"Freedom Writers" tells the tale of an extraordinary high school class in Long Beach, California who, by learning about World War II, through the book, Diary of Anne Frank and others, broke a cycle of violence and failure in their inner city. It shows how one teacher (Erin Gruwell) transcended deep-rooted prejudice and a struggling education system with reading, writing, energy and genuine faith in her students. And it reveals the resiliency of youth to overcome generations of hardship to forge a new future for themselves and those around them.
Room 203 was a ghetto within a school, a place with gangs, guns and nonexistent expectations. Room 203 became the site of an academic miracle, a place where the wider world was suddenly real and relevant to the students, where dazzling success was the norm and where the students were motivated to give back to society. This is a story about one maverick teacher and a group of teenagers who overcame the odds.
After surviving their tough urban neighborhoods and graduating from high school the students and teacher went to Europe (Auzhwitz, Birkinau, Amsterdam, Hague, Sarajevo, London) to see some of the places and meet some of the people who, through their writing, helped change their lives.
Today, "Ms. G's kids" are in college and have jobs they'd never dared to dream about. They've published a book The Freedom Writers Diary (Doubleday), traveled the world and brought members of Congress to tears and a standing ovation. Their journey from despair to hope lies at the heart of this personal and national drama and is the central theme of our film.
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