Dear Freedom Writer: Stories of Hardship and Hope from the Next Generation

New Book and Curriculum Guidance promoting Student Voice, Healing, and Connection 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 3:30 - 4:45 pm via Zoom


In 1994, Erin Gruwell, first year English teacher was given a classroom of high schoolers labelled by the system as "unteachable" in politically and racially divided Long Beach, CA. Erin encouraged her students to write anonymous journal entries about the adversity they faced in their everyday lives, giving them the freedom to express thoughts and events they had never shared before. Her students combined their journal entries and created The Freedom Writers Diary after the Civil Rights Movement, "Freedom Riders" thus launching their own movement that changed their lives and those of countless others.

More than twenty years later, Erin Gruwell and The Freedom Writers have published a new book, DEAR FREEDOM WRITER: Stories of Hardship and Hope from the Next Generation. A new league of Freedom Writers—fifty students from around the globe—share deeply personal and powerful stories in letters addressed to the original Freedom Writers. The issues raised include struggles with abuse, racism, discrimination, poverty, incarceration, teen parenthood, mental health, self-harm, imposed borders, LGBTQIA+ identity, and police violence. The originals answer each letter with a message of compassion, understanding, and profound advice as someone of similar plight, but who has come out on the other side.

Join Erin Gruwell, founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation, in conversation with an Original Freedom Writer and a new student author in DEAR FREEDOM WRITER. The authors express their personal struggles with mental health and how their teachers, communities, and the power of writing has helped them overcome these challenges.

Participants will receive a free copy of the book by mail following the event!