Meet Me At Your Well

This summer we applaud the nonprofit organizations that are changing lives — and the founders, staff, and volunteers who are helping them thrive!

Episode 10: Don’t miss the July episode of the Distance Learning Roundtable where you’ll meet Freedom Writers Founder Erin Gruwell

Listen to the podcast on Inkandescent Radio Dear Freedom Writer: Stories of hardship and hope from the next generation

July 2023: Prepare to be inspired by teacher Erin Gruwell, an author, advocate and shining light for all those who become one of her students. Don't miss our interview on this month's episode of the Distance Learning Roundtable.

July 2023: A Note from USDLA executive director Pat Cassella and Edu Alliance Group exec Dean Hoke — We invite you to tune in for this month’s episode of our podcast and video show, Distance Learning Roundtable, where for 30 minutes, we gain insights from industry experts.

Meet our guest: Freedom Writers Founder Erin Gruwell

Today’s Topic: The Power and Impact of Freedom Writers

About our Guest: Freedom Writers Founder Erin Gruwell — A teacher, author, and activist fighting for social justice for over two decades, Erin first gained national attention in 1998 when she and her 150 students appeared on an ABC special–PrimeTime Live–with Connie Chung. Erin’s students – affectionately called the Freedom Writers – came from backgrounds of poverty, gangs, and violence, and many were at risk of dropping out of school due to the school-to-prison pipeline. But, under Erin’s guidance, all 150 Freedom Writers graduated from high school and pursued higher education.

In 1999, Erin and the Freedom Writers published their book, The Freedom Writers Diary, which detailed their unique journey from hardship to hope. The book became a #1 New York Times bestseller and was adapted into a major motion picture, Freedom Writers, starring two-time Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank as Erin. The film brought Erin’s work to an even wider audience, and she has since used her platform to continue her fight for equity and inclusion with her non-profit, the Freedom Writers Foundation.

Erin’s work has been recognized with several humanitarian awards, including the prestigious Spirit of Anne Frank Award. Erin and the Freedom Writers have appeared on multiple television shows to promote educational reform, including Oprah, The View, Good Morning America, and NBC’s TODAY. They have also been featured on National Public Radio, numerous newspapers, and national magazines, such as People. In 2019, Erin and the Freedom Writers were the subjects of the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart. Erin also hosts The Freedom Writers Podcast with guests who are authors, activists, and civil rights icons.

In 2022, Erin and the Freedom Writers Foundation released their latest book, Dear Freedom Writer. This critically acclaimed book combines heartfelt letters written by the next generation of student authors with deeply personal responses from the original Freedom Writers. Be it in the classroom or otherwise, Erin’s powerful message of hope and possibility is sure to resonate with any audience whom she encourages “to stand up, speak up and speak out.”

Explore more about the Distance Learning Roundtable: