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Voting Begins Today in Hartford

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Voting polls opened at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, and Hartford residents trickled into polling stations to cast their ballot for who they think should lead the capital city of Connecticut.

This year’s elections are being held in 165 out of 169 municipalities in the state. In addition, voters will choose mayors, town council members, constables and a treasurer to be local leaders who have an impact on city issues.

Registering to Vote

You can take part in Election Day registration at a designated location in each town from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

To register in person, you will need to provide proof of identity and residence. Check with your town hall for details on where to go and what you need to bring. You must be registered by 8 p.m. in order to vote, according to the website for the Secretary of the State. 

Secretary of State Denise Merrill said that Connecticut has improved its Election Day cybersecurity systems by installing extra firewalls and expanding virtual oversight of each town’s server.

No formal word yet on how the state is addressing voter suppression in the city of Hartford, which some residents say includes covert operations to undermine voters, removing names from the voter records, physically prohibiting voters from showing up at the polls in the city and other unchecked towns across the state.

Seats Up for Grab

Luke Bronin, the incumbent mayor easily won the Democratic Town Committee’s nomination and the September primary beating out other challengers such as State Rep. Brandon McGee, former Hartford mayor Eddie Perez, media owner J. Stan McCauley, Author and Publisher Aaron Lewis, Union Organizer Michael Downes and Business woman Giselle Gigi Jacobs.  All the candidates wanted to unseat Bronin because, they said, he was not doing a quality job of serving all of the city’s neighborhoods.

In addition, Bronin was accused of media suppression of ethnic publications by working with political operatives—some federal workers—to undermine black journalists.

See ballot here.

There was only one woman in the mayoral race, Jacobs. She spoke about the “divide and conquer” strategy used in the run up to the elections for a majority of the city, which comprises of Latinos, Africans of varied ethnic groups including native born and West Indians, as well as other minorities.

The city council seats that are hotly contested include Row 2A with Thomas “TJ Clark” who was endorsed by the Democratic Party. So was Nick Lebron on Row 3A; Maly D. Rosado on Row 4A; Marilyn E. Rossetti on Row 5A;  Shirley Surgeon on Row 6A; James B. Sanchez on Row 7A.

The council seats facing a challenge are mainly with TJ Clark, who is running against Republican Party candidate, Theodore T. Cannon, Working Families Party Joshua Michtom, Green Party Mary L. Sanders, Second Chance Party Corey J. Brinson, The Hartford Party John Q. Gale, Petitioning candidate and rJo Winch.

The shocker in this election is that Winch, who was always endorsed by the Democratic Party for more than a decade, was not considered a viable candidate, sources said.

Other contested seats include Lebron’s on Row 3A by Republican Party Gary Bazzano and Working Families Party Moise Laurent. Also, petitioning candidate Suzann L. Beckett is also in the running.

Also, Maly D. Rosado on Row 4A is being challenged by Working Families Party Wildaliz Bermudez.

Democrats Shirley Surgeon has no challenger on Row6A and James B. Sanchez, also a Democrat, has no challenger on Row 7B.

On the back of the ballot, Hartford residents have only one choice in who will be treasurer: Adam Cloud, a Democrat.

The four candidates for constables are Ellen S. Nurse, Radames V. Vazquez, Ronnie E. Walker and Mamie M. Bell. The Republican candidates for constables are Randy Correa and Ronald J. Perone.

Election Fraud Alert

The Office of the Secretary of the State and the State Election Enforcement Commission jointly run an Election Day hotline. If voters encounter any problems at a polling place, they should contact the hotline at 866-733-2463 (866-SEEC-INFO) or

Results are also available on the Secretary of the State’s website at

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Hartford Guardian Begins Fall Fundraising

HARTFORD — Starting Nov. 1, The Hartford Guardian will launch its fall 2019 fundraising drive to raise $20,000 by the end of the year.

Since its founding in 2004, The Hartford Guardian has prioritized transparency and integrity in its reporting. The online publication exists to build communities by doing quality journalism to cover every neighborhood in the city of Hartford and we put accountability at the forefront.  

