If you exercised your right to vote this week, you probably rolled up to the polls, handed over your ID, picked some names, got your sticker, and left. It hasn't always been so easy for all Americans, though, a topic that's explored in director Ava DuVernay’s new film Selma.
The film follows Martin Luther King Jr. during the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when demonstrators thrice marched from Selma, Alabama to the state capital of Montgomery. The aim of the marches was to spur President Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial discrimination at the polls. Each time, participants were met with extreme resistance, violent opposition, and police brutality.
The film feels especially important in the wake of several states' extremely stringent voter-ID laws that became a major issue during this Tuesday's midterm elections. Additionally, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act. David Oyelowo stars as Martin Luther King Jr., and the cast also includes Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Carmen Ejogo, and Lorraine Toussaint.
Watch the stirring trailer for the film ahead. It'll make you feel extremely grateful the next time you cast any sort of ballot.
Selma opens nationwide in on January 9, and in select theaters on December 25 — just in time to make the Oscars cutoff.