Liberty Hill Co-Hosts Selma Screening for Youth to Connect with Seniors

by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2015

By Karen Driscoll


Liberty Hill joined with community partners in Los Angeles to watch the film Selma, which tells the  story of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march and the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others to secure the right to vote. The event, titled #SELMAHANDINHAND was inter-generational, bringing together more than 400 young people from ten years up and seasoned seniors.  Together they viewed the film and then had an inspiring panel discussion sharing thoughts and ideas spanning over generations.  It was an opportunity for youth and youth organizers to gain a better understanding of the history of early chapters of their current struggles.

The film captivated the attention of the audience young and old by detailing the struggle and sacrifice of activists, Selma residents and a nation. Throughout the movie, folks laughed, cried, and cheered. The words of speeches inspired by Dr. King, who was played by David Oyelowo, resonated deeply and shed new light on King’s passion, resiliency, and faith in a better tomorrow.

Niecy Nash Actress Niecy Nash











Following the screening, participants engaged in a brief discussion with cast member Niecy Nash, who played Richie Jean Jackson. A civil rights activist in her own right, Jackson provided Dr. King and other key figures a safe haven during the turbulent time in Selma. Nash stated, “Jackson fed the movement literally and figuratively.” Initially, a boy of ten asked Nash who she portrayed in the movie as he could not recognize her without the costume and studio make-up. Nash shared that Jackson passed away prior to being able to see the film but she knew the movie was being made and her story was being told.

During the short question and answer portion, a young girl and member of #BlackLivesMatter asked Niecy Nash why she decided to participate in the movie. Nash answered candidly, stating that she was a fan of Director Ava DuVernay and wanted to be a part of telling this important story in hopes that viewers would not only understand the sacrifice Dr. King and others made for civil rights but also take advantage of the rights we hold today; including the right to vote and engage civically as full citizens. Nash also spoke of how the movie was being filmed well before the events that happened in Ferguson and New York, but believed that these moments allowed us a great opportunity to look back. She ended by saying she hoped the movie will help a young generation uncover a passion and belief so deep they would be willing to risk their lives like the folks in Selma.

The audience continued the discussion even after Nash’s exit. Many folks mentioned the distinctions between the 1960s and today. A writer in the audience commented that while brutality against African Americans was an accepted norm in the 1960s, today society has moved to criminalizing black people in order to justify brutality and the shooting of unarmed black men. At this screening, the participation and engagement of the audience showed how the movie Selma is deepening the national discourse that has happened since the shooting of Mike Brown.  Moviegoers were left with a deep connection to the past and to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.