The staff and volunteers of The Hartford Guardian believe this is the type of journalism that cannot wait.

That’s why we’re excited to share an opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR DONATION this year. We have been selected to participate in NewsMatch, a national matching-gift campaign that drives donations to nonprofit newsrooms around the country.

Last year alone, NewsMatch helped raise more than $7.6 million for 154 news organizations in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.   

Here’s how it works.   


Visit the


For a nonprofit like us, the staff say, this is a big deal and will help us deliver the kind of innovative journalism you’ve come to expect, every day.

Donations from readers like you enable The Hartford Guardian to deliver high-quality journalism that challenges conventional wisdom and investigate issues that impact our communities.

Donate Now

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Police ID Resident Hit By Car

HARTFORD — Police are still investigating a hit and run accident that left a 71-year-old grandmother dead after she was on her way to the grocery store.

The woman was killed when she was hit by a car fleeing the scene of a shooting last Thursday afternoon.

The incident occurred around 2 p.m. at Garden and Westland streets. One car was parked when another pulled up. The passengers in the cars began arguing and it led to gunfire being exchanged, WTNH 8 reported.

When one of the cars attempted to flee the scene, the driver backed up, hitting the woman, who was identified as Yvonne Smith. One of the cars then crashed into a building a few blocks from the shooting scene.

Smith, who was going to the store to get bread and milk when she was struck and killed, was considered a “grandmother of the neighborhood” who cared about her community. Her daughter, Bridget Smith, told WTNH that her mother was a “really good person, she could make you laugh.”

A 16-year-old suspect was remanded to the Juvenile Detention Center and charged with first-degree manslaughter, evading responsibility resulting in death, and second-degree larceny. Police said those charges may be upgraded.

Investigation into the crime is ongoing.

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Kids in the Hall’S Star Kevin McDonald Comes to Hartford

HARTFORD — Wanna learn about theater? Learn from the Kid’s in the Hall’s star, Kevin McDonald. Then watch his show. All shows take place at the Sea Tea Comedy Theater, 15 Asylum Street, Hartford, CTGet your show tickets here. The Kevin McDonald master class takes place at Sea Tea Improv Studios, 75 Pratt Street, Hartford, CTRegister for the workshop here.

Saturday, November 2nd at 7:00 PM

Kevin Cheaters in Love is Kevin McDonald’s rock opera about love, cheating, New York & the 90s. And it’s funny. And Kevin sings!

Oh, that’s a bad thing. But Kevin will be joined by several fellow performers who can sing, along with live musical accompaniment, and that’s a good thing.

Stand-Up, Sketch and Improv with Kevin McDonald

Sunday, November 3rd at 7:00 PM

Tickets are just $20 for this big comedy show featuring stand-up artist by Kevin McDonald. Seating is limited!

Kevin McDonald Workshop

Don’t miss this chance to learn from one of the best, right here in Hartford!

Saturday 11/2 Workshop

10:00 am to 5:30 pm with a one-hour break for lunch

Bring a script for a sketch: Each student for this workshop will come in Saturday morning with a script of one comedy sketch that they have written. (Important: your sketch should be one that works for stage only — please do not bring in a sketch that’s meant to be filmed.)

Bring copies for all roles + 2: Bring enough copies of your sketch for people to read the scripts out loud. For example – if the sketch has 4 members in the cast, you should bring 6 copies. Four scripts for each cast member, one for someone to read stage directions and one for Kevin. If you have a sketch with 5 parts in it, you should bring 7 copies. If there are only 2 actors in the sketch, you should bring 4 copies, etc.

Bring a laptop / notepad & pen: Students will edit and re-write their sketches.

Sunday 11/3 Workshop (2-Day Students Only)
10:00 am to 5:30 pm with a one-hour break for lunch

Learn Sketch Comedy Acting: On Sunday morning, Kevin will talk more about sketch comedy but this time, about acting and not writing.

