UTICA, N.Y. – The author of “The Freedom Writers Diary” stopped by Proctor High School Wednesday to talk about sharing stories of struggle, a message she spreads in her 1999 book.
Erin Gruwell was a teacher in California who urged her students to keep journals and write down their troubles, eventually combining the stories to create the book. Her book was also made into a movie called "Freedom Writers" starring Oscar-winning actress, Hillary Swank.
Educators hope Gruwell’s message will urge other students to share their experiences.
Brian Saville, director of the Utica National Educational Institutions Unit, says he hopes Gruwell’s talk encourages students “to speak out when they need to speak out. To tell their story and live the kind of life they want to live. and it's also a great chance to impart on educators that you can reach these kids, you really can -- just like Erin did when she was teaching years ago.”
Utica National gave 2,000 books to local ninth-graders, in an effort to help them find their voice.
Gruwell was in town to host a showing of her new documentary at The Stanley in Utica. The viewing was free and open to the public.