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Trinity College Taps Katie Couric for 2014 Commencement

HARTFORD – Katie Couric, the host of Katie, a daily syndicated daytime talk show, and Yahoo News global anchor will be the featured speaker at Trinity’s 188th Commencement on May 18.

An award-winning journalist and TV personality, Couric is also a devoted cancer research advocate, documentary film producer and author of The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives.

Couric served as a special correspondent for ABC News, contributing to ABC World News, Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America, This Week, and primetime news programs from August 2011 to December 2013.

katie-couricHer steady rise in television news occurred over a 15-year span as she co-anchored NBC News’s Today and became the first solo female anchor of a national nightly news broadcast as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. At CBS News, Couric also contributed segments to 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning and primetime specials.

In addition to her TV career, Couric authored The New York Times bestseller, The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives.

A tireless advocate for cancer research and awareness, Couric is a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), an organization that has raised nearly $200 million to accelerate research and get new therapies to patients more quickly. 

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Christians Celebrate the Hope we have in the Easter Message.

By Glenn Mollette

Unfortunately, millions of Americans are faintly holding on. They are holding on to the instilled American dream they saw in grandpa or even mom and dad. It’s about the attainable dream of living securely with a job, a house, a car and trips to the grocery store. Don’t forget a trip to the doctor when necessary. Many Americans can remember people in their family retiring at 55 – 65 years old. Those ages seemed old then but not so old today.

glen mollettIn the middle of today’s political chaos, government shutdowns and the national finger-pointing blame game, many Americans keep hoping. Years ago many of us were instilled with belief, faith, hope and dreams. We were taught that you don’t give up. We heard, “When the the-hartford-guardian-Opiniongoing gets tough, the tough get going.” We heard about independence, liberty and that eventually with enough work, faith and focus life would settle in and work out.

We heard about the power of people helping people, the great United States of America and that all things with God are possible. Today, many see our country as a place of “me-ism.” Fewer people are confident that we can count on our government leaders to make wise choices and to look out for the people. While mega churches are flourishing thousands of churches have closed their doors due to lack of interest.

America is more desperate today than we’ve been in a long time. Overall, America is desperate for government leadership to stop fighting and do something. We’re tired of hearing about the evil Democrats and the hypocritical Republicans. We’re tired of the unemployment numbers and hungry Americans living in the streets. We’re weary of worrying if there is any future for our children. We don’t want another ten- year trillion dollar war that we can’t afford and takes the lives of our innocent children and parents. We just want to get past all of this mess, but it never ends and is ever growing.

This week there is a shining example of someone who taught us about hope and making a real difference. He went more than the second mile, helped others, cared for the sick and the poor and actually had some very wealthy friends. His name is Jesus. He was a friend of sinners, loved people and humbled himself even unto death. His life changed our world. He was a problem solver and a grave conqueror.

Sadly, America must hope and pray this Easter that our political leaders might become what we elected them to be – servants of the people. They are not servants but they are supposed to be. Our entire planet, from Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama, Kim Young-Un, Hassan Rouhani to all of us caught in the crossfire, could turn our planet around if we would all become more like the one man who Easter is about.

Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author.  Contact him at   Like his facebook page

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Author and Activist Kevin Powell to Keynote Luncheon

HARTFORD — Author and activist Kevin Powell will be the guest speaker at Passing the Torch Luncheon: Faith vs. Fear event at Central Connecticut State University on May 17.

The Brooklyn native is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary, and hip-hop voices in America today. He was born and raised by a single mother in Jersey City, New Jersey and is a long-time resident of Brooklyn, New York.

thHe is the author of 11 books, including Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King: Blogs and Essays. A fixture on the pop culture landscape the past several years, Kevin was a cast member on the first season of MTV’s “The Real World”; has hosted and produced programming for HBO and BET; written a screenplay; hosted and wrote an award-winning MTV documentary about post-riot Los Angeles (“Straight From The ‘Hood”).

Walk Worthy Brands was founded by Daemond Benjamin, a native of Hartford, CT to promote positivity and empowerment among men of color in the Greater Hartford community. The premise for Walk Worthy Brands derives from Ephesians 4:1 “I, therefore, prisoner of the Lord, beseech thee to walk worthy of the vocation of which you were called.”

Walk Worthy Brands encourages individuals to live a life of purpose, determination and upliftment. The Passing the Torch Luncheon is an effort to encourage young people to be the best they can be, by celebrating exemplary models of the best of our tradition.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For tickets contact: Daemond Benjamin and/or 860.881.8594. Tickets are also available at:


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Choose One America: Obamacare or Reparations

By Ann-Marie Adams

With only one day left to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, opponents are still removing logic and common sense from arguments that tout the ACA as unsound. Basically, they don’t want to subsidize insurance premiums for Americans on the government exchange.

