Featured Speakers

NCHC24 Opening Keynote:

Erin Gruwell

Photo of a dark-haired woman wearing a black blazer and red blouse smiling at the camera.

Erin Gruwell is a teacher, an author, and an activist who has been fighting for social justice for over three decades. Erin's students - affectionately called the Freedom Writers - came from backgrounds of poverty, gangs, and violence, and many were at-risk of dropping out of school due to the school-to-prison-pipeline. But, under Erin's guidance, all 150 Freedom Writers graduated from high school and pursued higher education.

Erin's work has been recognized with several humanitarian awards, including the prestigious Spirit of Anne Frank Award. Erin and the Freedom Writers have appeared on multiple television shows to promote educational reform, including Oprah, The View, Good Morning America, and NBC's TODAY. They have also been featured on National Public Radio, numerous newspapers, and national magazines, such as People. Erin also hosts The Freedom Writers Podcast with guests who are authors, activists and civil rights icons.

Be it in the classroom, or otherwise, Erin’s powerful message of hope and possibility is sure to resonate with any audience, whom she encourages “to stand up, speak up and speak out.”