Archive | November, 2019


Lighting the way to safe, permanent homes for kids

By Josiah Brown

November is National Adoption Month.  Amid the opioid epidemicwith the number of Connecticut children in foster care increasing past 4,300 (after having earlier dropped below 4,000)— and with the total number of children under the juvenile court’s jurisdiction due to abuse or neglect exceeding 10,000 per year— let’s consider ways to help these young people secure safe, permanent homes.

All children deserve this, whether with their biological families, extended kin, or adoptive families.  Let’s also recognize people who open their homes as foster parents, during traumatic periods of transition.

Public consciousness around adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is growing. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found six in 10 Americans experience at least one adverse experience such as household violence, drug or alcohol or sexual abuse, or incarceration of a family member— during childhood.  Nearly one in six endure four or more different types of such experiences, with women and African Americans among those at greater risk.

According to the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat, “Preventing ACEs can help children and adults…. The more types of ACEs a person has, the higher their risk for negative outcomes, which will limit their opportunities.”  Dangers range from health conditions like diabetes, depression, and hypertension to struggles with school, work, and relationships.

Progress, but serious challenges remain

Connecticut is making progress in caring for children at particular riskthe fraction who, after investigation by the Department of Children and Families (DCF, which decides to keep children at home in over 90% of cases), are placed under protection.  Especially encouraging was the move, as former DCF Commissioner Joette Katz notes, from institutions to families; the percentage of children protected in residential facilities fell from about 30% to 8% between January 2011 and 2019.  She observes, “of those who remained there, many have complex medical needs.”

Such progress is bolstered by public and nonprofit actorsfrom the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused ChildrenOffice of the Child Advocate, and Connecticut Alliance of Adoptive and Foster Families, to the Center for Children’s Advocacy and Children’s Law Center.  (New Haven alone has, for example, Connecticut Voices for ChildrenClifford Beers‘r kids, and various school, university, faith-based, and hospital resources.)  Other things being equal, the aim is to return children to their families.  But if that’s not safe or wise in a specific case, having foster care and adoption available is crucial.

Judges play a fundamental role in determining a child’s best interest in such cases.  The process also includes professional attorneys and social workers, to protect children from birth to adolescence.  But these professionals often have large caseloads.  In this process, another valuable role is that of a court-appointed special advocate (CASA).

CASA volunteers can help

CASAs are volunteers from all walks of life whom judges appoint to collaborate in discerning and defending the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect.  These volunteers meet with children at least monthly, getting to know them and their circumstancesincluding teachers and social workers, foster parents and families.  Carefully screened and trained through a systematic curriculum and part of a national network recognized for improving outcomes for kids, CASAs make evidence-based recommendations to judges.  At the center: these caring, consistent volunteers’ relationships with the children themselves—with whom these adults can make a lifelong difference through one-on-one interactions at a difficult time.

The CASA network has an established affiliate in Fairfield County and a new statewide association.  This work is expanding as a result of a 2016 state law.  Until now, only 1 percent of Connecticut’s children in foster care had CASAs, reflecting an unmet need and an enormous opportunity for volunteers to get involved.  In 2019, CASA of Southern Connecticut and CASA of Northern Connecticut started up, received 501(c)(3) status, and began welcoming applications from prospective volunteers.  The first cohort will train in December and begin volunteer advocacy in juvenile courts early in the new year.  Engaging as a CASA is one proven way to help change a child’s story.  Ultimately the goal is to identify a safe, permanent home where the child can thrive.

“Help … light the way”

As Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, says: “Keeping children safe must be everybody’s business.  CASA volunteers play a unique role on behalf of some of our most vulnerable children.  Their commitment, vigilance and persistence offer hope where there has been little.  They help to light the way for these children—and for all of us.”

November is Adoption Month.  This holiday, as we cherish blessings of family and friends, let’s also think of children whose family ties have frayed or fractured.  Whether through adoption, fostering, volunteering in some other way —including as a CASA— or supporting organizations advancing such efforts, there is much we can do— as well as much to be thankful for.

