Saturday, October 17, 2009


I watched a fabulous movie today on DVD called FREEDOM WRITERS, starring Hilary Swank and Patrick Dempsey and directed by Richard LaGravenese. It is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I enjoyed it so much.

Touching and inspiring, yet at times confronting, Freedom Writers is the true story of an enthusiastic English teacher, Erin Gruwell and the challenges that she faces in her first teaching appointment at Woodrow Wilson Classical High School, in Long Beach, California. The story occurs between 1992 and 1995 and surrounds a group of students who come from a variety of multi-cultural backgrounds, that have formed gangs as a means of protecting 'their own'.

The real Erin Gruwell

Erin initially struggles to gain the respect of her students. They have little or no trust in white people. After all they say how can a white person know what they are going through.
She struggles to know what to do to turn her students around. She gives each student a diary and asks them to write in them .... anything they like ... good or bad .... poetry or stories.
If they want to let her read what they have written they can, but they don't have to and she sets up a place in her room where they can leave their diaries for her to read.
All the students leave their diaries for her to read and what she reads opens her eyes to their world.

With time and through her creativity, Erin Gruwell gradually gains the trust of her students and helps them to see that despite their different nationalities and cultural differences they are more alike than they know. She helps them to see that there is more to life than fighting against each other and killing each other in gangs. Along the way these students learn much about life and themselves and come to learn they can live together in peace and as friends.
Along the way they also learn that they can change and that they do have the ability to make something of their life.
This is embodied in her Toast for Change.
Eventually all their writing is put together to form a book call The Freedom Writers Diary. Below is the actual book that was published.

Freedom Writers, an excellent movie and one that I highly recommend and I give it 10 out of 10.

Oh that there were more Erin Gruwell's in the world.

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