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Erin Gruwell

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5 out of 5

Founder & Executive Director of the Freedom Writers Foundation; Education Reform Advocate

Erin Gruwell

Speaker RatingSpeaker RatingSpeaker RatingSpeaker RatingSpeaker Rating
5 out of 5

Founder & Executive Director of the Freedom Writers Foundation; Education Reform Advocate

Travels From Travels From:
Long Beach, CA, USA
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Erin Gruwell Biography

Erin Gruwell is a teacher, an author, and an activist who has been fighting for social justice for over two decades. She first gained national attention in 1998 when she and her 150 students appeared on an ABC special–PrimeTime Live–with Connie Chung.

Gruwell's students - affectionately called the Freedom Writers - came from backgrounds of poverty, gangs, and violence, and many were at-risk of dropping out of school due to the school-to-prison-pipeline. But, under Gruwell's guidance, all 150 Freedom Writers graduated from high school and pursued higher education.

In 1999, Gruwell and the Freedom Writers published their book, "The Freedom Writers Diary," which detailed their unique journey from hardship to hope. The book became a #1 New York Times bestseller and was adapted into a major motion picture, Freedom Writers, starring two-time Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank as Gruwell. The film brought Gruwell's work to an even wider audience, and she has since used her platform to continue her fight for equity and inclusion with her non-profit, the Freedom Writers Foundation.

Gruwell's work has been recognized with several humanitarian awards, including the prestigious Spirit of Anne Frank Award. Gruwell and the Freedom Writers have appeared on multiple television shows to promote educational reform, including Oprah, The View, Good Morning America, and NBC's TODAY. They have also been featured on National Public Radio, numerous newspapers, and national magazines, such as People. In 2019, Gruwell and the Freedom Writers were the subjects of the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart. Gruwell also hosts "The Freedom Writers Podcast" with guests who are authors, activists and civil rights icons.

In 2022, Gruwell and the Freedom Writers Foundation released their latest book, "Dear Freedom Writer." This critically acclaimed book combines heartfelt letters written by the next generation of student authors with deeply personal responses from the original Freedom Writers.

Be it in the classroom, or otherwise, Gruwell’s powerful message of hope and possibility is sure to resonate with any audience, whom she encourages “to stand up, speak up and speak out.”

Erin Gruwell Speaking Topics

  • Becoming A Catalyst For Change

    Erin Gruwell helped 150 of her students • many of whom were written off by the education system • to use the power of education to write a book, graduate from high school and attend college. In her inspiring presentation, Gruwell tells the story of this extraordinary journey • from poverty and despair to hope and promise • with stops at Anne Frank's House and Auschwitz and then on to Capitol Hill and Congress.

    Erin challenged her students to overcome the seemingly insurmountable problems of poverty, racism, violence. How can we all become role models for tolerance, respect, and cooperation? Erin Gruwell teaches us all how we can become "Catalysts for Change."

  • Nurturing the Leader Within

  • Teaching Tolerance

    In a scene from the hit movie Freedom Writers, a film based on Erin Gruwell’s experiences as an English teacher to inner-city Los Angeles youth, a Latino student is drawing a derogatory picture of a fellow black student. Intercepting the racial correspondence, Gruwell is reminded of a caricature she had seen from the Museum of Tolerance—Holocaust propaganda of a Jew made to look like a rat. Drawing parallels between her students’ ignorance and the prejudice of the Nazis, Gruwell captures the attention of her class by pointing out the seriousness of their actions and the implications that can follow.

    In a through-provoking presentation, Gruwell explores the very situations that have led us towards conflict in the past and how tolerance and understanding could have prevented such negative outcomes. A true proponent that one person can make an extraordinary difference, Gruwell inspires us all to embrace the concept of changing lives by teaching tolerance.

  • Achieving the Impossible: Become a Catalyst for Change

    Erin Gruwell found herself the teacher for a troubled group of students who had been dubbed unteachable. The tale of how this first-year teacher encouraged these wayward inner city kids to redirect their lives, forego rampant drugs and the violence that pervaded their neighborhoods is the story recounted in the best-selling The Freedom Writers Diary. From the stark reality of one seemingly innocuous event in the classroom, she sparked a chord in the students that led the class to name themselves the Freedom Writers. Over the course of a few months, Gruwell empowered the class to re-chart their future and go on to become college students, published writers and citizens for change.

    In a powerful presentation that leaves audiences cheering, Gruwell parlays her story into ways the audience can improve their performance and productivity by asking "what can I do to make a difference?" Gruwell speaks to the authenticity and stamina needed to fuel change. An emotional connection with your work and life goals is a powerful force that can produce an unstoppable vision against all odds. Gruwell speaks from her heart, customizing every speech to her audience and shares:

    How even little events can fuel transformational change

    How to develop an environment of trust and communication

    Ways that individuals can become catalysts for change in their own lives

    How to harness your own personal power and determination to accomplish success that others may not think is possible

Erin Gruwell Videos

  • Walden University: An Interview with Erin Gruwell
    Walden University Interim President Dr. Ward Ulmer and Freedom Writers Foundation Founder Erin Gruwell discuss opportunities for educating diverse...
  • Freedom Talk #1: "What Storytellers Do"
    Erin Gruwell talks about the Freedom Writers story and what it means to use your voice to stand up for justice.
  • This Teacher Taught The Impossible
    In a scene from the hit movie Freedom Writers, a film based on Erin Gruwell’s experiences as an English teacher to inner-city Los Angeles youth, a...

Erin Gruwell Books

  • Dear Freedom Writer: Stories of Hardship and Hope from the Next Generation
    Dear Freedom Writer: Stories of Hardship and Hope from the Next Generation
  • Teaching Hope: Stories from the Freedom Writer Teachers and Erin Gruwell
    Teaching Hope: Stories from the Freedom Writer Teachers and Erin Gruwell
  • The Freedom Writers Diary Teacher's Guide
    The Freedom Writers Diary Teacher's Guide
  • Teach with Your Heart: Lessons I Learned from the Freedom Writers
    Teach with Your Heart: Lessons I Learned from the Freedom Writers
  • The Freedom Writers Diary (20th Anniversary Edition): How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them
    The Freedom Writers Diary (20th Anniversary Edition): How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them

Speaker Lists Featuring Erin Gruwell

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  • What topics does Erin Gruwell speak about?

  • Where does Erin Gruwell travel from?

    Erin Gruwell generally travels from Long Beach, CA, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Erin Gruwell for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Erin Gruwell for your next private or corporate function.
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Erin Gruwell is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Becoming A Catalyst For Change, Nurturing the Leader Within, Teaching Tolerance and Achieving the Impossible: Become a Catalyst for Change. The estimated speaking fee range to book Erin Gruwell for your event is $10,000 - $20,000. Erin Gruwell generally travels from Long Beach, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Liz Dozier, Keith L. Brown, Doug Lemov, Nikki Giovanni and Rodney Robinson. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Erin Gruwell for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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