‘Freedom Writers’ inspires students at ULV
Posted April 20, 2007

The Campus Activities Board had a multicultural movie night, which featured the movie “Freedom Writers” in the Presidents Dining Room on Monday.

The film stars two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank and Patrick Dempsey, also known as Dr. McDreamy from the hit show “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“It was really a choice to combine a film in multicultural event that would inspire critical thinking,” said Sara Weythman, a junior liberal studies major and CAB Chair.

“Freedom Writers” was inspired by a true story and the diaries of teenagers from Long Beach, Calif. after the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

Swank stars as Erin Gruwell, a teacher at Wilson High School, who is challenged by her high school class, consisting mostly of African-American, Latino and Asian street gangsters.

Erin struggles, but finds ways to teach her racially divided students about racism and respect.

“I’ve seen it before and I think it sends a really good message,” said Monique Chambers, a junior biochemistry and athletic training major. “I think a lot of college students are out of touch with the issues that are dealt with in the movie. A lot of us come from these types of neighborhoods, but when we come to college, we forget to give back.”

Gruwell inspires them to pursue an education beyond high school and persuades them to write their own stories about the past, present, future, good days and bad days.

These journals were published in 1999 as “The Freedom Writers Diary.”
Because of all the hard work and dedication Gruwell put into these students, it had a negative effect with her personal life and the relationship with her husband, which resulted in divorce.

“I heard about it through CORE 305,” said David Wilkinson, a junior social science major. “It’s one of the many events that we could go to.”

About 20 ULV students and community members attended.

Some heard about it through their class or their organization.

“I’m part of the African American Student Alliance and I’ve never seen this movie before,” said Melvin S. Ward, a senior theatre arts major.

This emotionally moving and inspiring movie is a must see especially Hilary Swank’s character because she plays an incredible, endearing teacher who gives life back to her students.

Vanessa Avilez can be reached at vavilez@ulv.edu.

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