The main duty I have at my job is to screen films. Seriously. I watch a ton of movies, including porn. Some in full, but most in about 5 minute brackets. Yes, this is my job and as much as that may have excited a few of you, it gets tired, repetitive, and depressing when you hit your 5th X-Rated horribly made flick of the evening. Trust me.
Every once in awhile there is a film (99% of the time an independent film) that will stop you in your tracks, make you reevaluate life, and even make you cry (another not so cool perk of the job).
Tonight, it was Stanley Nelson's "Freedom Riders". A recount, from the past Riders themselves, on the story that shook the civil rights movement, the White House, and the world. America was portrayed as having this American dream, yet it's own Black citizens couldn't travel from city to city, by bus, in the deep South, without their lives being threatened.
The only goal they had was the right to travel through the South, from one bus terminal to another, and test the segregation laws in each city. They were greeted to fire bombs thrown on buses, extreme violence against their non-violent demonstration, the KKK, and incarceration. All of which they flipped into a positive connotation of fighting for Freedom.
The documentary goes into the politics, shot callers, and even Dr. King's reluctance to join the group, which he never did. He fought for them, but not with them. Many layers and dynamics, and I sat there watching this poignant film, saying to myself...what if they never did this?
Would I have the freedom to travel state to state, let alone country to country? Would I even be able to obtain a passport, let alone use it? If this didn't happen, what other event of this magnitude would have led to the freedom of travel?
I can only be thankful for this crusade that commenced less than a month before my mother was born. It directly, and indirectly, allows me to do what I do now with such freedom. I don't take that for granted. I dedicate a part of my journeys to the Freedom Riders. Know you are still recognized.