Rehearse with Kevin as Director: The class will start rehearsing the scenes, one by one with Kevin directing. (When rehearsing, students can read the scripts from their phones — the goal will be to memorize by the show that night.)

Collaborate: Everyone who isn’t in the scene that is being rehearsed will be watching and providing feedback. Everyone helps re-write, rehearse and work on all the sketches. We are creating and producing a sketch show, together. Everyone will be in 1 to 3 sketches. At the end of the day, Kevin & students do sort of a dress rehearsal in preparation to perform the sketches in the show, that night.

Sunday 11/3 Performance! (2-Day Students Only)
7:00 pm
A big show featuring stand-up comedy by Kevin McDonald, sketch comedy by & featuring the 2-day students, and an improv show with Kevin McDonald!
For more information visit or call 860-578-4832.

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State Charges Hartford Woman With Fraud

HARTFORD — A Hartford social worker was arrested today and charged with cheating Medicaid out of thousands of dollars by using other social workers’ names to bill for services the government health care program would not pay her to provide.

Kathleen Service, 63, of Farmington Avenue, Hartford, was arrested by Inspectors from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and charged with one count each of firs degree larceny for defrauding a public community, health insurance fraud and first degree identity theft, and two counts of third-degree identity theft.

According to the arrest warrant, Service is a master’s level social worker and principal of Unlimited Family Services, LLC, an independent counseling practice in Hartford.  In December 2017, the Department of Social Services, which administers the state’s medicaid program, notified all master’s level social workers, including Service, that they were no longer eligible to bill the medicaid program for counseling.

In July 2018, Department of Social Services notified the fraud unit that Service apparently had skirted the 2017 termination notice by continuing to bill the medicaid program using the credentials of other eligible enrolled providers who were unaware of such billing, the warrant states.

Subsequent investigation by the medicaid fraud unit Inspectors revealed that Service used the credentials of three other providers to collect more than $151,960 for some 1,722 claims for counseling she could not bill medicaid for in her own name. Medicaid is a federal and state taxpayer-funded program that provides health care to low and no-income individuals.

Service was released on a $100,000 surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Oct. 17, 2019.  

Service is facing up to 20 years in prison.

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A Fall Message: To Our Readers and Supporters

The crisp, autumnal breeze in 2004 did more than stir colorful leaves on our city’s streets. The gentle wind ushered in a revolutionary concept onto Hartford’s media-filled landscape: The Hartford Guardian.

Sixteen years ago, the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization, gave birth to The Hartford Guardian to fulfill a mission: report and write relevant news and deliver pithy, in-depth analyses on issues that impact Hartford’s neighborhoods. Also, The Hartford Guardian set out to unify neighboring factions by sharing quality and in-depth news from each of the city’s 17 neighborhoods with one goal: Hartford will truly be one city, one people.

It was a lofty goal then. It’s a lofty goal now. But we believe this goal can be achieved if we approach it in the right way with the right people.

Today, I’m proud to say we are on our way to fulfilling our mission. We have found new friends, who believe in our mission and have pledged to support it. We have covered local, state and federal governments, as well as social issues that impact not just Hartford but the state and the nation. This approach gives us hope. That’s because we have proven to be a small news publication with big impact.

It wasn’t easy, though. At times, we almost faltered. News of The Hartford Guardian, a new paper in an already newspaper-filled town, was greeted with skepticism. But that was soon drowned out by an overwhelming show of appreciation. Subscriptions increased and readers flooded our inboxes with encouraging words.

Small Paper, Big Impact

My staff and I sincerely thank our readers, who have supported us over the years. I’m proud that you enjoy our print publication and our online news site.

The recipe for our existence is quite simple: your support from subscriptions, monetary donations, and voluntary service. So we ask our readers who support The Hartford Guardian to go to our website at and subscribe to our newsfeed, give a tax-deductible contribution, or volunteer your professional services.

In the meanwhile, keep enjoying or four-day a week postings online. And look for us in spring 2020 with a new face and a revived passion for our mission.

Take care.

Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D., President & CEO

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Hartford Police to Investigate Rogue Cop

HARTFORD — Hartford police are investigating one of thier colleagues: Officer Jay Szepanksi.

As a result of this investigation, Szepanksi is no longer in his current role. He was assigned to the property room, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Szapanksi is accused of using social media to post profane language about Hartford residents.

Former Police Chief James Rovella speaks to journalists as Hartford CouncilmanThomas “TJ” Clarke looks on ; Photo by CTMirror

While authorities stress his alleged posts don’t represent the entire Hartford Police Department, Hartford residents are not surprised by this behavior. They want immediate action to what clearly is an affront to many hard-working individuals who live in the capital city.

William Francis Moffett Jr posted this on Facebook: “Terminate the officer immediately.”

Another Hartford dweller named Allen Freeman asked: “ Where are all the ‘Good cops” flooding the comments section standing up for residents and calling out these Bad cops publicly?”

National Unrest Sharpens CT’s Focus on Police Community Trust

Interim Chief of Hartford Police Jason Thody released a statement saying, “Public trust, faith, and police legitimacy are essential requirements to be an effective police officer. Making comments that tend to diminish officer-credibility, erode public truck (sic), and bring discredit to the Department or to the officer can lead to an inability to police in the City.”

Thody also added, “Officers should be mindful that, while the Department supports legitimate expressions of free speech, such expressions are not without restrictions.”

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin also responded to those posts saying in part, “The vast, vast majority of our officers view the chance to serve our city as a privilege, and posts like this do a disservice to all the men and women of our department who work so hard to build and maintain relationships of trust, respect, and partnership.”

There has been much criticism of Hartford Police Department for its lack of diversity. Residents over the years have made several complaints about officers who abused thier powers. Internal investigations seem inadequate to address this malfesance evident in the city. And so residents were disappointed over what seems like entrenched racism, xenophobia and sexism.

NBC: Former Hartford Police Officer Arrested After Assaulting Two People

Since 2014, there has been abuse of power reported under former Police Chief James Rovella. Rovella resigned on February 15, 2018 amidst accusations of an alleged cover up of grand larceny charges and theft of services against political operatives, including several police officers, Rovella moonlighted with during President Barack Obama and Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administrations and re-election campaigns.

The Hartford Guardian: Blumenthal, Bronin, Meet With Hartford Officials to Discuss Ways to Quiet Tensions, Police Brutality.

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Secret Investigation After Adam Lanza Shooting in Newtown Prompts News Series in Hartford

HARTFORD — In December 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The killings reverberated across the country—and most definitely here in Hartford.

Under the supervision of Lt. Paul Vance, the message one year later to journalists was clear. There was no definitive or singular reason for the Newtown massacre, according to reports by the Connecticut State Police. State police detectives investigating the Dec. 14, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda St. in Newtown talked to several practitioners as they pieced together Lanza’s history of mental health treatments.

In Greater Hartford, several locals, including undercover policemen, state police, secret service and the office of the chief state attorney, claimed they were concerned about whether the mental health facilities failed Lanza; and they contacted The Hartford Guardian in January 2014. After identifying themselves as authorized officials doing an investigation in secret, they also claimed they wanted to investigate medicaid fraud and hospitals.

Additionally, they wanted to observe the state of mental health facilities in Connecticut, namely in Hartford, Farmington, Middletown and New Haven. In each case a reporter was followed by undercover agents to decipher the make up of the staff, the quality of care and details that contributed to mental health disparities in the state. This wasalso undertaken by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

The Hartford Guardian, an award-winning, hyper-local publication based in Hartford, was asked to participate while other journalists, gadflies, federal, state and local officials secretly watched with special microscopic devices. The Hartford Guardian was among the few journalism organizations that got to see the inside of these  facilities and can give a cogent report. There were multiple stories that came out of this five-year investigation and many firings and retirements. (Several firings or retirements in the state and federal government reportedly came out of this secret investigation: Aug. 4, 2014 with three simultaneous departures; Feb. 4, 2015 with Dan Pfeiffer, April 22, 2019 with Dan S. Cohen; Feb. 15, 2018 with Hartford Police Chief James Rovella; the March 20 announcement of David Rosado’s retirement; the August announcement of Kevin Kane’s retirement).

