Freedom Writers Health Disparities Paper

Category: Movies
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Words:  747
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The film Freedom Writers is a film based on a true story that involves a teacher who was hired for a teaching job at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. The school had started an integration program which means that any student of any race was able to be admitted in the school, in which many teachers believed that caused the school’s academic success to decline. When creating her lesson plan, Mrs. Gruwell’s colleague, Mrs. Campbell, told her that the things she had picked out for her class was going to be difficult for her students to grasp.

This teacher, Mrs. Erin Gruwell, was extremely excited to start her first teaching job, but during her first day, she noticed that there was so much tension between one of her classes. She eventually learned that the tension was due to the differences in race and gangs. Many from her class grew up with the mentality of needing to “”protecting their own.”” Most of these students have seen friends and family die right in front of their eyes, along with some seeing their loved ones being taken away.

The disparity that will be discussed in this paper will be race and gang violence and how that affects the mortality outcomes and mental health of the individuals. Lastly, the difference between the beginning of the movie to the end of the movie and how the health outcomes of these individuals improved.

Race & Mortality

The gangs that were all mentioned in the film were separated by race and ethnicities such as African Americans, Latinos, and Cambodians etc., but that did not stop Mrs. Gruwell from treating any of these individuals differently. She saw past race, ethnicities, and even gangs; what she wanted was for these students to have an education. The film shows that many of these students either had a loved one who was killed due to the gang violence, fortunately, none of the students that Mrs. Gruwell taught were killed, but they were raised to do so if need be. Race and mortality had a strong correlation in the Freedom Writers film, although it did not directly affect the individual, it still impacted their mental health.

Race & Mental Health

The students in the film suffered so much hurt and loss that it affected their mental health. Some of the students are always alert of their surroundings which means it could take a huge toll on someone’s mental health. In a scene of the movie Mrs. Gruwell decides to talk about a shooting that had recently happened which stirred up the class. She then decided that these students were mentally and emotionally needing help. She then decided to create an assignment which consisted of writing in a journal that was given to them on a daily basis, no one was going to read it, this was to allow them to write down their thoughts and, in all reality, help them with their writing skills.

Eventually these students decided to read their journal out loud and even let the teacher read them, which allowed them to open up to the entire class. This allowed them to build relationships with enemy gangs and get along during school hours, this eventually resulted in the students striving to get the education they deserve, they saw their worth and their ability to do more. Studies show that writing or talking about any negative things happening in your life can boost your mental health.

This film showed how race could affect one’s mental health and life expectancy. Freedom Writers also showed how the separation of these gangs affected the student’s ability to be in a safe and comfortable environment to learn. The students started with tension and hate towards one another, but later in the film, it was easy to observe that their mental wellbeing was better than it was at the beginning of the film.

They didn’t fear as much anymore when going to school, they were more comfortable walking out in the streets because of some relationships that were built, and they were able to actually receive an education because they were in a safer environment that they were able to focus on their education. The majority of these students graduated, went to college, and/or found a stable job. The impact Mrs. Gruwell had on these student’s education was great, but the way she was able to help their mental health as will without directly targeting it was amazing.

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Freedom Writers Health Disparities Paper. (2020, Jan 11). Retrieved from

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