During sophomore year, Erin Gruwell has a toast for her previously unteachable freshmen, who have changed immensely with Gruwell's help, all 150 of them.
The students have an assignment to write to one of their heroes and a former victim of ethnic hate, Zlata Filipovic, and invite her to California where they share their stories.
Gruwell's students learn of a group called the "Freedom Writers" in the 60s who stood for racial justice, but were frequently attacked, but stood forwhat they believed in. The students call themselves "The Freedom Writers", referring to their diaries.
The Freedom Writers gets sponsored by many sources to spread their cause, and become popular locally, even making their diaries into a book to inspire others.
The students finally graduate, and stay a part of the Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell, who helps them find college.
Gruwell begins a lifelong commitment with this project, beginning foundations and organizations to teach others about the Freedom Writers. Gruwell hoped to inspire others to improve themselves and their communities with her and the writers' experience.