Josiah H. Brown is executive director of CASA of Southern Connecticut (New Haven, New London, and Middlesex counties). Twitter: @JosiahBrownCT

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No Bail, No Justice: How Politics and Poverty Trap People in Prisons

By Christian Spencer and Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writers

HARTFORD — For Wayne Francis, the wait to get out of prison was a bit much.

Francis, a Hartford-based attorney, was charged with first-degree larceny in 2017 and had to wait more than two years before he could cobble up about $200, 000 of his $2 million bail bond to get out of maximum security prison. Some observers felt his pre-trial detention bond and delay in prison was excessive and racist when compared to other individuals in similar situations. Francis was charged with bilking clients money, up to $250,000.

Francis, now freed by his friend Barbara Frankson, was placed in a level five correctional facility, the highest and most stringent form of prison security. Francis spent 27 months in a prison surrounded by some of the most violent offenders in the state. 

“Level five is when you have lifers, murders, and Wayne was put in there with them,” Frankson said. “Innocent until proven guilty, is that what they say? He was guilty before proven innocent.”
According to Frankson, Wayne was assigned an ankle-monitor for 30 days and offered curfew after he was bailed out.

“But guess what, he still has an ankle bracelet and he didn’t get curfew. He is still [technically] in jail because he can’t get a curfew. It took him forever to get to his doctor’s appointment.”

Every year, more than 11 million people move through America’s 3,100 local jails and prisons, many on low-level, non-violent misdemeanors, costing local governments about $22 billion a year, according to a 2016 White House initiative. In local jails and prisons in Connecticut, about 550 people were in pre-trial detention.

Some of these pre-trial detentions are because of the politics of race or dire poverty. In both cases, the detainee has to stay in prison until he can afford bail.

To break the cycle of incarceration and wealth-based jailing, President Barack Obama’s administration launched the Data-Driven Justice Initiative with a bipartisan coalition of 67 city, county, and state governments, who have committed to using data-driven strategies to divert low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system and change approaches to pre-trial incarceration, so that low-risk offenders no longer stay in jail simply because they cannot afford a bond.

These innovative strategies, which have measurably reduced jail populations in several communities, help stabilize individuals and families, better serve communities, and often save money in the process, White House officials said.

Second Chance Society

Connecticut joined in on the DDJ initiative. Former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration launched its Second Chance Society initiative, signed into law in 2016, to decrease both incarceration and crime rates; a second set of proposals targeted bail and pretrial detention. But it did not pass into law. It’s unclear whether Gov. Ned Lammont will continue with this initiative.

Often, what greets a person entering the criminal justice system is a bail amount they cannot hope to pay. Francis’s bail was excessive and way above the $5,000 that the bill covers but is necessary to consider, observers said.

While prison rates have stalled and begun to decrease slightly for people convicted of and sentenced for crimes, a high—and increasing — number of people are detained in jails without conviction, according to Camille Seaberry of DataHaven. Many of these people have cycled repeatedly in and out of jail and prisons. Some are being charged only with nonviolent misdemeanors. African-Americans and Latinos are held in pretrial detention at much higher rates than white people.

In New Haven, African Americans make up 33 percent of the population but 56 percent of custodial arrests—and similar disparities exist in Bridgeport and Hartford.

Courtesy of

There is even evidence that the length of time spent in detention before trial may predict whether a person is sentenced to prison and for how long. There is also a growing movement toward more data-driven practices within criminal justice systems, such as risk assessments, though this is not without its concerns of bias, according to Seaberry.

While the Second Chance 2.0 bill failed to pass in 2016, Connecticut has built momentum toward some degree of bail reform. One promising new example, the Connecticut Bail Fund.

As a result of move, Connecticut could be the next state to reform the issue of bail bonds, a problem that continues to disadvantage thousands, who cannot afford bail sentences.

For low-income defendants with minimal bonds, a judicial committee of Superior Court judges is considering the prospect of releasing defendants while their criminal court cases are ongoing.

