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Freedom Writers Podcast
58 minutes | 20 hours ago
During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, hotelier Paul Rusesabagina harbored over 1,200 refugees at the Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kigali, the capitol of Rwanda. After the genocide, Paul Rusesabagina wrote about this experience in his book, An Ordinary Man. His story was later adapted into the 2004 film, Hotel Rwanda, starring Academy Award nominated actor Don Cheadle. Following a failed assassination attempt in 1996, Paul Rusesabagina left Rwanda, but has remained a vocal critic of Rwandan president Paul Kagame. In August of 2020, Paul Rusesabagina was kidnapped by the Kagame’s government and taken back to Rwanda. He remains illegally detained there - unable to communicate freely with his family. In our first episode of 2021, Erin Gruwell speaks with Paul Rusesabagina's family about his heroic story, the international community's response to the kidnapping and how you can join the fight to #FreeRusesabagina.
45 minutes | 4 months ago
#56 Danny DeVito: Sharing Success and Empowering Everyone
On today's episode, Erin speaks with actor, director, producer and activist Danny DeVito. Danny discusses the roles that have defined his career and the projects that have allowed him to shape lives. Danny's story is a testament to the importance of charity, generosity and compassion, and we hope this conversation leaves you feeling enlightened and empowered to make a difference.
45 minutes | 4 months ago
#55: The Legacy of the Armenian Genocide w/ Nare Garibyan
On this episode, Erin speaks with educator and activist Nare Garibyan about the horrific Armenian genocide, and the lasting impact of the genocide 105 years later. Nare discusses how the Armenian diaspora work to support genocide education and recognition, and why many countries still do not acknowledge the Armenian genocide. This is a highly complex and controversial topic, but regardless of your political leanings, we hope you are able to hear the pain and anguish in Nare’s story and stand beside her in the fight for peace and recognition for the Armenian genocide.
62 minutes | 4 months ago
#54 Tess Holliday: #EffYourBeautyStandards
In this episode, Erin Gruwell is joined by world renowned model and body positivity activist, Tess Holliday. Tess shares her experiences growing up in a small Mississippi town while dealing with the trauma of body shaming and bullying. She also shares what it was like navigating a heinous act of violence against her mother and how she overcame those obstacles to chase her dreams. Today she's best known for her body positivity movement known by the hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards. We hope this episode leaves you feeling enlightened and empowered to make a difference. Purchase a copy of Tess' book: https://amzn.to/2GWlTzy
49 minutes | 5 months ago
#53 Patrick Dempsey: Dealing With Dyslexia
In this episode, Erin Gruwell speaks with actor and activist, Patrick Dempsey. Patrick speaks about what it was like to grow up with a learning disability, and the steps that he hopes educators can use to make their classrooms more accessible to all students. This interview was originally broadcast as part of the Freedom Writers Foundation's Toast for Change fundraiser. To watch that broadcast or to donate to the Freedom Writers Foundation, please visit: https://bit.ly/36cQhjK
60 minutes | 5 months ago
#52: Democracy (In One Podcast or Less) w/ David Litt
In today’s show, Erin is joined by author and former White House speechwriter, David Litt. David’s new book, Democracy in One Book for Less, was released earlier this summer, and humorously discusses the ways in which American democracy has changed since its founding and how we can work together to fix the problems in our democracy today. This vivacious discussion comedically covers many aspects of our democracy that David feels were glossed over in his history classes. Check out David’s new book, Democracy (In One Book or Less): https://amzn.to/2H0fYJJ
57 minutes | 6 months ago
#51: #BlackLivesMatter w/ Original Freedom Writers Tye and Shanate
In this episode, join Erin Gruwell as she a courageous conversation with two original Freedom Writers, Tye Leggins and Shanate Jones. They share their experiences as African-American parents, activists and veterans living during the age of #BlackLivesMatter. The episode concludes with Dr. Robert Hill, the Vice President of Student Services at Everett Community College. Dr. Hill shares with us his perspective as an African-American educator, and his hopes for a bright future ahead for all students regardless of their race.
41 minutes | 6 months ago
#50: The State of Education w/ California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond
On this episode, Erin speaks with California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. In this episode She asks Tony how he handles the daunting task of leading over 10,000 schools and 6 million students back to some semblance of a classroom amidst a global pandemic; waves of peaceful protest and civil unrest in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor; and the passing of legendary civil rights activist Congressman John Lewis.
