink, blue, green, and yellow. On Tuesday morning, when each student checked in with their advisor, they each received a square of one of these colors to wear for the entire day. Therefore, they could only go through doors, use bathrooms, and drink from water fountains that were their designated color. The students and faculty got to personally experience how hard being segregated was for one day, and imagine how hard it must have been for African Americans dealing with it every day.

The student body all had very different reactions to The Day of Empathy. However, in one way or another the message got through to everyone. “I think it gave a really good message to the student body. It taught us not to exclude people; we should be free to use any door or bathroom regardless of our colors, religion, or anything” says one Junior.

The Day of Empathy was a great opportunity for our students to realize how lucky we are not to live in a segregated world. It is important that this point of history is remembered so that today’s society can reflect upon previous mistakes. This project taught us all not only to except each other, but that prejudice in any situation is wrong and that this point in history can never be repeated.

The play offered great opportunity for reflection as well as time to enjoy the many talents of ODA’s actors and faculty leaders.