"Freedom Writers" is inspired by a true story and the diaries of the real Long Beach teenagers after the L.A. riots, during the worst outbreak of interracial warfare. Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank stars as Erin Gruwell, whose passion to become a teacher is soon challenged by a group of Black, Latino, and Asian gangbangers who hate her even more than they hate each other. When Erin begins to listen to them in a way that no other adult has ever done, she begins to understand that for these kids, getting through the day alive is enough- they are not delinquents but teenagers fighting "a war of the streets" that began long before they were born. Erin gives them something they never had from a teacher before- respect. For the first time, these teens experience a hope that maybe they might show the world that their lives matter and they have something to say.