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Community activists aim to raise funds for kids to see ‘Selma’ for free

RICHMOND, Va. — From Los Angeles to New York, a national campaign is underway to offer free screenings of the movie “Selma” to 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students.

Now, two local leaders want to do the same in Richmond.

Community Activist, Melissa Brooks and Pastor Rodney Waller of First African Baptist Church are challenging Richmonders, along with area businesses, politicians and religious leaders.

They’re trying to raise enough money to provide free admission for at least 15,000 students to see the movie in Central Virginia.

The film depicts 1965 voting rights marches between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, led by a small group, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I just feel like, if we don’t keep this history alive, it’s American history,” said Brooks. “If we don’t keep this story alive and fresh in the minds of our youth, then we’re doing them a great injustice.”

According to published reports, in New York, Paramount Pictures teamed up with African-American business leaders to provide 27,000 movie tickets to students. More than 60,000 students signed up according to reports and plans are in the works to provide more tickets.

“In 2015, as we move forward, it’s going to take something to spark interest and ignite a fire in people to come together,” said Waller.

Brooks told CBS 6, she is currently consulting with Paramount for a similar deal in Richmond. In the meantime, the “Selma for Students RVA” fund has been set up. You can make a contribution at any local SunTrust bank.

Brooks said the goal is to raise enough money before Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 19.

A GoFund Me account has been set up here.

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