#Selma for Students

bebraveSuddenly race issues are a part of our main conversation again. Ferguson, #ICan’tBreathe, and #BlackLivesMatter have put this issue in the forefront for us. Thankfully we are having good discussions about this again.

Yes, we have come far on this issue. But there still is a crisis about being a young black man. There are internal and external reasons for this. I know. I’ve raised young black men. They are the best part of my story. I know the internal reasons why their lives have been endangered. Prison is a part of my life and I’ve lost one due to gun violence (stupid gun violence as it often is). I also know the external reasons and still fear that “driving while black” can lead to a mess of problems, even death as a possibility, to one of my sons. When I see the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter I resonatelives matter with it because my sons’ lives matter. They are and will be a part of changing this world.

Providential circumstances have come together for “such a time as this.” Long before Ferguson happened, a movie was in production about the story of the man who has done the most to bring healing to this problem in America. The movie is Selma, the first biographical movie on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. The first.

You have got to believe that God was a part of this providential circumstance. If not, read this interview with the actor who played Martin Luther King Jr.


selmaNow from the grassroots level, #Selma for Students has arisen. From their press release: “In an unprecedented effort led by a team of African-American business leaders in New York, organizations across the U.S. coordinated a massive national campaign to find African-American business leaders to underwrite free admission to theAcademy Award-nominated film “SELMA” for students around the country.

“The new cities added are the efforts inspired by the overwhelming success of the program in New York City, in which 27 African-American business leaders created a fund for 27,000 of the city’s 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to see the film for free. That effort sold out in the very first weekend.

“Students can share their images and response to the film using #SelmaForStudents.

“Due to the generous contributions by so many of the country’s most prominent African-American business leaders, more than 275,000 middle and high school students will experience the critically acclaimed film for free at participating theaters while supplies last.”

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Parents and Church, take this unprecedented opportunity to take your teen(s) to see Selma. Pay the money to purchase the tickets. And have this difficult (is it really that difficult?) conversation afterwards. Need help starting that conversation? Here are some questions you can use:

  1. What are your reactions to the film? Do you think it was a good depiction of the Civil Rights Movement based on your own experiences or on historical accounts that have been presented in the media and in history books?
  2. How can the lessons from the Civil Rights Movement be applied to current conversations about racial profiling and police brutality?
  3. Do you feel the #BlackLivesMatter protests are a new chapter in the Civil Rights Movement?
  4. Did the events surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown and the chokehold death of Eric Garner create a ‘Selma moment’ akin to the national outrage after Bloody Sunday?
  5. What are some of the similarities/differences between Selma and Ferguson?
  6. During their second march which has since become known as Turnaround Tuesday, as the marchers came face-to-face with the police, Dr. King Jr. kneeled down to pray and after a few minutes turned around and headed back in the direction of Selma. What role does prayer play in the non-violent movement?
  7. Dr. King challenged America with these words, “If you believe all are created equal, come to Selma, join us, join our march against injustice and inhumanity.” How are you answering the ‘call’ to participate in movements that do not directly impact you?

Or use this official faith and family discussion guide (pdf).

Parents and Church, let’s lead this discussion. Let’s lead in prayer. Let’s lead in healing. Providential circumstances have put us here.  The window is now.

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About Be Brave

Brenda Seefeldt began life in youth ministry in 1981. That is before the internet, YouTube, texting and even before PowerPoint. (But it was after flannel boards.) Brenda has written and shared much of what she has learned through the resource of Wild Frontier and in many youth ministry publications as she continues on in youth ministry. Brenda is a brave one. She stutters yet is a national speaker. She loves teaching so much she’s also been a substitute teacher for over 20 years. She’s brave enough to enter any classroom at a middle school. She also simply loves teaching groups, whether they are teens or adults. Due to the many years of youth ministry, Brenda has “coached” many grown teens in dating. She finds herself very opinionated on that with lots to share. Brenda loves her God-given family–four sons and 4 grandchildren. They are God-given, not birthed. That alone is a brave story, one she tells here and there as the story really belongs to her sons.

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