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Chicagoan Brenda Myers-Powell releases memoir ‘Leaving Breezy Street’

“…a life of uphill battles, abuse, and hustling, Myers-Powell has managed to retain her humor, attitude, and fight, all on full display in this stirring memoir…Graphic but never gratuitous, Leaving Breezy Street is engaging and candid. Those who like gritty memoirs will relish it, and it is a perfect nonfiction crossover for urban fiction readers…”—Booklist “

In advance of publication, Brenda Myers-Powell’s “Leaving Breezy Street” (June 29, 2021) has been praised for its raw beauty and delivery of the truth. Brenda is an amazing success story—from the crack ridden streets of Chicago to becoming the founder of The Dreamcather Foundation, a nonprofit that helps girls and women stay off the streets. Her upcoming book is sure to get national review attention for its gripping and honest storytelling.

Belonging on the shelf alongside Jeannette Walls’ “The Glass Castle” and Ishmael Beah’s “A Long Way Gone,” Myers-Powell’s book is a stunning debut; a heartfelt memoir about turning her life around, from a street hustling prostitute and self-described “messed up crackhead” to an advocate for victims of sex trafficking with her foundation Dreamcatcher, subject of a Sundance Award-winning documentary of the same name, and through the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking.

By the age of 14, Myers-Powell knew she had to look out for herself. She became a mother first at age 13, then had a second daughter a year later. Poor, with a limited education, and only a grandmother, whose version of tough love often veered beyond “tough,” to rely on. She did not know where to go or how to support herself and the girls, but she was pretty and funny as hell and prepared to use any tool in her limited arsenal to thrive. So, in 1973 she hit the streets of Chicago’s West Side and turned tricks, eventually renaming herself “Breezy.”

For the next 25 years Myers-Powell moved around the country always finding new pimps, parties, drugs, and endless, profound heartache. Amid the shifting landscapes she breezed in and out of, she gave and received kindness from friends and strangers. Through all those years, her family—her daughters, her brothers, her aunts, and more—waited with open arms for her to come back home. Astonishingly, she managed to find the strength to break from this brutal world, get clean, and save herself and also save girls and women just like her from a future on the streets.

LEAVING BREEZY STREET IMG 2579Memoirs like this don’t come along that often. How a Black woman living in the underbelly of American life picks herself up and rebounds is a story told by Myers-Powell with threads of joy and humor woven throughout presenting the unvarnished truth about living and leaving Breezy Street.

Brenda Myers-Powell has been advocating for victims of sex trafficking since 1997. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Dreamcatcher Foundation and has sat on the board of numerous organizations. In 2020, she was selected to serve on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Brenda’s work with Dreamcatcher and victims was the focus of the Sundance Award–winning documentary “Dreamcatcher.”

April Reynolds teaches philosophy and creative writing at New York University. Her first novel, “Knee-Deep in Wonder,” was published by Metropolitan Books and received a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Award.

“Brenda Meyers-Powell’s story is testament that there are, indeed, second acts in life. Her journey as told in “Leaving Breezy Street” is remarkable, if not chilling, as she faces a cascade of violence and betrayal, mostly at the hands of men. But astonishingly she never loses her verve or her humor and emerges on the other side not only intact but as an inspiration.”—Alex Kotlowitz, author of “An American Summer” and winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize.

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