Thanks to a donation from a celebrity-based foundation, 250 African- American students from four San Fernando Valley High Schools experienced the historical movie, “Selma.” The Village Nation, an organization that empowers African American students to be more successful academically, gave the students this special opportunity, and was able to rent a nearby theater with the donation they received from the celebrity foundation. To make the experience even more special for the students, two of the original Selma protestors attended the post film discussion. African American students from El Camino High School, Monroe High School, Birmingham High School & Pacific Palisades High School were transported to the local theater to watch this important movie and to discuss its themes and how they relate to modern struggles. Village Nation Co-Founder and President Fluke Fluker lead the effort and saw the movie as an important tool to show young people that they are the continuation of a legacy of leaders and that they can step up and make a difference even at their young age. “I think we are at a tipping point right now in 2015,” Fluker said. “The reality is that Dr. King took the helm at twenty-two years old, so that’s only four or five years older than these kids right now. We need to start preparing them now to take the baton and take charge.”
Fluker and Village Nation were supported in this effort by the Will and Jada Smith Foundation that donated the funds to allow Village Nation to rent a local theater for the movie and their presentation. Fluker and is team brought one hundred students from El Camino high school, 50 from Birmingham High School, 50 from Monroe High School, and 50 from Palisades high school. Students arrived at the movie theatre at 9 o’clock where they were served a quick breakfast before the movie started at 9:30. After the film lunch was served and a group discussion was held to allow the students to talk about the film.
The students were surprised to learn that two of the original Selma protestors attended the post film discussion. These gentleman told their personal stories of being in Selma during the historic march and brought the subject matter of the film to life for the students in attendance. What was most unique about this appearance is that the gentlemen have never met, even though they were both in Selma. Fluker found both men living in the same general area and was able to arrange this meeting of two men who were witnesses to history. As Fluker puts it, “. We call this meeting Warriors at the Waterhole and we are privileged to be able to eavesdrop into this reunion and this conversation, and be able to touch history.”
Fluker had one main goal in hosting this event. “I’m hoping the kids will have an understanding of the sacrifice and courage that was needed to do what was done in Selma, and understand the same sacrifice and courage continues today and that they are propelled to being the change agents that they were born to be and they understand their mission and life go beyond success. It goes beyond that to the success of us as a people, as a community and as a country. “
ABOUT VILLAGE NATION
Village Nation is an organization that offers training to local junior high and high schools to help teachers better relate to African-American students. The organization offers an intensive orientation program for instructors so they analyze how they think about and relate to African-American students. Teacher are able to discover and correct any biases they have and re-enter the classroom with the knowledge and tools to help their African American students better succeed. The result of this extra support is a more productive classroom that leads students to make better choices and earn higher grades with fewer suspensions and expulsions.