In 1994, Erin Gruwell an idealistic first-year teacher in Long Beach, California confronted a room of “unteachable, at-risk” students. She had intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust. She was met by uncomprehending looks—none of her students had heard of one of the defining moments of the twentieth century. So she rebooted her entire curriculum, using treasured books such as Anne Frank’s diary as her guide to combat intolerance and misunderstanding. Her students began recording their thoughts and feelings in their own diaries, eventually dubbing themselves “the Freedom Writers.” Their stories became "The Freedom Writers Diary" which climbed to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list. By fostering an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, she transformed her students’ lives. With Gruwell’s support, they chose to forego teenage pregnancy, drugs, and violence in order to become aspiring college students, published writers, and citizens for change. All 150 of her students graduated high school and many went on to college.
In 1998, Gruwell left Wilson High School and became a Distinguished Teacher in Residence at California State University, Long Beach. Gruwell later went on to start the Freedom Writers Foundation, which aspires to spread the Freedom Writers method across the country.
Gruwell's experiences are recounted in her autobiography, "Teach With Your Heart: Lessons I Learned From The Freedom Writers," the 2007 movie, "Freedom Writers" and the 2019 PBS documentary, "Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart."
All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Erin Gruwell for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Erin Gruwell speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.
Please Note: All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Erin Gruwell for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Erin Gruwell speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.
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