The proposal would require defendants to have 10 percent of the cash needed for court or a police department under a surety bond of $20,000 or less.

What is supposed to be a collateral exchange, intended to reduce the likelihood that the presumed to be innocent accused do not commit more crimes or skip their pretrial, is now the reason most inmates in jail have not been convicted.

Even if people were to be convicted of their alleged crimes, our due process system states that these individuals that cannot be punished in advance; this then raises the question: why is there a monetary policy that determines one’s freedom?

Oddly enough, holding a presumably innocent person in a jail cell does more harm than good in ensuring that the person does go to trial.

Possible Solutions

According to Dr. Christopher Lowenkamp’s research, The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention, that short-term pretrial detention for low- and medium-risk defendants may be ineffective or even counterproductive as a way to secure court appearance and prevent re-arrest.

Although the move has been embraced by the state’s Sentencing Commission, Chief Public Defender, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, many bond agencies have rallied against the potential plan, saying it would cause havoc to the legal justice system, including affecting the employment of bondsman.

“It would affect us in a bad way. It definitely puts a dent in our income. It will affect us from paying our employees,” Edward Angelillo, co-owner of Afford-A-Bail Bail Bonds, said. “New Jersey is failing. Ever since [the state has reformed it bond policies], it’s been failing. The cops don’t look for these people. How many people are wanted and were let go for free?

Bondsman like Afford-A-Bail Bail Bonds do more than offer payment plans, they force their clients, who might otherwise miss or skip due dates, into court.

“Legislators were unclear on what extent of bond enforcement. We apprehend hundreds each year, and if [our company] didn’t pick these people up, the police department are not capable of picking those people,” Brian, a colleague of Angelillo, who wish to leave his last name anonymous, said.

“Some of these people don’t comply. They don’t do what they’re supposed to do, and that’s a high risk,” Brian said.

Contrary to what Afford-A-Bail Bond said, crime in New Jersey has plunged in the past two years since the elimination of cash bail bonds, according to WNYC.

There were similar concerns about New Jersey’s initial Criminal Justice Reform Act that mostly did away with cash bail. On October 2019, California was the latest state to outlaw cash bail bonds with a referendum called Senate Bill 10 (SB-10), or California Money Bail Reform Act. The SB-10 initiative’s biggest critics are bondsmen who decry that this bill will nullify their industry, allowing suspects to leave jail before trial in between 24 and 36 hours.

However, after a steady decline in crime such as homicide and robbery by thirty percent, advocates like Brett Davidson, the Co-Director of Connecticut Bail Fund, are pushing to end cash bail bonds because they unfairly target minorities.

“The community members who suffer most as a result of the money bail system are poor people, people of color -particularly Black people, immigrants, queer and trans people, people with disabilities and chronic illness, and people with histories of violence and trauma,” Davidson said.

“The harms of pretrial detention are too many to name: eviction/ loss of housing, arrest by ICE and deportation, impoverishment, loss of healthcare, coerced plea bargains, the list goes on. A major reason why so many of our community members are being held on bail is that judges and prosecutors leverage wealth-based pretrial detention to coerce people who can’t afford bail into accepting guilty plea bargains,” Davidson said.

The result of being in a pretrial detention can cause job loss, financial hardship and the loss of child custody. The state of being in a pretrial detention can cause presumably innocent person to plead guilty and increases the risk of conviction.

According to the research in “The Heavy Costs of High Bail: Evidence from Judge Randomization,” it was discovered that defendants who are detained pending trial are much more likely to receive a custodial sentence, and to be incarcerated for a longer period, than similarly situated defendants who await the disposition of the cases in the community.

Local advocates, many of whom are broadly associated with progressive movements established around the 2016 election, have voiced their concerns about pretrial detention.

“There is no arguing whether or not person’s wealth determines their incarceration. It’s a simple fact: if you can pay, you go free; if you can’t pay, you stay in jail — and, as a result, you are at risk of losing everything,” Davidson said.

