Rep. Lauren Underwood presented House Majority Whip James Clyburn in March at the Washington Film Festival’s John Robert Lewis Lifetime Legacy Award at this year’s gala.
Running until October 11, March started at the Washington Film Festival last week with the biggest opening night gala in its history. The festival’s goal is to “tell, celebrate and raise awareness about the countless events and icons and foot soldiers, celebrities and singers, about the civil rights movement.”
“Stories of courage about the history of our nation are everywhere – hidden from ordinary eyes,” said the festival’s founder Robert Ravens. “March about Washington [Film Festival] is honored to bring these stories to life. ”
The festivities began last Thursday night with a grand gala inside the Union Marks outdoor Dock 5 facility. Rep. James E. Clyburn, Majority Whip and the third-ranked Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, was honored with the John Robert Lewis Lifetime Legacy Award in 2021 while the award-winning filmmaker Sam Pollard and Donors of Color Network were also presented with their own “March On Awards”.
Several members of Congress as well as dozens of educators, journalists, students and business leaders showed up.
The inaugural festival was first founded in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of March in Washington for Jobs and Freedom and attracted more than a thousand attendees over two weeks at venues across the district. It has since grown into a year-round program of screenings, panels and webinars featuring a diverse group of filmmakers, political figures, thought leaders and activists. But the annual film festival is by far the biggest draw, with fans traveling to Washington from all over the world.
In 2021, the festival consisted of a hybrid series of both personal and livestreamed events, not only because of the pandemic, but also to cater to a growing international audience. Over the years, tens of thousands of participants from around the world have connected through its programming, and the organizers wanted to ensure that those who could not take the tour this year could still participate.
“The fight for civil rights remains vital,” concluded David Andrusia, CEO of the festival. “This year, we honored the movement’s icons, provided platforms for today’s storytellers – and helped promote tomorrow’s pioneers.”