Friday, May 25, 2007

An Uplifting Look at the Problem of Gangs

Last night Rose and I watched a movie on DVD. Some of the language was crude, but probably appropriate to the genre of the movie. Freedom Writers was set in the Los Angeles, California area in 1994, just two years after the Rodney King/Reginald Denny incidents ignited racial tensions. Based on a true story, the movie recounts the true story of Erin Gruwell, an inexperienced teacher that tried (at first unsuccessfully) to connect with an English class composed of several racial groups, antagonistic toward each other, and toward Ms. Gruwell herself.

Gruwell faced incredible odds. She was denied needed resources for her students, shunned by other teachers. Once she began to understand the context in which her students lived, she found ways to connect with them. Little by little, she earned their trust. The freedom writers began to write journals of their life experiences. Room 203 became a refuge from the insanity of gang-related violence, where all were accepted, regardless of their ethnicity. I don't recommend movies lightly. A person who wants to avoid all expletives should probably avoid this one. However, if one can overlook the language, the story that is told is uplifting indeed.

Rarely have I ever watched a movie on DVD, and then proceeded to watch almost all the special features on the disk. Last night, however, we did. It was a story of hope, in a world where hope has died. There was no mention of Christ, or even of God (had there been, it likely would not have been true to the real story). As a human-interest story, however, I did not regret the time I had devoted to watching.

The movie was based upon the book The Freedom Writers Diary (1999).

Have a nice Memorial Day weekend!


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