“We absolutely need to abolish this system of wealth-based jailing, but we also need to be careful not to replace it with an equally violent, racist system of mass pretrial incarceration (for example, mass preventive detention as determined by pseudo-scientific risk assessment algorithms claiming to predict likelihood of future crimes.) We want to see the abolition of money bail within a transformative program of mass liberation, community re-investment, and reparations.”

On Nov. 5, 2015, Governor Dannel P. Malloy asked the Connecticut Sentencing Commission to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of Connecticut’s pretrial justice system and investigate potentially reforming it.

The governor requested that the Commission prioritize non-violent, low-level pretrial detainees. These individuals are most likely detained because they do not have the financial resources to post bond.

Compared to New Jersey that already conducted this experiment, New Jersey pretrial jail population is in decline as of 2019, and defendants are still showing up for court appearances at about the same rate, according to

Malloy wanted the Commission to provide “an analysis of potential ways Connecticut can focus pretrial incarceration efforts on individuals who are dangerous and/or a flight risk,” according to resolution from 2015-2016.

The Director of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission Alex Tsarkov, who practices law in the Hartford area, states that, although he believes the bail bond system is one that relies on wealth, most of Connecticut’s legal proceedings are some of the best nationwide.

“We have a pretrial justice agency, there’s treatment available, validated risk assessment, uniformed state court system, and we have a culture of release, meaning we relatively release more [inmates] compared to the average state,” Tsarkov said.

Full disclosure: Wayne Francis was an acquaintance of a regular writer at The Hartford Guardian. Email if you have questions about this article or leave a comment below:

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Wooden Installs New Deputy Treasurer

HARTFORD — State Treasurer Shawn Wooden on Tuesday appointed Darrell V. Hill as the Deputy Treasurer. Hill will join the office on Dec. 16.

Hill, 48, was director of finance at Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance marketplace. Previously, Hill served as interim Chief Financial Officer for New Haven Public Schools and CFO and Chief Operating Officer for the City of Hartford, and as Assistant City Manager in Norfolk, VA.

“I’m excited to join Treasurer Wooden and his great team of professionals serving the State of Connecticut,” remarked Hill. “Throughout my career I have endeavored to serve by brining my perspective, leadership, and talents to governmental finance and administration. I have and continue to enjoy working with people dedicated to public service and look forward to doing the same as Deputy Treasurer.”

Darrell V. Hill

Hill resigned from Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin’s administration among the financial turmoil in the city. He declined to say why. But sources close to the state’s democratic party said Hill was a part of an undercover sting in the city that included former Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra withdrawing from the 2015 mayoral election. Hill was hired by the Segarra administration and was a holdover in Bronin’s administration, which claimed they were looking for people with skill and discipline to help navigate the city out of financial turmoil.

Wooden said he appreciated Hill’s executive experience, which includes working as a Senior Vice President at BB&T Capital Markets, providing municipal investment banking services for both public and private offerings in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia and other companies.

Hill also served as interim development director for Hartford in 2015 after Thomas Deller resigned amid a controversy over payments to a potential developer of Dillon Stadium.

“I’m excited to have someone with Darrell’s extensive qualifications join my team. He possesses 25 years of financial and management experience in both the public and private sectors,” Wooden said. “I look forward to him putting that experience to work in overseeing Treasury’s core operating divisions and carrying forth our mission of protecting taxpayers, pension fund beneficiaries and our investors.”

Hill holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Economics from Hampton University, VA.

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Hartford Officials Open Warming Center

HARTFORD — Cold weather is expected. And the capital city wants to help keep the homeless warm during the chill.

Hartford officials will have day-time warming centers and an overnight warming center open this week. 

Courtesy of famersalmanac

The overnight warming center will be at the Arroyo Recreation Center, and it will be open from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. beginning tonight through the morning of Saturday, Nov. 16.

“We’re opening an overnight warming center this week given the drop in temperatures we expect,” Mayor Luke Bronin said.  “We are working with our non-profit partners to make sure people who may be out in the cold know there is a warm place for them to go at night.”

