Say I was 14-15 years old, maybe even a bit older in the late 1990’s and attended Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. Also say I was in Ms.G’s English class and it felt like ‘home’ to me because it was a place where I could be myself and learn about things and people that I would never have had the chance to before. And one day I was told that this class was no longer available to come to because they decided to close their doors so the teachers could do their jobs-which clearly, was to teach and not to babysit.

I think I’d give up hope real fast. Hope for me, my friends, and even Ms. G whose class was the greatest there ever was, because she cared about listening to us and finding out what it is like to live like we do. And once you lose hope, you don’t have much to give to anyone anymore.

Miep Gies in the movie Freedom Writers, based on the true story about
teacher Ms. G (Erin Gruwell) visited the students at Wilson High since they were learning about the Holocaust. She had a line in the movie talking about no matter whether you are a housekeeper or whatever-you always have the opportunity to be a light in a dark room for someone. I think librarians area lot like that.

An excerpt from a diary entry written by teens in The Freedom Writers Diary (Broadway, 2001) reads, “Bad things have happened because people hold back information. Women get beat up by their husbands and no one can help them because they never say who did it. Children get abused and we sometimes think that everything is normal because they act as if there is nothing wrong. The Germans knew what was going on in the camps, but the world found out too late because they held back that information. There are many tragedies that could be stopped if only we spoke up more often. From this point on, I will not be silent.”

See the movie if you can and may it inspire you and others to speak up about whatever it is that we can do to not let teens give up their hope.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

One Thought on “How Might You Feel?-Freedom Writers

  1. I think the freedom is a good story is toching

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