Free Movies for the Moment

I hope you’ve had an opportunity to take my advice from my post on Friday and to unwind some this weekend. I know I have. I watched Falsettos Friday night, which brought back lots of memories about the early ’80’s, both good and back. I wasn’t in love with the first act, but I laughed out loud and wept during the second act. I’m really glad I saw it. Then my son and I listened to Hiroya Tsukamoto’s concert Saturday night, which was lovely. Plus, of course I’ve been meditating, doing yoga, buying healthy, fresh, local vegetables at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market and cooking and eating them at home. So it has been relaxing.

However, this morning the minister of our spiritual center gave a talk about “Mindful Action,” which was about taking focused, spiritually-centered action regarding the important issues of our times, particularly the social justice movement centered around the Black Lives Matter campaign. That motivated me to do something this weekend besides attend to my own mental, spiritual, and physical health.

All month I have been meaning to write a post about the fact that the producers of two powerful films that address social justice for African Americans are making them available to watch for free during the month of June. Soooo, sorry, I know it’s a little late. However, while they are free on multiple platforms, they are both available for free rental on Amazon, which says you have 30 days to watch it after you rent it. So I think as long as you download them by Tuesday night, you still have most of July to actually watch them.

The first of the movies is Selma, Ava DuVernay’s powerful drama about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital of Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and other black civil rights leaders of the day:

It’s free to rent on all digital platforms, including Amazon . If you don’t have time to watch the whole movie, at least watch the movie theme song, “Glory,” by John Legend and Common, which won the Oscar for the Best Original Song in the 2015 Academy Awards. The video for the song is moving just by itself:

I’m going to see if I can get my son to watch Selma with me, so I’ll have to wait until next week to watch it because I know he is tied up tonight. So tonight maybe I’ll watch the second movie. Just Mercy is based on the true-life story of Walter McMillian, a black man who spent six years on Alabama’s Death Row for a murder that he did not commit. The police and court system ignored the dozens of witnesses who saw McMillian at a church fish fry at the time of the murder because, of course, the witnesses were black and therefore considered inconsequential.

 Free to rent on all digital platforms, including Amazon.

[Below is the video for this movie’s theme song–“Amen” by Andra Day, whose anthem “Rise Up” was our closing song for this morning’s service.]

UPDATE: When I watched the movie, I never heard this song. Apparently it was only used in the trailer, but not the movie itself. But it is a great song, so I’ll just leave it up. Its lyrics does reflect themes from the movie itself even if it isn’t in the movie.

Our minister suggested that there were three categories of Mindful Action to take in response to the current calls for change.

The first was to Educate…and I think these movies will be part of my efforts to better educate myself about the African American experience.

The second was to Activate…which to me was writing this post.

The last was to Donate… which I did after last night’s concert, which was free but included a link to an online “tip jar.” The coronavirus has been devastating for artists and musicians because all galleries and performance spaces have been closed, and that is usually the major source of income for most artists. During these times, I’ve been alternating my weekly donations between social justice organizations, the arts, the environment, and local organizations serving the economically disadvantaged in our community (in addition to tithing to our spiritual community, of course). My donations and tithes aren’t much, but if a million people each give one dollar, you end up with a million dollars.

These were wise words from a wise woman. I’m glad she “woke me up” to do more than just focus on myself and my immediate family for the entire weekend. I always say that I want to live a life of “AND” rather than “OR,” so I appreciate her inspiring me to include both self-recuperation and addressing issues in our highly interconnected world during my more-leisurely weekend.

UPDATE: I did watch it, and it was shocking to me how the Alabama justice system treated this case, even going into it knowing the basic facts. So, yes, it was a very educational movie for me. I do think it is worth watching.

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