Daytime Warming Centers:

Hartford Public Library, Downtown Branch, 500 Main St. and its branches. For locations and hours, please visit  

South End Wellness Center, 830 Maple Ave: Wednesday – Thursday 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Friday 8:30am – 2pm

North End Senior Center, 80 Coventry St: Wednesday – Friday 9:30 am – 3:00 pm

Parkville Senior Center, 11 New Park Ave: Wednesday – Friday 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Hispanic Health Council, 175 Main St: Wednesday – Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Hispanic Senior Center, 45 Wadsworth St: Wednesday – Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Overnight Warming Center:

Samuel V. Arroyo Recreation Center, 30 Pope Park Drive: Tuesday, November 12th – Saturday, November 16th, 7 PM – 7 AM daily.

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Organizer, LGH President Ted Carroll to Retire

After more than 30 years, community organizer Ted Carroll will retire as President next summer from Leadership Hartford. The effective date is June 30.

Carroll recently announced his retirement to the organization’s board of directors.  The board has begun a national search for his successor.

Leadership Greater Hartford Leader Ted Carroll to retire.

The LGH was founded in 1986. It trains and connects leaders in the Greater Hartford area.

“I firmly believe that our organization’s best days are ahead of us and not behind us,” Carroll said in a letter to constituents Tuesday. “My fondest hope is that we’ll continue together to lead, love and serve a community to which I remain deeply committed.”

A Hartford resident, Carroll began his career as the executive director of Hartford’s Southend Community Services, which educates urban youth on becoming economically independent. The organization is now known as Our Piece of the Pie. He was also a Hartford Board of Education member.

Carroll, in collaboration with Hartford 2000, trained neighborhood leaders from the Neighborhood Revitalization Zone program that helped to develop the nonprofit organization that produces The Hartford Guardian news publication, now

 “Ted has given LGH and our region the best of himself for more than three decades, and his work will undoubtedly influence Hartford leaders for generations to come,” said LGH board chair Jason Jakubowski, also CEO of Foodshare.

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FBI Warns Residents of Hoax

G. Shirley, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The Federal Bureau of Investigation in New Haven on Monday said that residents in urban areas may be receiving a call saying they are the subject of an FBI investigation.

FBI New Haven posted the news on twitter to warn potential victims of scammers.

The news comes after reports of locals in Avon and Hartford impersonating FBI agents, sneaking into people’s home with high-tech devices to do so-called investigations for political campaigns.

The perpetrators were unseen and anonymous people–said to be police officers in Avon and Simsbury, who stalked unsuspecting homeowners, falsify records and plant evidence, reports said.

Residents are asked to send tips to For emergencies, dial 911.

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The Cosby Show And Me

One woman’s journey after she learned The Cosby Show was based on her family in the 1980s.

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

What if I told you that The Cosby Show was partly based on me and my family during the 1980s? You would probably not believe it. But it is true.

That’s the conclusion after a seven-year investigation by private investigators and government officials. Providence guided us during this lengthy investigation when I lived in Avon, and political operatives prepared me in 2014 to run for Congress against former Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty–an academic exercise worth noting. It was during this “prep” time that I learned about this connection with The Cosby Show.

This fortuitous story of the connection began when former President Ronald Reagan visited Jamaica on April 7, 1982. During that one-day visit, Reagan’s security detail reportedly made contact with me and my family. My father was a electrical engineer, while working at the Government Printing Office. He owned a home in a suburb of Kingston. And my mother worked with a transportation company. If former President Barack Obama did not visit Jamaica on April 9, 2015, while I was covering the White House, I wouldn’t have believed this story. That’s because it was Obama’s first visit as president, and he was only the second sitting president to visit the Caribbean nation since its independence in 1962, according to MSNBC.

