Cambridge Community Center Youth Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Donated Tickets to a Screening of "Selma"
Author: Cambridge Community Center youth and youth workers
On January 19, 2015 a small group from Cambridge Community Center went to go see the movie ‘Selma.’ The plot was astonishing, depicting an lesser known battle of the Civil Rights Movement. Some of the scenes displayed gruesome images, and the overall message was clear: it had been a trying and, at times, tragic slog towards achieving equality. Seeing the elderly brutally beaten numerous times left a rancid taste in the mouths of both myself and my peers. ‘Selma’ was not an easy movie to watch, but it did come across as an important one to see.
“‘Selma’ was an inspirational and enlightening movie,” said one of the audience members as he reflected on his viewing experience as we rode home from the theater. Prior to seeing the movie, we’d all had small conversations about what we’d heard, seen, and thought about the movie. Some people had seen the trailer and some people knew very little. With expectations extremely high, the film blew us away in unexpected ways. Mixed emotions flew all over the place as the movie progressed. Tears were shed and giggles were quivered as the movie solemnly progressed. “The movie made me think about how people had suffered for their rights,” said another youth after seeing it.
On the bus ride home, many voices spoke over each other about their feelings. No one was untouched by what they had seen, and the movie had everyone thinking about the current racial climate. It was impossible to not connect the Civil Rights movement of the past with the civil rights violations of today. Was it worth it, what Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers had fought for? Did they succeed in attaining their goals? ‘Selma’ is not a movie to be taken lightly. It’s subject is serious and it’s viewpoint unwavering. For all those who see it, it is will be eye opening and unsettling but essential and unforgettable as it was for us.
-Cambridge Community Center youth and youth workers
This is a Martin Luther King Jr. mural uncovered in our art room last year:
And a poster for the film:
Afterword from Executive Director Corinne Espinoza:
Thanks to a generous donation from area African American business leaders, the Cambridge Community Center was able to take a group of 14 to see Selma on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Our group had middle schoolers, high schoolers, a first year college student, their teachers and youth workers. The movie was powerful and difficult to watch. While we know the troubled history of our country, seeing it on the big screen was still startling and elicited reactions ranging the gamut from grief and anger to hope. Led by Kwame Dance, a CCC Board Member and the Director of the Moore Youth Center, we held a debrief with the group afterwards. We went from one word reactions about the movie to making connections between the past and the present. We talked about the future that we want. Our youth talked about racism and inequalities that exist today and discussed what it meant to be a change maker. We ended our talk with a group of youth fired up to talk to the Cambridge City Council about what could be better in our City. Thank you donors, for helping us use art as a tool for social change.