“Freedom Writers” Teacher Erin Gruwell Visits Brooklyn Park School
The author of “The Freedom Writers Diary,” Erin Gruwell, visited Osseo Area Learning Center Tuesday to discuss the lessons she learned. Gruwell, a former teacher, wrote the book to highlight challenges students face.
“The Freedom Writers Diary” was a best selling book that turned into a movie starring Hilary Swank. The subject of that film came to Brooklyn Park Tuesday.
Erin Gruwell was a teacher in Long Beach working with youth many would call troubled. But Gruwell called them future writers. She encouraged the kids to write journal entries that were later published as the best-selling book “The Freedom Writers Diary.” Those kids went on to defy society’s expectations. All of them graduated high school.
Kids at Osseo Area Learning Center read the book and wrote her letters asking her to come visit. And she did. Gruwell talked to the students about the lessons she’s learned – and taught – over the years. Her message, she says, is simple but important.
“Hope,” says Gruwell. “And that doing bad things doesn’t make you a bad person. And at any time anyone can have that do-over. For the ‘freedom writers,’ it could have been their 50th chance. But they took that chance and it’s been an amazing ride ever since.”
Gruwell says she’s still in contact with the original freedom writers. She considers them family.