Preceding the highly anticipated release of Selma, one of the film’s biggest names is speaking out on the recent protests sweeping the nation.
At the New York City screening of the movie, which opens in limited release on Christmas and nationwide on January 9, Oprah Winfrey said that the Ferguson and Eric Garner cases have served as a wake-up call for the country.
“Life is always there to teach, enlighten and open you up to the greater possibilities of what can be done… if you’re willing to be awake and see it,” she told The Grio. “What’s exciting to me is that people are awake. If it took Eric Garner and it took Michael Brown and other instances to do that then that’s wehre we are in our evolvement as human beings.”
Winfrey went on to say that both Michael Brown and Garner have merely put faces to a phenomenom that has been going on for years. She said that everything is happening “on time;” people are just paying more attention now.
The movie, which tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1965 voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, comes at a crucial time in our society’s narrative. Winfrey said that the thinks that the film can serve as a guide for 21st century activists.
“I really think that this film can teach people a lot, because what the film says is it’s been done,” she said. “Y’all are not the first to do it: the first to have an idea, the first to want to protest, the first to be upset. We didn’t even have the right as citizens to vote in this country, and because of that, you had Martin Luther King as a leader joining with his band of brothers with disciplined, rigorous, peaceful protests, and they had a goal and intention in mind.”