This debate, seen as another attempt to gut the law, comes weeks after the Congressional Budget Office released a report that says the ACA, or Obamacare, would nix 2.3 million jobs. According to some, this would shake the foundation of the American economy.  Most recently, a divided federal appeals judge said it was “an unmitigated disaster.”


Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsBefore we move into hyperbole, we should examine the drawn-out brouhaha (more than 50 attempts to repeal it) over the ACA in an uncomfortable context.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionThe health care law, otherwise known as Obamacare, allows uninsured people—mostly poor whites, the elderly and people of color—access to health insurance. The main arguments against it are that universal healthcare—found in other developed countries, is too costly for America—the richest nation on the planet. And Americans will become lazy and work less because they have access to healthcare.

Sounds ludicrous? It is.

But I would urge some opponents of universal healthcare to consider the life of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman whose cells were taken without her consent and then used to develop cures for polio, vitro fertilization and other vital scientific breakthroughs in science.

This fascinating topic was recently discussed at the Avon Free Public Library. Two of the Lacks family members participated in the discussion. The series offered an opportunity to explore not just health, ethics and race but the healthcare industry itself.

For more than 60 years, the healthcare industry made billions from Lacks’ cells. And today the Lacks family still wonders why their mother’s immortal cells did so much for science, and they can’t afford health insurance. After all, some in the Lacks family argue, their mother’s He-La cells benefited “the whole world and all they got was her Bible and medical records.”

The story of Henrietta Lacks’ immortal cells is both amazing and unsettling. And the question of how race played into her healthcare is not difficult for some of us to answer. That’s because we know that race is a central theme in America. And it is well established that race affects healthcare delivery and outcomes.

This is not an attempt at what some people would call “race hustling.” It’s about highlighting certain facts in American history. I’m aware that many Americans have not studied U.S. history. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us who did should acquiesce to them.

Consider this: In 1951, a scientist at Johns Hopkins took slices of the woman’s tumor and decided to grow them, so he could “figure out the causes of cancer.” This is long after doctors found a dime-size tumor on her cervix. They kept sending her home until she protested and begged for admittance, so she could be treated. By then, her body was riddled with cancer.

UnknownThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book based on the Lacks family, details the encounter.  And people are rightfully asking whether this family is owed something for thier contribution to humankind. This is a good conversation to have amid the tired healthcare debate over whether to repeal Obamacare.

I think giving access to healthcare for the Lacks family and others in similar situations should be favorable over reparations. At least, this is one way of looking at it. Or perhaps it’s time Americans opposed to Obamacare choose: universal healthcare or reparations?

Some would argue for both.

Interestingly and ironically, the same argument used for not paying reparations has been used in the Lacks family’s case. Many are quick to offer statements and questions like: It’s impossible to calculate how much money is owed. Those who did the crime did their time on earth and died. And who would pay?

In both cases, the consequences of those past actions by individuals and institutions still linger. The Lacks story, among many, illustrates the need for universal healthcare in America.

Americans should consider universal healthcare as a human rights issue, or think of universal healthcare as payback for all the historical wrongs done not just to the Lacks family for “the good of humankind” but to all those other wrongs done in the name of science.

The most famous one in public memory is the Tuskegee Syphilis study, which began in 1932 and ran until 1972. In this study, the United States Public Health Service conducted an experiment in watching black men died from syphilis. The doctors didn’t tell these men they had syphilis. And they didn’t get healthcare. This story, like many, illustrates black oppression and medical neglect.

The Tuskegee case is more prominent, however, because it happened to black men. But there are other lesser-known atrocities, which happened to black women. Besides the Lacks case, we have the notorious J. Marion Sims, the so-called father of gynecology who used enslaved African women as experimental subjects.

These stories are known because the records exist. And unless we want to have more reasons to dig up America’s past medical atrocities, we should perhaps silence the chatter about repealing Obamacare.

If talk about a repeal of Obamacare persists, we should juxtapose that discussion with a public debate about reparations.

I’m so ready for that.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is the founder of The Hartford Guardian. Follow her on twitter @annmarieadams.

Photo: Ann-Marie Adams/The Hartford Guardian: ( l to r): Shirley Lacks, Victoria Baptiste, Dr. Robbin Smith.

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CT Legislators Approve Minimum Wage Hike to $10.10

UPDATED: Friday, March 28, 2014, 9:55 a.m.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Connecticut will increase its minimum wage to $10.10, sealing its place in history as the first in the nation to have a minimum wage that closely matches the rate of inflation.