53 minutes | 8 months ago
COVID-19 Special Episode 6: Healing From Hurting 2
In the midst of widespread protests and civil unrest following the tragic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the hands of four now-charged police officers, Freedom Writers felt compelled to rally together for a "town hall" style live broadcast we're calling "Healing from Hurting." Having come together once before in the aftermath of the LA Riots sparked by the Rodney King verdict in 1992, Freedom Writers again join together to share their unique perspective, hopes, and fears as history seems to be repeating itself. To watch the original broadcast please visit: https://bit.ly/2NC80GJ
49 minutes | 8 months ago
COVID-19 Special Episode 5: Healing From Hurting
In the wake of widespread protests and civil unrest following the tragic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis Minnesota at the hands of four now-charged police officers, Freedom Writers felt compelled to rally together for a "town hall" style live broadcast we're calling "Healing from Hurting." Having come together in the aftermath of the LA Riots that precipitated from the Rodney King verdict in 1992, Freedom Writers join together to share their unique perspective, hopes, and fears as history seems to be repeating itself.
36 minutes | 9 months ago
COVID-19 Special Episode 4: In the Halls of Congress (w/ Congressman Steny Hoyer)
In this new episode of our Freedom Writers Podcast COVID-19 mini-series, listeners will be inspired by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. During the COVID-19 crisis, Congressman Hoyer and his colleagues on Capitol Hill are working hard to protect everyone from this terrible disease. Congressman Hoyer takes us back to his early life to explain his path to becoming an influential public policymaker. He shares how he turned his pain into purpose after the death of his wife, a fellow teacher named Judy, by creating Judith P. Hoyer Early Childhood Centers to serve low-income communities across Maryland. As this pandemic persists, we hope that Steny's stories of virtue will leave you feeling enlightened and empowered to make a difference.
62 minutes | 10 months ago
COVID-19 Special Episode 3: On the Bright Side (w/ Steve Hartman)
In this new episode of our Freedom Writers Podcast COVID-19 mini-series, listeners will be uplifted by the amazing stories covered by reporter, Steve Hartman. During the COVID-19 crisis, Steve and his family are producing "Kindness 101," an educational series where Steve transforms from a reporter into a teacher. Using segments from Steve's career at CBS News, "Kindness 101" aims to teach children stuck at home during the pandemic important values such as courage, optimism, and altruism. Erin and Steve also discuss the "On the Road" segments that Steve produces for the CBS Evening News and how Steve finds heartfelt stories to lighten a usually dark newscast. As this pandemic persists, we hope that Steve's glass-half-full approach to the world will leave you feeling enlightened and empowered to make a difference.
55 minutes | 10 months ago
COVID-19 Special Episode 2: In the Field (w/ CNN's Gary Tuchman)
In this new episode of our Freedom Writers Podcast COVID-19 mini-series, listeners will get a behind the scenes look into the journalism world from Gary Tuchman, a 30 year CNN veteran reporter. Gary recounts some of his most impactful memories from his time at CNN, and shares some stories from the field as he continues to cover the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. Whether it be at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, a battlefield in Afghanistan and Iraq, or an erupting volcano in Iceland, Gary has been at the center of breaking news for nearly four decades. In the era of misinformation, Gary's moral and ethical approach to learning will leave you feeling enlightened and empowered to make a difference.
55 minutes | a year ago
COVID-19 Special Episode 1: On the Front Lines (w/ Freedom Writers Calvin Vanderhoff & Norma Bravo)
In this new Freedom Writers Podcast mini-series, listeners will get first hand accounts from the professionals addressing the Coronavirus / COVID-19 crisis. In this episode, registered nurse (and original Freedom Writer) Calvin Vanderhoff shares his horrifying experiences from the front lines of the battle against this deadly disease. These stories are gritty and horrifying, but will give you greater insight into the gravity of the current public health emergency. After Calvin, you'll hear from another original Freedom Writer, Norma Bravo, who came to this country as an undocumented immigrant, but earned her citizenship and is currently preparing to take her MCAT, attend medical school, and become a doctor. Her perspective as a medical student and mother reminds us that despite the darkness, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. LINKS: Learn more about COVID-19 on the CDC's website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html Support the production of the Freedom Writers Podcast by donating here: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/index.php/donate
65 minutes | a year ago
#49 Esther Wojcicki: TRICKs for Raising Successful People
On this episode, Erin speaks with an extraordinary mother, a prolific author, and award winning educator Esther Wojcicki. With the release of her acclaimed second book, How to Raise Successful People, Esther parallels her parenting skills from her home with her teaching tactics from her classroom. This award winning Journalism teacher and former California Teacher of the Year, has good reason to write about raising and teaching successful people. Listen to this enlightening episode to get some insight as to why. Following that conversation, you’ll hear from original Freedom Writer, Latilla Cain who, like many of Esther’s students, benefitted from the trust and responsibility afforded to her in Erin's classroom. With her newfound independence, Latilla was able to shape her future and become a masterful mentor, and mother. Show Notes: Moonshots in Education: https://amzn.to/2JauLPY How to Raise Successful People: https://amzn.to/39dQOQd The Woj Way: https://bit.ly/398cltH