Also at play were these facts: In Jamaica, we were a middle-class family Reagan’s cabinet allegedly felt they should watch. After Reagan’s visit, several individuals made plans to put a family sitcom together. And it was called The Cosby Show, according to sources close to the U.S. federal, state and local governments.  The show aired on NBC from April 30, 1984 to September 20, 1992.

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Ann-Marie Adams

The Cosby Show’s character, Denise Huxtable, was based on me, I’m told. The character’s persona and likeness was exploited without our consent.

And the revelation about the origins of the show can also be found in Bill Cosby’s interview about how he came up with this idea.

Cosby first pitched the show about a working-class Honduran family. My father’s ancestors are from Honduras and Nicaragua. We had a wonderful life that included Sunday dinners and picnics in the park; but we weren’t exempt from obstacles. Although The Cosby Show was mainly focused on Cosby’s observations of family life, some of those observations were of my family. Moreover, the basic concept of the middle-class family depicted on the show is evident in my family: My older sibling wanted to be a doctor. Also, I wanted to be a lawyer. Those plans of ours were interrupted by government officials, according to sources close to the investigation.

In previous interviews, Cosby also stated the original conceptualization of the show: a working-class family that raised a successful child. (side note: Cosby’s wife suggested the show be based on a well-to do family). The original premise and casting choices for the sitcom, however, reaffirmed the initial concept in the pitch that was identical to my family and me.

So I’m telling my story.

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Ann-Marie Adams

Ann-Marie Adams and her father, whose nose, color and eyes Carsey Werner and Company executives distorted in almost all pictures

Several scenes were points of recognition of my family’s life in Jamaica and the U.S., especially my time at Brooklyn College. I also learned during the investigation that the casting directors and writers had our family in mind when they selected the actors. There are frighteningly similar personas in my family and the characters on the show. And a picture of The Cosby Show family and my family bear a striking resemblance. For example, Denise Huxtable is my doppelganger–and the investigators discovered the character’s traits are similar to mine. Theo is my brother’s doppelganger and a few scenes reflect the relationship with him and my father. Vanessa is my sister Andrea’s doppelganger and several scenes reflect her relationship between us. Rudy’s character is based on my brother. Articles about the casting claimed that the casting directors tried to find a boy at first but they couldn’t; so they used a girl for the role. Rudy is my niece Janel’s doppelganger. And the character Olivia is my other niece Franchista’s doppelganger. The optics resonate well to claim theft of services and copyright infringement.

Other similarities include Sondra, who shares traits with my cousin Carleen. Elvin is based on my brother Lloyd. Also, Aunt Vi is based on my cousin, Doreen, Lt. Martin Kindall, Denise’s husband is based on my cousin, Raymond. And of course, Claire Huxtable was based on my mother and older sister, Marcia. The patriarch of the television family, Cliff Huxtable portrays similar traits as my handsome father. Huxtable is my father’s doppleganger–not twin. Cosby’s conviction as a sex offender was not echoed in my family. In fact, my father has never been arrested for any crimes. This information, I believe, will allow people to differentiate between the actor and the individual the show was based on when talking about the circumstances around this NBC hit comedy in the 1980s and 1990s.

Photo Courtesy of The Cosby Show

Denise Huxtable and Heatcliff Huxtable as played on
The Cosby Show

In addition to those facts, several scenes were premised on the interpersonal dynamics of the relationships between me and my sisters, brothers and cousins. This was too much of a coincidence to those who were investigating us during the recent investigation and prep for Congress. The public must know that The Cosby Show itself is a creation by several actors, comediennes, writers and producers who may be unfamiliar with our family. However, a few undisclosed individuals close to recent investigation of Bill Cosby and the creation of the show gave me this information. So the very idea that it was based on our family was plausible to investigate further, officials said. I also learned that the 1990s spin off, A Different World, was based on me and my years at college. And the show, That’s So Raven, was based on my niece, Franchista.