That’s because the state’s General Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill to increase the minimum wage in 2017.  The House’s vote was 87-54. And the Senate’s vote was 21-14.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will sign the bill on Thursday.

Support for the bill’s passage came from all quarters, including the state’s largest AFL-CIO union.

minimum-wage-hartford-ct“Raising the minimum wage will help reduce our state’s income gap — the 2nd largest in the nation — and helps us retain young workers who are on the verge of leaving the state because wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living,” said Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano. “Our members are excited that the Governor put forward this plan, and that the Legislature acted on it so quickly.”

Currently, the state’s minimum wage is $8.70 per hour, which when adjusted for inflation, is below the rate it was during when it was first implemented under the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration in 1938.

According to a recent study, about 90,000 Connecticut workers earn the minimum wage. And more than half the minimum wage earners are women. The age for the average worker is 35.

State Sen. Eric Coleman championed the passage of the bill, saying: “Working families across Connecticut will see a genuine change in their day-to-day lives as a result of the legislation we passed. Faced with the costs of housing, food, utilities, car maintenance and gasoline, our current minimum wage isn’t sufficient for many families to make ends meet. This will help our families and lift them up at a time when they need it most. We can be proud that Connecticut is leading the way on this issue.”

The state’s legislative move comes after Malloy’s campaign and President Barack Obama visited Connecticut on March 5 to push for a nation-wide increase of the minimum wage.

In a statement to the press, Obama said: “I hope Members of Congress, governors, state legislators and business leaders across our country will follow Connecticut’s lead to help ensure that no American who works full time has to raise a family in poverty, and that every American who works hard has the chance to get ahead.”

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch agreed.

“Increasing the minimum wage will not only help more families make ends meet in Bridgeport, but will serve as a catalyst for economic mobility by putting additional resources in the hands of hard-working consumers.”

Some Republicans balked at the idea of raising the minimum wage, saying a raise would curtail hiring and retard job growth.  The GOP bolstered their claim after a Congressional Budget Office released a report that says America would lose about 2 million jobs.

An author of the report has since said others have misinterpreted the report. And the Obama administration has vigorously refuted that claim.

Furthermore, many small and large businesses support the minimum wage increase, according to a Bloomberg poll.

Similar proposals are being considered in, among other states,  Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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FUNdraising Good Times: Six Things To Do as a Board Member

By Mel and Pearl Shaw

Calling all nonprofit board members: Do you sometimes wonder what value you bring to the nonprofits you serve? Do you wish you were more engaged, or that “they” took more advantage of the talents you bring to the board? We have the solution for you: take initiative! Don’t wait for someone to ask you to get involved.

Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw

Here are six things you can do between now and the next board meeting to energize yourself and your fellow board members. Choose one or more that sounds like fun to you. Each can help engage new supporters, increase awareness and raise money. These tips work if you are involved with university, a grassroots organization, or any size nonprofit in-between.

First, write a thank you note or personally call a donor to thank them for their gift. Allocate five minutes for the conversation. Ask what encouraged them to give and what attracts them to your organization. Listen. Respond to any questions they may have. Thank them again.

Second, invite a potential supporter to visit the organization’s facilities and observe its programs. Agree on a date and time to meet at the nonprofit and tour together. Request that a staff member join you – one who can share information and answer questions.

Third, visit staff members to get to know them and ask “what can I do to help?” Follow through on what you learn.

Fourth, have lunch with a fellow board member to discuss how the two of you can work together to increase awareness or raise funds. Hatch a plan that can be implemented without staff involvement. Follow through on your ideas.

Fifth, make arrangements to speak before a local organization to share information about your nonprofit. It could be your church, the rotary, or your book club. Keep your comments brief and engaging.


Sixth, host a small fundraising event. Invite a few close friends and associates to your home or office for coffee or an evening glass of wine. Spend five minutes sharing information about the nonprofit you serve and ask each guest to make a gift equal to or greater than your gift.

 Before implementing these suggestions, take a moment to identify the three things you want to communicate about why you give your time and talent to serve on the board. Share these in conversation or through your presentation. Let people know you are accessible if they have questions in the future, or if they want to get involved. Share your contact information. Bring a simple brochure to share.

Anyone of these activities will extend the reach of your nonprofit. They will energize you. You will have something new to report at the next board meeting. Don’t wait for someone to “assign” you to a task. Jump in!

Mel and Pearl Shaw position nonprofits, colleges and universities for fundraising success. For help with your campaign visit or call (901) 522-8727.


