Teen FREEDOM WRITERS, photographers tell their stories

& teach humankind to become closer, better

Monday, 02 July 2007



        "An enemy is one whose story we have not heard."
                        - Ms. Gene Knudsen Hoffman

1.  STORIES in writing

     TEACH WITH YOUR HEART is a book by Erin Gruwell you cannot have until next year -- January, 2008. 


     Who is Erin Gruwell?
     How has she helped to move alienated, hopeless people from war to peace, from isolation to cooperation and creativity together?
     Erin Gruwell was a singular, novice teacher who took on the lowest-potential, gang-orientated  high school students she could have found -- youth at war with families, peers, teachers, and themselves. 
     She found a way for them to save their lives while discovering their wings -- their humanity, intelligence, beauty, importance, imaginations and trust in each other and life.

     At the core was this --  Erin Gruwell gave the youth their voices, by shepherding them to write their own Stories.
     All 150 students graduated from high school.
     FREEDOM WRITERS is how they are known today. 

     FREEDOM WRITERS DIARY is the book of their stories.
     Hilary Swank made the movie -- FREEDOM WRITERS -- a real how-to for humankind,  a must-see for practical steps to move us humans toward our highest . together
     SEE THE TRAILER and find the DVD are at http://freedomwriters.com/
     LEARN MORE about Erin Gruwell's students, and her experiences teaching and learning.


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2.  STORIES in photos

     Story is the real power to transform people and relationships everywhere -- http://traubman.igc.org/story.htm .
     In the Holy Land, SIDE-BY-SIDE is a new photographic dialogue between young Israelis and young Palestinians whose family members have been killed in the ongoing conflict.


     The youth are guided by PhotoVoice, a London-based initiative that encourages documentary photography worldwide.
     Citizens who have traditionally been the subject of photos and films are assisted to become the creators.
     The subjects now have control over how they are perceived by the rest of the world, while simultaneously learning a new skill which can enhance their lives.

     SIDE-BY-SIDE was initially due to begin in the summer of 2006.
     It was was delayed because of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

     Mohammad, a 13-year-old Palestinian from Hebron, describes why he joined the project.
     "Israelis can see we're not terrorists, and we can see they're not all soldiers on checkpoints."
     Nitzan, a 14-year-old Israeli Jew expressed: "We can all see each other's photos to learn about the real lives of the other side, not only what we see on TV."
     "I hope this project can connect our lives with the world," wrote Sameh, age16 and Palestinian.
     "It's the start, it's not the end," Lior Melzer says of the first workshop.
     "You take a small stone and throw it in the water and there are ripples.
     "This is what we do."
     SEE PHOTOS captured by the Israeli and Palestinian youth participants.


     Grasp these youth-photographers and their lives.
     Know the "other" better, wherever you live.
     Replace fear with familiarity.
     Through creativity.
     On the road to real freedom.
     Where every Story, every person, every relationship and each new idea matter.
     And make a difference.

                - L&L

     Finally, READ the full story:

Fresh lenses trained on ME conflict

By Saeed Taji Farouky

Abu-Ghosh, Israel

Published by BBC News -- 30 January 2007