Kelsey and I finally saw Freedom Writers last night. It was a film that was true to what happened while trying to make a connection to the book and diaries that it was really based on. I know Erin Gruwell through video projects that I did with her and the Freedom Writers after they went to college, for archiving and documentary purposes. I was moved to tears every time they worked on new material and practiced telling their passionate stories. I was honored to have worked with them and have included at the bottom of this post a page from their book that they autogrpahed and gave to me. After seeing the movie, I had to bring that out and take a look at it again.
I know how hard Erin Gruwell had to work to make what she did happen with her kids. The Long Beach School District acted exactly how they are portrayed in the film. Many of my friends from high school and college are teaching now in the Long Beach and the LA Unified School District. The bureaucracy and vain attempts to come up with ideas, get messages across and be efficient is blocked so often that many of them have thought about quitting after only a few years of teaching.
If you are interested in social change or teaching you should see the movie.
This was one of those times when people came together to make amazing connections and create brilliant ideas that caused actual change in a community and the country. Many of the writers and Erin spend most of the year on tour doing speaking engagements at schools and corporate events around the country. Just remember that true passion, the kind you need if you want to grow to your true potential, often doesn’t involve people you used to relate to. The people around you in life need to grow with you. If they don’t, you need to move on.
If you don’t want to see the movie, the book has much more emotion.