I might be calling this "My life..." but the fact is that this is a collective story of how a rag-tag group of kids no one expected to succeed, rose to a challenge given by a young, idealistic teacher. Our journey has taken us from hopelessness to inspired and determined. For me, the everyday can get in the way of the vision, so I try hard to stay close; close to the foundation, the Freedom Writers, and our mission to change the world - starting first with ourselves.
Now it seems the saga of the Freedom Writers has grown beyond anything we had ever hoped and taken on a life of its own. Curricula is being developed, teachers trained and battles won to allow the use of The Freedom Writer's Diary in classrooms across the continent.
Something else wonderfully surreal is in the very near future; Paramount Pictures has created a movie based on the stories the Freedom Writers told in our diary entries. I say surreal because we started out writing our stories to relieve the pain, fear and struggle we experienced daily. There is also incrediby strange to see your "ordinary" life replayed as a motion picture.
I am amazed that someone was so inspired that they dedicated and entire movie to our history, helping the Freedom Writers to further expand our reach by spreading the word in a way that we never imagined. There was also an enormous amount of effort given to ensuring the accuracy of the movie in relation to the book.
We were allowed unprecedented access to consult on the script, appear in the movie, work on the set and be part of the general creation of the film. The end result a remarkably real and honest account, with dialogue plucked directly from our book. While the entire story cannot be told in a two hour time lapse feature film, I can only hope that those who see the movie will be inspired to read the rest of the story in our book.
Since I am too close to the story and in many ways it will be my life depicted on the silver screen, I cannot offer an objective review of the movie. Such that I have, I give and I can only hope that my story and the story of the Freedom Writers will inspire, educators, leaders, parents and especially youth to have faith in the power of choice and change.
Everyone has a story, and it in those stories we can find a thread that ties us all together. That thread is our human experience.