Raben Initiative

March on Washington Film Festival

Illuminating the mistold stories and connecting activism to the American civil rights movement.

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Why Did We Create the March on Washington?

History is the framing of facts to suit the purpose of the teller. In our country, particularly around our civil rights movements, those facts have been manipulated … but justice and equality require us to tell the truth.

The March on Washington Film Festival (MOWFF) uses the power of the arts — film, performing arts, visual arts — to illuminate the mistold stories of the American civil rights movement and connect those lessons to today’s activism. The festival has engaged audiences of all races, ages, and backgrounds through a dynamic arts-based retelling of our shared American story. And, through our social justice filmmaking curriculum, we are equipping a whole new generation of storytellers.

This festival finds, encourages, and brings to life stories of both icons and foot soldiers from the Civil Rights Movement. It was created to educate, inspire, and motivate people to better understand our history.

The Goal

It’s critical that stories of everyday activism are captured before they are lost in the annals of history and that they are taught accurately to the next generation. When we educate and make people aware of our shared history and teach that each person can have an impact on bending the moral arc of the universe towards justice, we realize how similar we are to one another, and we empower each other to build stronger and cohesive communities. We bridge the persistent divide between generations and different lived experiences and create sustainable change as lessons are passed down to inspire tomorrow’s foot soldiers.

Our world, as beautiful as it can be, continues to need repair; each of us does our part, but it seems never enough. One necessary condition for healing is truth so that all of us operate from a shared and understood set of facts on how we got to where we are, and what needs to change.​ The March on Washington Film Festival, the product of so many creative and passionate minds and hearts, is a national platform for this conversation: to better tell our stories, to honor those who have paved the way, and to better understand how our story connects to our future.

Robert Raben Founder