Why we were picked for this social experiment will perhaps remain a secret to Reagan, his staff and others close to the show. The Caribbean’s strategic location to the Panama Canal gave us a clue as to why our family was at the center of a Cold War project. We requested other documents to uncover this mystery and are still waiting. Also, the United States Secret Service has disallowed open documentation of Reagan’s visit to Jamaica in 1982. But one thing was clear. After this revelation to me while I was covering the Obama White House, my family and I were the victim of a hate crime and cover up–because of the revelation of our connection to The Cosby Show.

Cosby and his associates are suspects in this crime, using unorthodox methods by Lansana Koroma of Philadelphia. So I reached out to Andrew Wyatt, his publicist. According to Wyatt, Cosby doesn’t want to talk about this affair right now.

Looking through old photographs, it was clear that the casting director used our family’s faces and likeness as a guide to casting those on the show. They were, indeed, our doppelgangers. The old pictures confirmed that much. After discovering we looked like the actors, who were selected for the pilot season that debut on September 20, 1984, we all were the victims of a hate crime to assault our faces and distort our images on television, print and with online photos.

The Cosby Show cast (below in the collage) was selected to have similar loks like that of our family members
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Ann-Marie Adams

This insidious plot to strip us of our individual identities and image as a middle-class and Christian family the show was based on also included an incredible effort to secretly strip us of our financial resources, including houses, cars and jobs. All this orchestrated crime during the long investigation was to hide our true identities and our impact on the show. Therefore, this sinister approach to the secret investigation must be addressed with force.

Perhaps the Bill Cosby trial in Philadelphia was divine justice when he was indicted on a day close to my father’s birthday. Also, Cosby failed to acknowledge our contributions to the show and as a result, his new family comedy slated for 2015 was canceled. But the United States State Department, state, city officials and other individual used to invade our privacy owe us more than an apology.

We are asking for the perpetrators of this crime to be held accountable with prison time–just like Bill Cosby–for the evil and covert attacks on our family to cover up this truth in the country. More important, we ask for reparation for our family because of years of disruptions and adverse experiences to discredit our claim to The Cosby Show.

Enough is enough. We want restorative justice–reparations.

Bill Cosby’s family as seen in Ebony Magazine. Photo Courtesy of Ebony Magazine

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is an award-winning journalist and U.S. History Professor. She is also the founder of The Hartford Guardian, the first nonprofit, hyper-local publication in Connecticut. Previously, she was a journalist at The Hartford Courant, People Magazine, NBC 4 New York, the Washington Post, other regional publications and television newscasts.

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Hartford’s First Black Female Mayor Dies

Her Death Was Reported One Year Later

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Former Hartford Mayor Carrie Saxon-Perry , who was the city’s first black female mayor, died last November. She was 87.

Her death was reported last week by relatives including Richard Howard, one year after she died from a heart attack at a Waterbury Hospital on Nov. 22, 2018.

Carrie Saxon Perry

Saxon Perry was the first African-American woman elected to lead a major city in the Northeast. She was the mayor of Hartford from 1987-93. She succeeded the first black mayor in New England, Thirman Milner but was defeated by former Mayor Mike Peters.

In her 1993 concession speech to Peters, Perry was unapologetic.

“The cornerstones of my administration were equity and justice, a redistribution of resources,” Ms. Perry said in her concession speech. “We have absolutely nothing for which we should be ashamed.”

Perry helped the city’s poor residents, providing social assistance to young single mothers, as she once was. That dedication to community carried over into her political life.

Carrie Saxon Perry on

Born in Hartford on Aug. 30, 1931, Perry was raised in the city and educated in Hartford Public Schools. She left Hartford to attend Howard University.

She returned to Hartford to work as an activist, mainly for anti-poverty and housing organizations and the state welfare department. She then became a state representative in 1980. As state representative in the northwest section of Hartford, she served on posts as assistant majority leader, chair of the bonding subcommittee, and a committee member for education, finance and housing.

Indeed, the former Howard University and community activist used the largely ceremonial role as Hartford’s mayor to address issues such as crime, racial tension, and more.

She also ran for president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of Greater Hartford but was beaten by Mohammed Ansari.