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Don’t Believe the Hype Against Obamacare; Sign Up for Insurance

If you are uninsured and live in the Greater Hartford area, all roads should lead to Community Health Services on Albany Avenue to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.

Don’t believe the hype against so-called Obamacare. That’s because your insurance premium could be less than $100. And if you are eligible for Medicaid, your insurance premium could definitely be $0.

editorialbannerthumbAt this point, responsible individuals would have done research and found out the facts for themselves before they let people give them all kinds of cock and bull stories. And check this out: The people who are discouraging, or sabotaging other people’s effort to sign up, have insurance themselves. Yes, people. They have insurance.

If you want to be covered by health insurance this year, the deadline to sign up is March 31. Appointments are available for next week. If you miss this deadline, you have to wait until November to sign up for the following year. But for now, any individual could try the service for one year and judge for herself whether there are drawbacks to being on this particular insurance. Duh!

For many, it takes less than 30 minutes, with the help of a staff person, to sign up. And it’s best to go before crunch time because even now the state’s website,, occasionally malfunctions. And CHS workers and others have to call in to AccessHealthCT to sort out kinks in the system.

To date, more than 5 million people across the nation have enrolled.  And in Connecticut, more than 160,000 have enrolled, surpassing the state’s targeted goal of 100,000.  We can only think more people are not enrolled because anemic strategies have been employed to reach the people who need the insurance the most.

That’s unfortunate.

But with 10 days left to go, uninsured people should embrace the unknown and sign up today. With uncertainty, it is indeed better to be safe than sorry. And as we have seen on numerous occasions, ignorance coupled with an unexpected medical condition, can be extremely expensive.

Get to it.





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John Legend to Perform in Greater Hartford Area

TORRINGTON — Infinity Hall will present An Evening with John Legend on June 10 at the Warner Theatre in Torrington.

The nine-time Grammy Award winning artist will make his Warner Theatre debut with a brand-new live show. The All of Me Tour features Legend in an intimate, acoustic, and stripped-down setting, highlighted by guitar/vocal accompaniment and a string quartet. A singer-songwriter, producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, John Legend has revealed many personas during his prolific career.

The All of Me Tour features Legend at his best—creating an immersive experience about romance, love, hope, commitment and optimism.

The Warner Theatre box office will handle all ticket sales. Tickets go on sale to the public on March 21st, and range in price from $46.50 – $96.50.

For An Evening with John Legend tickets go to or call 860-489-7180 Tuesday – Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

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Tessanne Chin to Perform for Tri-State Fans

NEW YORK, NY — Calling all Tessanne Chin fans in Connecticut.

Chin will be giving her first performance in the tri-state area on May 26 at the Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York.

Three months after winning the 5th installment of NBC’s “The Voice” competition, the Jamaican songbird  will get her first opportunity to perform for her many fans in the tri-state area when she headlines the first annual Oracabessa Festival – ‘A Celebration Of Caribbean Culture’ – at Roy Wilkins Park on Memorial Day, Monday. Other announced performers include Beenieman, Konshens and Assassin.

Tessanne’s anticipated performance in New York is expected to attract large support from her Caribbean fan base.

thHer last performance in the USA was on March 6 in Washington D.C., where she was a special guest of U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama at the “White House: Women of Soul” concert where she delivered a scintillating performance of the Donna Summer classic “Last Dance.”

The program, which will be broadcast April 7 on PBS, included performances by Melissa Etheridge, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, Janelle Monáe and Jill Scott.

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SCSU to Host Forum on Ukraine Crisis

NEW HAVEN – Southern Connecticut State University will hold a program on March 31 to discuss what’s called the biggest confrontation between Russia and the United States since the Cold War: the crisis in Ukraine.

The Ukraine, a nation of 46 million, occupies a strategic position between Europe and Russia. Ukrainian-Americans have issued a statement, saying Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) has called for Bipartisanship in US Policy on Standing up to Russian Aggression and Major non-NATO Ally Designation Status for Ukraine.

SCSU’s program, which will delve into U.S. policy on Russian aggression and other matters, will run from noon to 1:45 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. It is free and open to the public.

It will be a panel discussion involving several professors, as well as a national security expert from the University of New Haven. Panelists are expected to tackle the latest developments regarding Ukraine, including topics such as:
  • What is the fallout from yesterday’s referendum in Crimea?
  • What is the effect of Russian troops being stationed in Crimea?
  • Will Russia seek to annex or control other parts of Ukraine/Eastern Europe?
  • How should the West respond?
  • How will this crisis likely affect the future relationship between the United States and Russia?
 For additional information, here’s a link to the event Web page:
Photo: A military personnel member believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard on a military vehicle outside outside Simferopol Photo: REUTERS.

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