Erin Gruwell: The Original Freedom Writer Empowering Students, Faculty and the Community

November 19, 2013
07:30 PM - 08:30 PM
Cultural Events
Hanes Auditorium, Elberson Fine Arts Center

Erin Gruwell has earned an award-winning reputation for her steadfast commitment to the future of education. In 2007, Paramount Pictures released Freedom Writers, starring Oscar winner Hilary Swank as Erin. The film is based on The Freedom Writers Diary, the New York Times bestseller that chronicled Gruwell’s extraordinary journey with 150 high school students who were discounted by the education system. 

By fostering an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, she transformed her students’ lives. She encouraged them to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves and others, and ultimately re-chart their futures. With Gruwell’s support, they chose to forego teenage pregnancy, drugs and violence, to become aspiring college students, published writers and citizens for change. They dubbed themselves the “Freedom Writers” in homage to Civil Rights activists, called The Freedom Riders.

Gruwell founded the Freedom Writers Foundation and published in the Freedom Writers Diary Teacher’s Guide from which she currently instructs teachers around the country how to implement her lesson plans into their own classrooms. Proceeds from the sale of her books directly fund the Freedom Writers Foundation. Gruwell and her students have appeared on numerous television shows, including Oprah, Prime Time Live with Connie Chung, The View and Good Morning America. Their story has earned them dozens of awards, including the Spirit of Anne Frank Award.

Sponsored by the Office of Cultural Events, the Department of Teacher Education, and the Salem College iLEAD program, made possible by a grant from BB&T.

Reception and book signing follows the talk.

Gail Adams