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Film Screening Provides Opportunity for Learning, Engagement

By Jasmine Demers, Tukwut Life Student Assistant—Communications, 2016

Students recently gathered for a special movie screening of Selma (2014), the Oscar-winning drama that portrays Martin Luther King’s powerful civil rights campaign to secure equal voting rights for all Americans.

The free event, co-sponsored by the Black Student Union (BSU), Cross Cultural Center, Student Life and Leadership, Tukwut Life and the University Student Union Activities Board, was hosted on Friday, February 20, in honor of Black History Month. Members of these organizations agreed that the movie was an important addition to the Black History Month activities that have occurred throughout the month at CSUSM.

Jamaela Johnson, a member of the Black Student Union (BSU) and Associated Student, Inc. representative for Diversity and Inclusion, emphasized the film’s impact on the student community and commented on how the historical events depicted in the film relate to current events happening today.

“The importance of having this event is to increase cultural awareness, especially within the black community and especially given the events that have taken place in this past year with the Black Lives Matter campaign,” she said. “This film definitely correlates with the events that are happening now.”

Jamaela also shared her own reactions after watching Selma.

“I was overwhelmed with emotions while watching this film,” Johnson said. “As a student leader on this campus, and knowing the history of my people, it gives me so much motivation and encouragement to persevere through any obstacles that I may go through, and to achieve my goals and dreams.”

Floyd Lai, associate director of Multicultural Programs for Student Life and Leadership, commented on the important messages in “Selma.”

“This movie represents a moment in history that eventually led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a crowning achievement during the Civil Rights Movement,” he said. “Not only is this film appropriate as we celebrate Black History Month, but it reminds us that despite these achievements, the black community continues to be marginalized today with debates around state voter ID laws and the disproportionate targeting of black men who are victims of police brutality. I hope this film sparks discussion and debate on what the Black community continues to face today.”

Event organizers hope to attract a wider student audience with events like this and encourage students to get involved and submit their ideas for future campus activities.

Check out the websites for USUAB, Student Life and Leadership and Athletics for more information on more upcoming events.