July 3, 2023 — Are you ready to become a Freedom Writer?


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Are you ready to become a Freedom Writer?

Episode 10, July 2023: This month on the Distance Learning Roundtable — Join hosts USDLA's executive director Pat Cassella and international education expert Dean Hoke, managing director of Edu Alliance, as they interview teacher and author Erin Gruwell, founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation.

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Monday Morning Magic from Inkandescent® PR + Publishing Co.It’s an honor to be the communications director for the US Distance Learning Association (USDLA), an organization that, since 1987, has helped thousands ramp up skills as online educators, students, and business professionals.

To help spread the word about the importance of distance learning, last fall, we launched the Distance Learning Roundtable, a podcast and video show hosted by USDLA’s executive director Pat Cassella and international education expert Dean Hoke, director of Edu Alliance, a consulting firm for colleges and universities. When we learned that Freedom Writers founder Erin Gruwell would speak at USDLA’s National Conference in Orlando, July 17-20, we immediately invited her to be our July guest on the show. Today, we proudly release that episode and are honored to share Erin’s latest book with you, Dear Freedom Writer.

About Freedom Writers Founder Erin Gruwell — A teacher, author, and activist fighting for social justice for more than 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 and the Freedom Writers have appeared on multiple television shows, including Oprah, The View, Good Morning America, and NBC’s TODAY, to promote educational reform. 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: 

Until next Monday: May you have the courage to share your stories of hardship and hope. You never know who you might inspire. — Hope Katz Gibbs, founder and president, Inkandescent® Inc. Inkandescent.us

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