Erin Gruwell to Speak at ESU

November 7, 2016

A celebrated educator who helped her inner city high school students see a world outside their neighborhood will speak at Emporia State University Wednesday evening.

Erin Gruwell, author of “The Freedom Writers,” will speak on “Becoming a Catalyst for Change” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, in Albert Taylor Hall in ESU’s Plumb Hall.

Gruwell was teaching English at a Los Angeles high school in the midst of a neighborhood plagued by violence and racial hostility when she assigned her students to research the lives of people who lived and died during the Holocaust to help the students see similarities among themselves and the value of using writing to fight for social change.

Her story was the focus of the award-winning 2007 movie “Freedom Writers,” which starred Hilary Swank.

The founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation, Gruwell helps teachers implement her innovative lessons in their own classrooms. Before her public lecture, Gruwell will present to current and future teachers in Visser Hall.

During her 7 p.m. presentation on campus, Gruwell will detail the journey of her students and share how everyone can become change agents for tolerance, respect and cooperation. 

Gruwell’s time at Emporia State is co-sponsored by The Teachers College, the National Teachers Hall of Fame and the student-led Union Activities Council.

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