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#SelmaForStudents: A Commentary

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Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 3.26.10 PMCourtesy of Brandale Randolph.

It started in with a simple FaceBook post.

Brandale Randolph

December 26, 2014 at 10:07 am ·

I want to take 10 kids from different parts of the city to go see Selma, feed them & video tape the discussions that they have among themselves. Just putting this out into the universe.

This idea was put out there, into the Universe and ninety three comments later, eight organizations came together and made it happen. Upon hearing comments from the children in attendance after the movie, the monumental effort behind the screens made it all worth it.

Not too long after the credits finished and the lights came up, the comments began.

The first was from a young man who was between the second and sixth grade. I asked the audience in general what they thought about the movie. A young man raised his man and said that “this was a good movie about all of the stuff that happened on “Bloody Sunday.” He had been to Selma, Alabama for a family reunion. Other comments from the young attendees ranged from their love or discomfort for some of the scenes in the movie, such as the bombing of the church, the brutal beating on the bridge and the intense scene between President Johnson and Governor Wallace of Alabama.

The most insightful comment came from a member of the Estacado Boys basketball team. He mentioned that the work that was highlight in the film by Dr. King and others was not completed. Ironically, his coach Tony Wagner was one of the first to jump aboard this idea.

As a movie alone, Selma is powerful testament to the past and acknowledgement of the efforts we must put forth to help America achieve its promise of Liberty and justice for all but as an event, this Saturday was much more. The symbolism of bringing together a diverse collection of adults and children together to watch such a film is more emphatic.

On that Saturday, the people of Lubbock demonstrated the openness of a city that less than five years ago removed a statue that barred African Americans from buying real estate West of University, to face the harshness of our racial past and discuss the magnitude of an equitable future. Still for me, nothing could replace the conversation that I had with my eight year old son in which he said, “Why didn’t they see that Martin Luther King cared about everybody, the black people and the white people?” And that began a conversation, that made the epic search for funding, the wrestling with the guest list and doubters all worth it.