In the wake of protests across the country and marches for justice this past weekend in both Washington, DC and New York, Americans as well as supporters abroad are hoping for a change in the current racial climate in the United States. During the New York screening of Selma, a film about the events surrounding the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches, Oprah shared her thoughts on the controversial subject with The Grio.
Even if we didn’t know about a Ferguson, or an Eric Garner or a Michael Brown … they were going on. The fact that they may have now become newsworthy or made national or international news doesn’t mean there haven’t been nameless Michael Browns or Eric Garners before. My feeling is everything is always happening exactly as it should and on time. There’s no coincidence that this is happening now, but because it’s happening now, people are paying more attention.”
Although the cause is disturbing, Oprah feels the affect has been that people’s eyes are now open to the issue.
What’s exciting to me is that people are awake. If it took Eric Garner and it took Michael Brown and other instances to do that then that’s where we are in our evolvement as human beings.
The fact that today’s current events and those of the 1960’s being detailed in the film are so similar is scary, but Mama O feels that those similarities can add to the narrative in a positive way.
I really think that this film can teach people a lot, because what the film says is it’s been done. Y’all are not the first to do it: the first to have an idea, the first to want to protest, the first to be upset. We didn’t even have the right as citizens to vote in this country, and because of that, you had Martin Luther King as a leader joining with his band of brothers with disciplined, rigorous, peaceful protests, and they had a goal and intention in mind.
The most recent protests have indeed been peaceful and hopefully those who see the film come away with productive ideas and an elevated mission to contribute to change.
Selma opens in limited release on Christmas day and nationwide on January 9th. In case you missed the trailer, you can catch it here.