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An amazing and incredible direct action this Black History Month

As February draws to an end we just wanted to thank everyone who has helped make this an incredible Black History Month! The success of the ‘Eyes on the Screen’ campaign embodies the spirit of community and participatory culture, as well as the very energy that inspired thousands to engage in the Civil Rights Movement when it started. To have cultural jewels, such as “Eyes on the Prize,” hidden from the public because of some companies can make a ton of money by doing so, is a travesty. The amount of public support has shown that we are going to keep pushing until things change and we have full access to our history. There have been over 100 screenings of the film in 32 states and there still more planned for March. Lawrence Guyot says, “the important thing is to continue to have screenings”. We also invite you to email bayvets (at) crmvets.org to thank them for all of their amazing help and leadership.

We owe a huge thank you to everyone who helped make this possible—all of the people who organized screenings and lent out their personal copies of “Eyes”; all of the churches, community centers, public libraries, private homes, bookstores, colleges, art galleries and other venues that opened up space for screenings; all of the media sources who helped give this campaign (and the plight of historical documentaries stuck in copyright purgatory) a voice; the American Library Association; all of the community groups who mobilized around this issues; everyone who has blogged about this campaign; the hundreds of people who’ve signed the Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement Statement of Support.

Thank you to Congressman Lewis for his support and to Senator Landrieu for writing the anti-lynching resolution and for proposing that federal tax dollars be used to purchase the rights to historical documentaries. Support messages can be sent directly to: Senator Mary Landrieu at: 724 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510 (202) 224-5824, and to Congressman Lewis at: 343 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-3801. Please continue to let them know how much we appreciate their work.

Thank you to the Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement for their continued commitment to working on issues of free speech and inspiring an environment of engaged involvement, and for writing such a touching statement of support. Thank you to Lawrence Guyot, former leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, for all of your work on this campaign. Thank you to Blackside Inc. and to Henry Hampton for having created such comprehensive, inspiring history of the Civil Rights Movement.

We will keep fighting until copyright law serves the public interest and there is no longer a knowledge vacuum where landmark works of art become entangled in laws that have lost their original spirit; to protect intellectual property, rather than to serve as a hindrance to our collective cultural understanding. Thank you all for helping to make this Black History Month so memorable and amazing!

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