Adams and other reporters are eager to tell thier stories that came out of visits to these hospitals involved in this investigation: John Dempsey Hospital, Hartford Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Yale University Hospital and Connecticut Valley Hospital.

See other related reports:

Hartford Courant: Citing Safety Concerns, Feds Move to End Medicare Funding at Connecticut Valley Hospital

CT Mirror: Prospect of Detox, psychiatric bed cuts worries hospital officials

NBC Connecticut, Len Besthoff

WFSB, Investigative Team

The Hartford Guardian would like to follow up on its 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 coverage of this secret investigation that allegedly came out of President Barack Obama, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Mayor Pedro Segarra’s administrations.

So far, we are mulling over several concerns presented to us and would like our readers input: 

The methodology proposed? Use a seasoned journalist to go inside these hospitals to see how the staff treat her as a patient—not a young white man such as Lanza.

By using a journalist that has worked in the state for more than 30 years, these secret investigators theorized, it would be established that she was not hiding the fact that she was a trained journalist. Other measures were taken to ensure her safety from threats by health employees and lobbyists.

 Here are some of the findings in these hospitals that are worth tackling:

  1. Psychiatrists and psychotherapists in hospitals and outpatient care are overwhelmingly white females. In some cases, they are culturally incompetent and erroneous in documenting cases. In some cases, workers falsify records.
  2. Psychiatrists and social workers are sometimes forced to  give a diagnoses quickly because they must produce a diagnosis for billing.
  3. If you are a Christian, the mental health facilities can allegedly be used to seemingly persecute believers. This is one of the most astonishing findings in our research. This was an allegorical case, which involved targeting Christians and claiming he or she is akin to Icarus. According to Greek mythology, Icarus is the man who escaped imprisonment by flying too close to the sun.
  4. Mental health facilities can also be used by corrupt politicians to imprison and undermine a political opponent.
  5. Forced medications can be used to silence or kill someone over time—based on their deadly side effects, especially because of wrong dosages and frequency.

If you or anyone have experienced any of the above or have been forced into a mental health hospitals on a Physician Emergency Certificate, especially using black magic or Santeria, contact us. The PEC can sometimes be used like the draconian vagrancy laws popular in the 1700s. You can reach us at to be a part of our investigative series about your experience in mental health facilities. To help sponsor this important series, donate today. See link here.

The Hartford Guardian would like to thank the International Center for Journalists for hosting the Community Health Reporting workshop for helping to fund the beginning of this investigation in June 2014. This project was inspired by an October 7, 2008 death at Sands Apartment in Hartford, CT.

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CONNPIRG to Host Voter Registration Day

HARTFORD — Trinity College students will join a massive push nationwide to register voters.

The event, scheduled for Sept. 24 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will be at Mather Hall at Trinity College, 300 Summit St.

Student volunteers will be encouraging others to write down the reasons why they’re voting on a banner, which will be displayed at future New Voter Registration focused events.

The voter registration drive is to encourage young people, who make up the largest and most diverse group of potential voters in the country. But youth voice is often unheard because young people don’t vote in enough numbers, organizers said.

 In 2018, 31 percent of eligible young voters cast a ballot, compared to an average of 50 percent for the entire population of voters.

The goal of this year’s National Voter Registration Day is to increase participation in democracy by registering, educating, and activating students in the campus community. CONNPIRG students are partnering with campus officials, faculty and other student groups to ensure that Trinity students have the ability to exercise their most basic right—the right to vote.

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God, The Church and Race in America

 By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D. | @annmarieadams

Life is full of turning points, moments when certain aspects of the human dimension hinges on a single crucial choice. April 4, 2014 was a turning point for me as a Christian.

