Saturday, January 17, 2015

Why Your Children Need to See Selma


Acting on the tremendous article written by Deb Rox of BlogHer citing reasons America needs to see Selma this weekend, I headed to the theatre 30 minutes away, my teen children with me.

Selma is rated PG-13, and provided your child is 13 years old, take them to see it. The dialogue between you and your child during the film, on the drive home, and still the morning after will open your eyes and their eyes, over how much our children don't know about the not so in the past history of Selma, Alabama.

Talking about the human condition, suffering at the hands of supremacy and injustice, and of doing what is the right thing to do in the face of fear, brings you together in community for each other. Making the effect of Selma more immediate, is how this time in our history, was not that long ago.

Selma is a drama, by any and all definition, but the pride that is unmistakable on the screen, in bringing to life 1964, is an opportunity that shouldn't be missed. This is not a movie about Martin Luther King, but it is about moments that leave you unable to breathe, from the first opening scenes, my hand over my mouth from gasping. To see the injustice on a screen in front of you, unbearable to comprehend as truth, brings not only consciousness of what our country is enduring right now, but a call to action. It is hope of what can be accomplished when all join in to right a wrong, when we show up for each other. A line in the movie says it perfectly, "Being kept from voting is not just a problem for Black Americans, it is a  problem for Americans." The reality of struggle within a party is seen here -  even when having the same goal - the layers and complexity for change to occur bring us a perspective that few of us have, illustrating how many hearts and hands it takes for things to happen.

Every single person in the audience for Selma will have their own take away. Mine were tears, my childrens' were disbelief in the recency of the struggle of Black America's perseverance in the right to vote. Not the vote in the twisted legal sense but in the true ability to cast a ballot.

There are reasons to see Selma, and the ones that prick your conscience are the very ones to act one. Attend a showing, take your children over age 13 with you. Show them the far reaching roots of the anger in Ferguson, and across America.

The fight for rights of Black America has been going on for a long time, and a piece of that history is here for us to see, in Selma.

These films are needed to capture and cast open the cost, which was high, of the story of Americans wanting to be accepted as Americans. These films are films our children need to see. Take your children to see Selma, to open their eyes, give life to the pages they've learned in school, and plant a seed in a young heart.

As soon as you can.

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
 
 

 

14 comments:

  1. My parents moved us from NY to the small town of Port Gibson, MS in 1971. I was 10. I didn't realize that there was such a thing as segregation only 6 years prior. I didn't know what a 'yankee' or a 'rebel' was - but I learned. Quickly. This small town didn't like us northerners and didn't like that by law they were suppose to integrate. The two years we lived in MS was one of the best eye-opening educations I ever had.

    More recently I visited Memphis and went to the Lorraine Motel Civil Rights Museum. It is wonderfully done (!) but I wiped away tears constantly. So much hate ….

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    1. Yes, my words exactly, Tess. So much hate.

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  2. Took my 16 y.o. to see it last night at our favorite theater here in Oakland, the one we call our "social justice theater" i.e. we saw "Fruitvale Station" there (another must-see,) and when we emerged from the most recent Hunger Games movie it was into a crowd protesting Michael Brown's death by closing down the highway that runs next to the theater.

    The conversations we have had, in all of those situations, reassure me that my daughter's eyes are WIDE OPEN.

    PS Selma was simply an outstanding movie - it played to a packed house last night and the applause went on and on. Why on earth it was snubbed by the Oscars is ridiculous.

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    1. I don't understand that, Nancy. How could it be overlooked???

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    1. It's an incredible force of work, Amanda.

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  4. i want to see it...and i will probably let logan see it when it comes on demand...its a little more conducive to have those conversations at home...we actually watched the first maze runner this weekend and had a very interesting conversation about the choice to fight for freedom over being comfortable...

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    1. One big reason why I love to see movies with my children, Brian, to know how they process it.

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  5. This is one of the movies I am most looking forward to seeing in the theaters and I absolutely love that you not only took your children, but that you are encouraging dialogue about the extreme injustices that happened (as you stated) in the not-too-distant history of this country.

    Thanks for this. I don't go to see many movies in the theater, but I will make it a point to check this one out. XOXO

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    1. It is gut wrenching. It's non stop from the very start right on through to the end. I've seen it twice already, Charlotte. xo

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  6. DC has it offered free for grades 8-12. It was good to see so many teens taking advantage of that. And you're right: the conversation it starts/continues is a must.

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    1. I read of some cities doing this, A. I love that.

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  7. Miles is too young, but I'm going to take Max. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. I can't wait to hear what he thinks, Linda!

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