Over the weekend I had the pleasure of experiencing the powerful movie, SELMA. Beforehand, I happened to catch an interview with cast members Oprah Winfrey (Producer and “Annie Lee Cooper”), David Oyelowo (who plays Dr. King) and Carmen Ejogo (who plays Mrs. King) on the ELLEN DeGeneres Show; the interview only made me that much more excited to see it. If you missed it, consider checking it out–definitely worth the view.
Anywho, on to my [abbreviated] thoughts of the film. Let me first say that SELMA is the must-see movie of 2015. The cast was terrific in their portrayal of the key characters involved with the march in Selma and the manner in which the producers chose to frame and shoot the film made the hard work of the cast that much more compelling. (Click here to learn more about the cast and film crew.)
The filmmakers did a phenomenal job of ensuring that the movie most accurately captured the complexities of the time period, the man behind the movement and the movement itself. Perhaps what I enjoyed most was how they focused on the importance of strategy (on all sides), timing and the parts that everyone has to play for the sake of the vision at hand. The truth is: you can have all the passion in the world–be able to know the truth and your beliefs in and out–but when it comes to pushing for change…if you don’t have a strategy and clear non-negotiable’s, well darling all you’ve got is a dream.
After viewing the film, my only questions become: Given the current racial, political and socio-economic climate in the USA, what would Martin do next, now? What do we do next ? And by “we” I mean those who are committed to the betterment and protection of ALL of our rights and freedoms.
This movie showed that Martin had more than just a dream. He had a vision–a plan of action–and he was willing to pay the price (as were the many who stood with him) to give that vision life.
On Monday, January 19th, 2015–the day we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life–thousands of people from a broad based coalition, MLK D.A.R.E (Action, Resistance, and Empowerment) Coalition will rally and march in an effort to “#ReclaimMLK Day” with special focus on Jobs, Justice and Education. The rally is scheduled to take place at the Philadelphia School District building (440 n. Broad St.) at 1:30 p.m., followed by a 2:00 p.m. march that will head south to City Hall and continue east to 6th and Market Streets where the concluding rally will take place at Independence Mall starting at 3:30 p.m.
The #ReclaimMLK protestors are specifically demanding: an end to “Stop & Frisk,” an increase in minimum wage, and a full funding formula for schools. More than two dozen organizations, including a newly formed one led by millennials called All Lives Matter America, have endorsed the march their demands, and are assisting with organizational support.
See you there, loves!
– Sincerely Syreeta
Official Press Release:
PHILADELPHIA — While most people enjoyed the holiday season with family and friends, a coalition of area organizations spent the time meeting and planning for what they hope will be Philadelphia’s largest public demonstration since the controversial grand jury decisions in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY. The coalition calls itself “MLK D.A.R.E” (MLK Day of Action, Resistance, and Empowerment) and is made up of faith leaders, labor unions, parent groups, college and high school students, and grassroots activist organizations. At least 10,000 demonstrators are expected to take to the streets on the Martin Luther King Day Holiday, Monday January 19th, at 1:30pm starting at School District Headquarters located at 440 N. Broad Street. The march will depart from 440 N. Broad at 2pm, travel to City Hall, and continue to 6th and Market Streets where a concluding rally will take place at Independence Mall beginning at 3:30pm.
The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition was born out of the Black Lives Matter protests in Philadelphia. Members of more than 2-dozen organizations wanted to do more than just march and “die-in,” so they started talking about how they could collaborate, and use their collective voice to effect change. The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition formed and developed a list of demands that center around justice, jobs, and education. They are calling for: an end to the use of “Stop and Frisk” and an Independent Police Review Board that is fully empowered and funded; a $15 per hour minimum wage and the right to form unions; and a fully funded, democratically controlled local school system.
The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition’s primary focus is racial justice, echoing the clarion call for change after events in Ferguson, MO sparked a national dialogue about race. The coalition believes that to truly honor the memory of Dr. King they must ‘reclaim’ the spirit and tenacity of the slain Civil Rights leader. “This march is a continuation of the efforts of Dr. King and others who fought for racial justice,” says Bishop Dwayne Royster, pastor of Living Water United Church of Christ and the Executive Director of POWER (www.powerphiladelphia.org). “While a day of service and giving back is a good thing, we need to take it a step further by taking action and demanding change.”
The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition believes Philadelphia is the cradle of liberty, and should be a beacon to the country for ensuring that the rights of all people are guaranteed regardless of their skin color. “Here in Philadelphia and from shore to shore, a black child is likely to be poorer, go to worse-funded schools, and more likely to go to jail than his white brother,” says Leslie MacFadyen, founder of the locally based Ferguson National Response Network. “We are called to follow in King’s footsteps this year as we march in his legacy, and in the legacy of thousands of other men and women of his generation who stood up and said enough is enough.”
The coalition says our present-day injustices include underfunded schools. “Philadelphia’s young people know that their public schools have suffered the most from Governor Corbett’s cuts to public education,” says Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. “They know that in Pennsylvania, school districts with large populations of poor and minority students receive fewer education dollars than more affluent communities. They recognize the injustice, and they’ve been hitting the streets and calling for change. The PFT and others will join them in that call on January 19.”
“Public schools have suffered the most from Governor Corbett’s cuts to education,” says Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. “Pennsylvania, school districts with large populations of poor and minority students receive fewer education dollars than more affluent communities and this needs to change.”
The “MLK D.A.R.E” coalition says poverty is another type of systemic violence against African Americans. “Black workers are disproportionately represented in low wage jobs, which means we as a community cannot meet basic needs,” says Sarah Giskin from the group 15 Now Philly. “Because black lives matter, workers deserve at least $15 an hour.”
The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition planning meetings have been held at Historic Mother Bethel AME Church located at South 6th and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia. “It’s only fitting that we open our doors in light of the role of the Black Church during the Civil Rights Movement,” says Mother Bethel’s Pastor Rev. Mark Tyler. “In fact, our founder Bishop Richard Allen opened these doors in 1817 for the first large scale, national demonstration of free African Americans.”
For more information on the #ReclaimMLK rally and march on Monday January 19, 2015, at 1:30pm find them on Facebook and Twitter by searching: #ReclaimMLK. All media inquiries should be directed to Leslie Patterson-Tyler of Tyler-Made Productions via email at Leslie@TylerMadePR.com or call (609) 247-2632.
DATE: 1/19/2015 (Mon 1:30PM )
LOCATION: starting at School District Headquarters located at 440 N. Broad Street