That’s because the Hartford Police Department interrupted my relationship with God, while I was attending a Catholic church and exploring other faith-based organizations in the Greater Hartford area. Those officers and others disrupted my learning about the ritual of making the sign of the cross, praying, saying penance and singing to God. This disruption was disturbing and can be seen as an act of religious persecution. Out of that kind of interruption by the police, several providential acts occurred, and this, too, can also be considered a continuation of my spiritual journey that began in 2001.

Since 2001, I have visited several other churches in the Greater Hartford area to find a church home that inspires me. I visited ones that seemingly met the criteria: Pentecostal, Protestant, Anglican and Catholic churches after I left my first home church: The African Methodist Episcopal Church, where I learned about liberation theology. It emphasizes social concern for the poor and political liberation for the oppressed. This notion is akin to Portuguese educator Paulo Freire’s pedagogy of the oppressed. When teaching, I strive to adopt this approach to reach my students.

Of course, that pedagogy and liberation theology in America hinges on the Civil Rights Movement that sees the Bible, particularly the exodus from Egyptian slavery, as a parable of the struggle for black freedom. To me, black liberation is also a spiritual journey and is fit for almost every African American who desire true freedom.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams explains her
spiritual journey toward God.

So as a history professor and a journalist, I was interested in tracing and parsing the power of agape love, the kind of love for God, country, and family that propelled me to a comfortable place in life. So I was not restless—just looking for a church to not only worship God but to learn more about God’s second coming and his principles.

Since visiting different churches as a child, I found many pastors don’t often preach about the Holy Spirit. After much thought, I had questions: how will we know when God comes? The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 2 that God will come “like a thief in the night.” But those who are evil and want to persecute Christians can come just like a thief in the night, right?

This was the case in 2014. Several thieves attacked me in my home just like that. I reported the incident to the Avon and Hartford police departments. And there was no resolution. Instead, there was a series of denials and covert retributions, including media suppression. And those sequence of events led me on a spiritual journey toward being fully aware of the dangers of sharing publicly the joys of being a Christian.

The painful fact is that we live in a time when religious persecution, the systematic mistreatment of an individual or a group is rampant. These persecutions will not be televised. So how do we arm ourselves against such treachery that invades our lives while at home?

On my journey toward edification, I arrived in Hartford.  That’s because I wasn’t able to find a church elswhere that dealt directly with the daily battle for souls. I didn’t find a church that comforted me in a time of spiritual warfare instigated by outside forces, wrestling with high principalities during presidential election seasons. I believe some pastors lack sufficient knowledge about the Holy Spirit and therefore fail to impart fully the essence of the Trinity: God, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As a historian, I was forced to trace this disconnect between these pastors and the biblical events happening in these times: spiritual warfare, diseases, heathens persecuting Christians at night by disrupting prayer time, interfering with reading the Bible, interrupting church attendance, theft and destruction of property, beatings, torture, incitement of hate and other forms of harassment.

God is love. Photo courtesy of

I don’t know much about theology, meaning the study of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But I know this much is true: I experienced the joy of being in the moment with God on earth—a magnificent bright and white light ferociously tethered to the heart, soul and body. Pastor John McHugh authenticated that experience for me, and the uncertainty of the existence of God disappeared, especially after McHugh confirmed the encounter. And of course, I thank God for showing me his Mighty presence. That’s because my faith was strong. But I needed proof that there is a God . And God came to awaken me to his wondrous blessings.

And after that encounter with the Mighty God in 2015, I went to Good Friday service and kissed the cross. The cross shook in its wooden cradle. During the veneration of that cross, I discovered that God’s love is indeed fierce. It was a extraordinary and powerful moment. And like a tidal wave, rushing into me, God love was really fierce and forceful.  And for the first time, I felt deeply what it meant to be dating Jesus. I’m at a new church now. Let’s see what God has in store for me.

Related Articles:

What does God look like? Depends on your politics and race, study finds

Religious Persecution

All About Following Jesus

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is an award-winning journalist and historian. She has worked for the Hartford Courant, the Washington Post, People magazine, Fox News and NBC 4 New York. She received a Ph.D. from Howard University and teaches U.S. History. @annmarieadams

Photo Courtesy of Fairmount

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