SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's a grassroots effort that began in New York City, and is being replicated across the nation including here in the Bay Area. Several movie theaters from will show the new movie "Selma" free to teenagers, while tickets last.
"Selma" is the drama about the 1965 civil rights march led by Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand black voting rights.
"I think if people know about their past, they'll be more into their future as well because we want to make the world better not worse," said Arieana White, a ninth grader.
She will watch that movie for free simply by presenting her student ID at selected Bay Area movie theaters.
The idea began with a group of African American business leaders in New York who almost overnight raised $250,000 dollars to buy tickets for 27,000 students there.
One of those businessmen, Tony Coles, says it makes young people witnesses to a history they've only read about.
"This movie gives a representation, puts living people and images and actions and words to what was pivotal in the development of the voting rights act of this country," explained Coles.
Coles believes with the conversation about race once again front and center in the wake of protests like those over the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, the movie comes at a pivotal moment.
Black leaders in the Bay Area have quickly raised more than $150,000 dollars and counting, so 7th, 8th and 9th graders can attend the movie for free, through MLK holiday on Monday.
"The movie is all about how do you live together and how do you make peace," said Morgantane Faga, a 9th grader.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee plans to take a group of 9th graders to the movie on Monday.
"For them to see me there with them is a strong indication that I'm for their civil rights, as well as their equality, and that their lives matter," said Mayor Lee.
The demand is expected to outpace supply. If you want to donate to this effort, click here.
If you're a student who wants free tickets to watch "Selma," click here.