54 minutes | a year ago
#48 Jane Elliott: How Discrimination Feels
On this episode, Erin speaks with educator and anti-racism advocate Jane Elliott about her seminal “Blue Eye / Brown Eye” exercise with her third grade students in Riceville, Iowa. Jane discusses how the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr inspired her to educate her students about the effects of racism and how she has made it her life’s mission to encourage others to see only one race - the human race. Following Erin’s conversation with Jane Elliott, original Freedom Writer, Tanya Payne, explores what it felt like to be an African American student in the distinguished scholars program at Woodrow Wilson High School, and how she was expected to “give the black perspective” as the only black student in her gifted class. Show Notes: Freedom Writers feature film on Amazon: https://amzn.to/32iB8JJ A Class Divided on PBS.org: https://to.pbs.org/2Iw15fD Find Jane Elliott Online: janeelliott.com
44 minutes | a year ago
#47 From Playing Miep Gies to Disney's Ursula w/ Pat Carroll
On this episode, Erin speaks with actress Pat Carroll about her role as Miep Gies in the 2007 feature film, Freedom Writers. Pat discusses what it was like to portray such a renowned character, gives insight into her job as an actor, and explores her infamous role as Ursula in The Little Mermaid. Following Erin’s conversation with Pat Carroll, original Freedom Writer, Narada Comans, reflects on the significance of Miep Gies visiting the Freedom Writers at Wilson High School, and how the Freedom Writers now give students their own “Miep Moments” when they visit classrooms around the world. Show Notes: Freedom Writers feature film on Amazon: https://amzn.to/32iB8JJ The Little Mermaid on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PjSdgU Invite a Freedom Writer to your organization: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/index.php/request-speaker Support the production of the Freedom Writers Podcast by donating here: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/index.php/donate
44 minutes | a year ago
#46 Steal a Pencil for Me: The Power of the Pencil w/ Margrit Polak
On our first episode of 2020, Erin speaks with the co-founder of Anne Frank LA and owner of the boutique talent management firm, Margrit Polak Management, Margrit Polak, whose parents fell madly in love during World War II while imprisoned at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Margrit offers insight into the lives of Holocaust survivors both during and after the war and speaks about the culture of silence which prevented many Holocaust survivors from sharing their stories after the war. After Margrit, you'll hear from Joseph Horowitz, a 13 year old student from Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley. Joseph discusses his involvement as a docent in the traveling Anne Frank exhibit currently on display in Moreno Valley, his deep connection with the story of Anne Frank both as a Jewish student and in the aftermath of tragedy at Landmark, and the importance of being an up stander rather than a bystander. We hope their inspiring stories empower you to spread hope, compassion, and acceptance within your classrooms and communities. Show Notes: Steal a Pencil for Me on Amazon: https://amzn.to/39lCMwf Invite a Freedom Writer to your organization: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/index.php/request-speaker Support the production of the Freedom Writers Podcast by donating here: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/index.php/donate
44 minutes | a year ago
#45 Jinahie: How to Express Your True Self Through Spoken Word
On our final episode of 2019, Erin talks with an innovative performance artist named Jinahie; a decorated and passionate educator, Dr. Precious Simonette; and her award-winning slam poet proteges, the “Viking Freedom Writers”. With grace and humility, our guests share some of their most personal stories and heartfelt poems, and discuss the beauty of self-expression through spoken word. Show Notes: Jinahie: www.janahie.com Invite a Freedom Writer to your organization: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/index.php/request-speaker Support the production of the Freedom Writers Podcast by donating here: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/index.php/donate
49 minutes | a year ago
#44 Gary Soto: Using Words to Bring Others Out of the Shadows
On this episode, Erin talks with renowned author, poet, and playwright, Gary Soto. With wisdom and wit, Gary recounts the academic struggles of his youth, his discovery of great poets and authors, and how he ultimately found his own life calling as an author with over 40 published works. Together they explore the writing process and delve into the themes, images, and metaphors in Gary’s work. This is an instructive and inspiring episode that will leave you feeling enlightened and empowered to make a difference. Show Notes: Gary Soto: https://garysoto.com/ Invite a Freedom Writer to your organization: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/index.php/request-speaker Support the production of the Freedom Writers Podcast by donating here: http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/index.php/donate
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