When Common declared that "Selma is now" during his Golden Globes acceptance speech Sunday night, he wasn't kidding. In an unprecedented effort led by a team of Black business leaders in New York, organizations across the country have coordinated a massive national campaign to grant free admission to Selma for students around the country.
Following the example of New York City, where 27,000 middle school students have been given free passes for the film, Boston, Nashville, New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sarasota and Westchester have come together to create funds that will allow students in these locations to see the film for free at participating theaters.
“Our goal was to educate as many children as we could about the historical importance and contemporary relevance of the march in Selma,” said Bill Lewis, co-chairman of investment banking at Lazard. “Seeing so many business leaders in other cities join this spontaneous initiative is a wonderful outcome for the children and for our country.”
The students in these cities will show a student ID or report card at the box office of any participating theater for free admittance. The programs begin January 12 and run through January 19 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) or while tickets last. More cities and leaders who have come on board for the initiative will be announced Wednesday, January 14.
Directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., the four-time Golden Globe nominated film (with a win for Common and John Legend's song "Glory") is the definitive portrait of the civil rights icon.
The film also stars Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint,Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey.
Selma is currently playing in theaters nationwide. For a list of participating theaters in select cities offering free admission to students during this program and for information on group sales, click here. To help get the word out about the program, tweet using the hashtag #SelmaForStudents.
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