PRESS Release


To encourage civic participation and increase voter registration across the country, Firelight Media is offering a valuable resource to organizers, canvassers, and concerned community members; the Freedom Summer Get-Out-the-Vote Toolkit.


[New York, NY – August 4, 2014]– Fifty years after the discovery of the bodies of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, the three civil rights workers who were killed during the Mississippi voter registration effort in 1964, Firelight Media announces the release of the Freedom Summer Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) Toolkit; a toolkit designed to educate, inspire, and mobilize the next generation of voters and voting rights advocates. The toolkit will include a number of resources to assist community leaders in their quest to register voters, educate them on the historic struggle for the right to vote and promote civic engagement.

The toolkit leverages the acclaimed 2014 documentary, Freedom Summer, produced by veteran filmmaker Stanley Nelson (The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders) for PBS’ American Experience. The film documents the 1964 grassroots campaign to register black voters in the then heavily segregated state of Mississippi. It is a powerful demonstration of the courageous efforts to secure voting rights for minorities, and a reminder about the importance of protecting these rights for all Americans. The Freedom Summer GOTV Toolkit offers organizers and engaged citizens an opportunity to use the powerful example of Freedom Summer to spur present-day civic participation and voter registration work.

“Making the film Freedom Summer was a humble reminder of how precious the right to vote is — and of our shared obligation to defend that right and participate in the political system,” says Marcia Smith, President of Firelight Media. “We hope that the film and toolkit can inspire the next generation of voters and voting rights advocates.”

While the Voting Rights Act of 1965, passed shortly after the events of Freedom Summer, ushered huge advances toward voting equality, a recent Supreme Court decision (Shelby County v. Holder) eliminated important protections necessary for continued equality. This atmosphere creates unique potential to put the GOTV Toolkit to use within historically disenfranchised communities across the nation.

The Freedom Summer Get-Out-the-Vote Toolkit includes:

  • Short clips from the Freedom Summer film (ideal for on-the-ground trainings)
  • A brief history of Freedom Summer 1964
  • Information about restrictive voting legislation in 1964 and 2014
  • Strategies for reaching young African American, Latino and women voters
  • A list of resources for continued action on voting rights

Thanks to the generous support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the toolkit is available as a free resource, in both Spanish and English, and can be delivered digitally, on a DVD or flash drive. A form is available to request a copy of the GOTV Toolkit here:

About Firelight Media:

Firelight Media is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing talented documentary filmmakers who tell stories about people, places, cultures and issues that are underrepresented in the mainstream media. Firelight Media was founded in 1998 as an independent non-profit production company and has been best known for producing high-quality powerful productions for PBS and its dynamic educational outreach campaigns.

Press Contact:
Sonya Childress
Director of Partnerships and Engagement
[email protected]