Author to share story of survival from abuse

FLINT — Johnnetta McSwain is a woman who is not only rising above her scars: she is soaring.

McSwain, the CEO and founder of Breaking the Cycle, Beating the Odds, an organization that empowers women to break negative, self-destructive cycles that keep them from reaching their full potential, will be on hand to present highlights of her life at Real Health for a Whole Community, a free, interactive health fair to help people identify ways to adopt healthier lifestyles, at noon Oct. 11 at the Mott Community College Event Center.

McSwain is scheduled to make a brief presentation during the Health Fair, reading excerpts from her autobiography Rising Above the Scars. That presentation will be followed with a book signing in the Event Center lobby.

For a more in-depth look into the life and struggles of Johnnetta McSwain, who was featured in the Emmy-Award winning documentary The Road Beyond Abuse narrated by actress/activist Jane Fonda, please attend McSwain’s presentation scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 11, in the Mott Memorial Building auditorium. A book signing also will be included immediately following this presentation.

The Real Health for a Whole Community health fair is slated for 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. at the Mott Community College Event Center, adjacent to the Mott Library. This event, including the Johnnetta McSwain presentations, is sponsored by the Foundation for Mott Community College, in collaboration with the Universal Kidney Foundation, the Arab American Heritage Council and Jewish Community Services.

Johnnetta McSwain was born to an alcoholic and abusive mother, an absent father, and by the age of 5, viciously raped and battered incessantly by her three uncles. This victimization continued into her teen years.

She began shoplifting at 12 and dropped out of high school at 17. By 19, she had given birth to her first son, applied for housing assistance, food stamps and welfare — continuing in the tradition of her family. She was subsequently introduced to drug dealers and started dealing drugs, until she ultimately faced a felony charge.

McSwain eventually relocated to Georgia with a GED, but had a dream to become the first person in her family to earn a Ph.D. She applied and was accepted to Kennesaw State University in 2003.

In just three years, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Kennesaw in 2006. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University, graduating with a 3.95 GPA in honors in 2009, where she is currently pursuing her Ph.D.

Details: Call 810-762-0425. — G.G.

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