What do you march for?
Entering the cinema, I didn't know what to expect. I was going to see Selma, a January release that commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the fifty-four mile march from Selma to Montgomery, a peaceful protest led by Martin Luther King. His aim was clear: to achieve a fair, country-wide enforcement of equality-protecting laws, in order to free the black population from widespread oppression.
From our distance of fifty years, we look back on this event as monumental, effective, and inspirational. However, watching Selma reveals that there was far more to this event than the inspiration we receive today - in a word, this march was a battle.
It was a battle of ideologies and wills, threats and peaceful protests. King and his supporters faced many obstacles; overwhelmingly, Selma captures their experiences of brutal violence whilst also including scenes from King's personal life, showing how hard it was for his family to stand up for what they believed in. They received death-threats and were at the centre of false scandals, fabricated to prevent the success of King's movement.
One pivotal question that Selma raises is, quite simply, 'why?'. Why did King persevere when opting out would have been easier? Why did he continue to lead people into danger when death had already claimed some of their number?
The answer is, again, simple: because they believed in the goodness of their cause. They believed that they were bringing God's Kingdom into the world. Fighting for the lives of oppressed people, they grasped the hand of God and were thus empowered to march for justice and equality.
In essence, faith spurred them on even when they encountered danger. They understood that God held them, and so even death could be claimed a victory. Selma communicates the faith and passion that underlay their decision to persevere, showing that they valued each human life so equally and greatly that they would risk everything for others.
Leaving the cinema, I, unsurprisingly, felt completely challenged beyond the option of indifference. I realised that we, as God's people, all have a role in bringing about His Kingdom. God has a dream for each of our lives; He's placed passion in our souls for issues and people that we have to fight for.
Maybe you are impassioned to bring beauty to people's lives, giving them new joys and hopes. Perhaps you want to unchain people from insecurities. Your vision could be to end slavery. Whatever your passion is, take inspiration from the story of Selma. Esther, a young person inspired by Selma, writes: "The film was deeply inspiring and brought to life a very important era of history. It was educational, moving and challenged you about whether there's anything you believe in strongly enough to die for." What, or who, would you die for? What do you march for?
Esther Shea is 14 years old and lives in Jersey. She enjoys acting, singing, dancing and photography. She's been travelling around the US and the UK for the past three months as her Dad is on sabbatical. She's been home-schooled since September and she enjoys it!