WW ’16: School-wide viewing of “Selma” kicks off Winter Week

WHS students viewed the movie Selma during a school-wide assembly on Monday. The movie, released in 2014, is about civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1965 protest march from Selma to Birmingham.

The decision to play this movie came from a small group of students that meets monthly with Principal Allyson Mizoguchi to catch up and discuss events such as Black History Month. Junior Denzel Samuel, a member of this group, explains that Mizoguchi came to them with ideas of how to celebrate Black History Month.

“Personally, I think Black History Month is important because it highlights those in African American culture who have helped build this nation,” Samuel said. “Selma connects to American culture because it displays the challenge of basic citizens earning their inalienable rights.”

According to Samuel, the movie was chosen in order to teach students about Black History Month in a way that involves more than just facts and statistics.

“It is an empowering movie with many sad moments,” Samuel said. “It shows black people have made it far in society; however, there is still much work to do.”

Although Samuel has no specific expectations for students’ reactions to the movie, he hopes they take something away from it.

“I would just be glad if they enjoyed a segment that connects to black history.” Samuel said. “I would hope they took away a piece of information that is valuable and helps them view black history like I do, a great culture that has progressed very much.”

Freshman Kate Maietta shares that although the movie was not particularly compelling, watching it was an important way to learn about the Civil Rights Movement.

“I think it was very educational about that time in the Civil Rights Movement and about how much of a struggle the activists faced, but the movie itself was a bit too long and boring,” Maietta said.

Sophomore Jeffrey Prince agrees that the movie had great significance.

“I think it was definitely something important for us as a student body to experience. King’s leadership and perseverance can serve as examples to everyone today, especially as we’re dealing with new types of social issues every day,” Prince said.

According to junior Maddie Moran, the biggest takeaway is how powerful nonviolence can be.

“I think that Selma was a really good way to kick off Winter Week as well as Black History Month,” Moran said. “I really enjoyed the movie, and I think that a lot of other kids did too.”