The NAACP is expected to hold a memorial service to honor Saxon Perry.

“Her legacy has been one of progressive, transparent and people-oriented leadership city of Hartford,” said John Brittain, a lead attorney on the Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case and a former neighbor of Saxon Perry.

Perry had a son, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

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Luke Bronin Wins, Council Loses Two

By Hartford Staff

HARTFORD — No surprise here in Hartford. In an overwhelmingly Democratic city, the incumbent Mayor of Hartford Luke Bronin on Tuesday captured 77 percent of the votes in the 2019 mayoral election.

Despite his secured nomination as a favorite of the Democratic Town Committee Chairman Marc DiBella, Bronin campaigned hard, rolling out yard signs, mailers to apartments and houses, and working with social media and television ads.

Bronin gave his victory speech and thanked the other candidates for jumping into the race. This, he said, made the city stronger and put it on the path to financial success.

“We’ve come a long way but we’ve got a lot more work to do. I promise that I will work my heart out every day for our city,” Bronin said in an email soon after the polls closed.

Longtime city council member rJo Winch received a paltry 1.28 percent or 583 votes. And John Gale, also a long-term council member, received an unexpectedly low number of votes with just 3.56 percent or 1,625 votes.

rJo posted on Facebook that she will be using her time now to write two novels and volunteer with the Kiwanis of Hartford Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

“So thankful to everyone who came out and exercised their right to vote…. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve Hartford for 12 years,” Winch said.

The treasurer Adam Cloud was unchallenged and won 100 percent of the vote.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin got 30 percent of the total number of votes cast in the previous mayoral race. This year, he received 77 percent. Many residents felt they settled for the status quo.

“People all over the city have been telling me that they feel like their vote doesn’t matter, that things will just keep going, with or without them, ” said Joshua Michtom. “Making sure city council has a strong, unified, activist minority voice is the first step to changing that.”

MAYOR ( Click here for full race results )
Democratic Party Luke Bronin 7,582 (76.53%)
Republican Party James Stanley McCauley 839 (8.47%)
Petitioning Candidate W. Michael Downes 34 (0.34%)
Petitioning Candidate Giselle Gigi Jacobs 143 (1.44%)
Petitioning Candidate Aaron Lewis 57 (0.58%)
Petitioning Candidate Eddie A. Perez 1,218 (12.29%)
Write In Tylon R. Butler 34 (0.34%)

Democratic Party Thomas TJ Clarke, II 5,510 (12.06%)
Democratic Party Nick Lebron 5,918 (12.95%)
Democratic Party Maly D. Rosado 5,649 (12.36%)
Democratic Party Marilyn E. Rossetti 6,293 (13.77%)
Democratic Party Shirley Surgeon 6,245 (13.67%)
Democratic Party James B. Sanchez 5,899 (12.91%)
Republican Party Theodore T. Cannon 700 (1.53%)
Republican Party Gary Bazzano 1,023 (2.24%)
Working Families Party Wildaliz Bermudez 2,178 (4.77%)
Working Families Party Moise Laurent 1,303 (2.85%)
Working Families Party Joshua Michtom 1,350 (2.95%)
Green Party Mary L. Sanders 488 (1.07%)
Second Chance Party Corey J. Brinson 508 (1.11%)
The Hartford Party John Q. Gale 1,625 (3.56%)
Petitioning Candidate RJO Winch 583 (1.28%)
Petitioning Candidate Suzann L. Beckett 421 (0.92%)

Democratic Party Adam M. Cloud 6,435 (100.00%)

Democratic Party Ellen S. Nurse 5,564 23.31%
Democratic Party Mamie M. Bell 5,511 (23.09%)
Democratic Party Radames V. Vazquez 5,449 (22.83%)
Democratic Party Ronnie E. Walker 5,526 (23.15%)
Republican Party Randy Correa 939 (3.93%)
Republican Party Ronald J. Perone 881 (3.69%)

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Some Hartford Residents Accuse Officials of Voter and Ethnic Media Suppression

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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