February 16, 2017 • 6:30PM
Dreamcatcher takes us into a hidden world through the eyes of one of its survivors; Brenda Myers-Powell. A former teenage prostitute who worked the streets of Chicago, Brenda defied the odds to become a powerful advocate for change in her community. With warmth and humour, Brenda gives hope to those who have none. Her story is their inspiration.
For twenty-five years Brenda Myers-Powell called herself ‘Breezy’ and she dominated her world, or that’s what she thought. It was a world that had turned her into a teenage, drug-addicted prostitute. After a violent encounter with a ‘john,’ Brenda woke up in the hospital and decided to change her life. Today she is a beacon of hope and a pillar of strength for hundreds of women and girls as young as fourteen who want to change their own lives. ‘Dreamcatcher’ explores the cycle of neglect, violence and exploitation which each year leaves thousands upon thousands of girls and women feeling that prostitution is their only option to survive. By following the very charming, charismatic and truly empathic Brenda, we enter the lives of young women and see in verite footage their realities from their points of view. While the world may overlook these women and men, thankfully Brenda has not, providing an unflinching expose which contrasts seeming hopelessness against the difference that one person can make in the lives of many.
After the film screening, stay for a panel discussion and Q&A featuring:
Dr. Robin P. Chapdelaine, Assistant Professor at Duquesne University in the History Department and the Center for African Studies.
She earned a Ph.D. in Women’s and Gender history and African history at Rutgers University. Dr. Chapdelaine’s research focuses on child trafficking in West Africa. Her work aims to encourage scholars and activists to seek out and understand the historical legacies that lead to current day child trafficking globally.
Elizabeth Echevarria, President, Living in Liberty.
She has worked in the non-profit world for over 20 years overseeing the human resource and financial management aspects of the various organizations. Elizabeth has a MS in Industrial and Labor Relations and has been certified through the Society for Human Resource Management as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) for more than 17 years. She completed ministry school at the RNE at Allison Park church in June of 2010. After completing Ministry School she founded Living in Liberty in February 2012 and has been actively serving and advocating for commercially sex trafficked women for over 12 years.
Ciora Thomas is a Pittsburgh native and founder of SisTers PGH, a community organization that advocates for homeless trans women and men in Western Pennsylvania looking to transition into permanent housing. As one of few trans women of color in a leadership position in Pittsburgh, Ciora is also known for speaking out about women’s rights and injustices and ensuring the rights and freedoms for transgender people. Through monthly peer groups, she provides emotional support and resources that support transgender youth and adults to develop the skills needed to live independently. Ciora has also been selected to serve on the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Council of the Mayor’s office, and serves on the board of Proud Haven, an organization that provides a safe shelter for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth/adults.
Panel moderator: India Hunter, New Voices Pittsburgh, Public Ally Apprentice and community education coordinator.