Story of high school authors in the book ‘Dear Freedom Writer’ – L’Observateur
LAPLACE — LaPlace native Jada Brown was among 50 students from around the world selected by Freedom Writer faculty to lend their voices to the creation of the upcoming book, “DEAR FREEDOM WRITER: Stories of Hardship and Hope from the Next Generation.” .
More than 20 years ago, millions of readers discovered the Freedom Writers and teacher Erin Gruwell. Their stories, featured in the New York Times #1 bestseller THE FREEDOM WRITER’S DIARY, captured the hearts of readers around the world and later became a major film, FREEDOM WRITERS. What began in Room 203 in 1994 with a first-time teacher and 150 “unteachable” high school students would go on to build an ongoing community of students and educators working together, driven by the goal of learning. innovative.
In DEAR FREEDOM WRITER: Stories of Hardship and Hope from the Next Generation, their legacy continues as readers are introduced to a new league of freedom writers – 50 students from around the world – sharing deeply personal and powerful stories in letters to original Freedom Writers and faculty dedicated to Freedom Writers.
In these 50 letters and their corresponding responses, the Freedom Writers and Freedom Writer Teachers address issues that span generations and still impact young people today, such as struggles against abuse, racism, discrimination, poverty, incarceration, teenage parenting, mental health, self-harm, enforced boundaries, LGBTQIA+ identity and police brutality. DEAR FREEDOM WRITER brings together different voices to share experiences of grief, pain, triumph, healing and solidarity, with each story written with such courage that it demands the reader’s attention.
Hand in hand, the Original Freedom Writers and Teachers of Freedom Writing respond to each letter with a message of compassion, understanding, and profound guidance as someone in a similar situation, but who is revealed on the other side. For the reader, the result is an intensely poignant experience of watching these young authors unfold their truths to a mentor, a friend, a liberator and, in some ways, their future selves.
Since April of last year, Brown has collaborated with the Freedom Writers Family to share her story.
“It’s really an inspiration for growth. I didn’t know that other people had experienced the same things as me. That’s the healing part,” Brown said.
After the devastation of Hurricane Ida, Brown needs the help of the community to attend an upcoming book launch with fellow student authors and Freedom Writer first responders. A GoFundme for travel expenses has been set up at gofundme.com/f/help-a-student-author-get-to-her-book-launch
Brown likened the opportunity to attending a family reunion.
“I meet the people with whom I wrote the book. I meet the people I met on Zoom calls and text messages every week. I’ve been meeting them virtually for so long, for over a year now. I guess it’s like meeting my family members,” Brown said.