Why Young People Need to See Selma

This past weekend I went with friends to see Selma, a new film which chronicles the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., during the Civil Rights movement in 1964, which prompted President Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act that same year. The film was a poignant and honest story of the brave and dedicated men and women who risked their lives in the fight for equal rights.

Growing up in the South in the 1970s and '80s, a lot of what I know about the civil rights movement isn't from a textbook, but from my own experience and what I heard of the experiences of members of my family before me. They and so many others are the reason my wonderful children are able to do and accomplish so much in their lives. Seeing Selma reminded me how important it is for young people to be well-informed about America's history, especially concerning civil rights.

Today, we remember the courageous and inspiring work of Dr. King. He and countless others bravely stood up for what was right during the civil rights movement. His dream and legacy continue to inspire, and it is up to us today to make sure his memory is never forgotten.

Important movies, such as Selma, can be difficult to watch at times because of harsh reality which they depict. I believe that makes it all the more crucial for young people today to see. As time goes on, those who lived through the height of the civil rights movement will no longer be alive to share their stories, and our children will become the mouthpiece through which these stories are recounted for generations to come. We must make sure the movies we create and the stories we tell are accurate and honest so that our children may learn from history.

This week, I will make sure to encourage my young interns to go see the movie. It may be more important for them to see it than it is for myself. An awareness of history provides a context for understanding and interpreting the current world, as well as relating to one another. I recently wrote about police brutality, a shocking problem present in society today. There are so many issues, especially concerning race, embedded in the history of this country which transcends present-day. Part of being a productive member of society is educating yourself about the past.

Selma captured where we came from and provided a beautiful look at what can be accomplished when people join together for a cause greater than themselves. It's up to us today to define where we will go.