#BlackPantherChallenge sends Iowa City kids to see movie for fre - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

#BlackPantherChallenge sends Iowa City kids to see movie for free

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

A big blockbuster night is expected for the new film, Black Panther, but one large group of students is getting to see it for free as part of the #BlackPantherChallenge.

The #BlackPantherChallenge has become a nationwide movement to send thousands of kids to see the movie for free. In January, a New York man created a GoFundMe to send students from the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem to see the movie and within weeks hundreds of cities were doing the same.

Jill Humston had the idea to start one up in Iowa City. Within days, she raised enough to send over 50 area kids to the movie. The nearly $500 raised was given to the Black Voices Project, which invited young, black, high school students to see the movie.

For many people, Black Panther isn't just another superhero movie, it's a movement within itself.

The Marvel film makes history by being the first superhero flick with a predominantly black cast and the first black director for Marvel.

"It really brings a culture aspect of African Americans and their lives into the movie for people to see and on the grand scale. It's really cool," Samer Sulema, a West High School Senior, said. Sulema was one of the 58 high school students that got to see the movie for free on Thursday night because of the #BlackPantherChallenge.

In rounding up students to see the movie, Black Voices Project, reached out to various youth programs within the city. 

Hamza Omar, a Juvenile Court liaison at the Theodore Roosevelt Education Center, was one that brought students with him. He called the film groundbreaking and said it gives kids a hero they can identify with.

"Heroes that look like you and not portrayed as sidekicks but as sort of first rate hero and I think that's an important message for minority kids, especially young African Americans," Omar said. "Hey, I can be a hero too. You don't need to have superpowers but I can be a hero and also maybe that there's something to be proud of, my culture."

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