Monday, November 3, 2014


Covered the POTUS in Bridgeport. Saw many friends, could not get to you. Much love to Inquiring News for the assignments, it don’t get bigger or better than Mr. & Mrs. Obama in a 72 hour period.

So anyway, I’m in the “media “ section, doing my thing along with soaking up all the history, happy, happy. Then this b**** from general market media says to me “only the media are allowed in here”.
Well you could have knocked my down with a feather. Without missing a beat in my nice girl voice I said, “the secret service does not need your help” and kept on doing my thing.

Did it sting? You damn right it did. Sh*t, I had to show credentials, get thru 4 check points and a pat down to get behind that velvet rope. I’m an award-winning journalist, with editorials seen on Larry King Live, in the New York Post, our CT newspapers and many more. I went to Ground Zero, I am an Army Veteran. I have a Masters Degree. Somehow to her I did not belong there, seemed out of place…

Of course at the end of the event she apologized. She said “Sorry, I thought…” Save it!

Like those who came before me I’ll take it. I am a girl from Bridgeport, born without civil rights. It’s the least I can do. Covering “our” African-American President and First Lady, writing for an African-American newspaper for African-American people are among the high points of my African-American life.

Let’s keep knocking a hole in that glass ceiling. Black history is made everyday!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

An Editorial - “Our” President Visits

By the time you read this article Election Day 2014 will have passed. The campaigns were hard fought with each side bringing in the heavy hitters to champion their respective causes. I hope you voted and your candidate won.

Without a doubt the loftiest of those heavy hitters was President Barack Obama. President Obama’s visit to Central High School in Bridgeport fired up the party faithful and will no-doubt inspire countless more to vote in the future. But to many seeing the President meant a lot more than that.

President Obama is living proof that when you tell your child that he/she could be president one day it can really happen. Seeing him is proof that the work done by the Urban League, the NAACP, the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, along with countless others whose names we will never know was not in vain. That the work you are doing today really means something!

I have been to both of President Obama’s inaugurations and have reported on his two recent visits to Connecticut (along with the First Lady). Our people came out in droves for each event, the turnouts unprecedented. The reaction of the people is beyond enthusiastic. Folks become overwhelmed by emotion seeing the Obama’s in person. In my articles “Rock Star” is the only noun/adjective that came close expressing to Inquiring News readers what I have observed. Recall the best concert you’ve ever been to. Remember the crowd going absolutely crazy? It is unbelievable! That’s the reaction every time President Obama hits the stage. He means so much to so many.

If all of us living today get to see another African-American elected President of the United States of America just know that the Second Coming would probably happen shortly thereafter.  So lets enjoy these this time with “our” President and First Lady.  Live by some of the examples they have set. Enjoy and be empowered by this very special time in history that God has blessed us to bear witness to!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mrs. Obama Comes to Town

NEW HAVEN – First Lady Michelle Obama came to town to give her blessings to Gov. Dan Malloy and leading Democrats running in highly contested races that were to be decided on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 4th.

Mrs. Obama entered the Wilbur Cross High School auditorium to a rousing ovation. The kind usually reserved for rock stars. Her appeal is evident. A woman of power and influence unparalleled and yet she has the presence of every women. Her affect is as easy as her smile. She seems genuine and is very much on point with her message. Speaking over a sprinkling of hecklers here and there (back to that in a bit) she remained unfazed.

“So if there’s anybody here who is thinking that their vote doesn’t matter, if there’s anybody here who knows someone who thinks that voting just isn’t worth their time, if you know young people who are sitting on the couch, I want you to think we cannot afford to miss out on a single vote in this election -- not one.  This is real.  Think about your passions.  Think about the things you care about. “ said the First Lady. “Vote”.

State Treasurer Denise Nappier who was also running for office was there supporting her party peers. Although she did not address the crowd in an exclusive interview with Inquiring News she called the First Lady’s visit “inspiring”.  “Her visit energizes the party faithful”, says Nappier, “and the publicity surrounding her visit reminds others that election day is near. She is also a wonderful inspiration to young girls, letting them know they can come from humble beginnings like she did and succeed.

About 2,000 people from around the state attended the invite only rally on a lovely fall day. Being in the orbit of the wife of the most powerful man on earth is an
eye-opening once in a life-time experience. It requires patience, standing for hours, and being on your best behavior.

Along with the people in a crowded line that went down the street around the corner and then stretched as far as the eye could see was a heavy police presence, secret service agents, bomb sniffing attack dogs, snipers on the roof , many security check points Once granted entre, with a pat down for good measure, you are on lock down when enter the building and told with very firm yet friendly direction where to go.  Should you deviate two steps someone is right there (quite startling) with that very firm yet friendly direction.

Something is in air, it tingles. Everyone is on high alert. What is about to take place few Americans bear witness to.  First Lady Michelle Obama is now talking directly to you. She is walking through the crown shaking hands, posing for selfies. Then, just like that, it’s over.

At the end of a very long day, everyone is drained, but, it was all well worth this brush with history as we may never pass this way again in our lifetime.

Writers Note: Regarding hecklers. The ones who interrupted the First Lady (and no other speaker) in an effort to make a case, about whatever. Just so you know, your message went unheard. You were being disrespectful, rude and you looked foolish. You had no right to crash/infiltrate somebody else’s party with your nonsense.  To utilize a quote from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christy (who was also heckled last week) “Sit down and shut up!”

Friday, June 13, 2014

John Lewis – “Get in Trouble”

East Hartford - Famed civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis was honored at a reception hosted by fellow Congressman John Larson at Goodwin College. Lewis traveled to Connecticut to give the commencement address at the school.

John Lewis is a one of the few remaining old school civil right leaders still available to teach the ways that will keep the movement alive for the next crop of great leaders. Don’t be mislead by his dignified and charming grandfatherly manor. There is still plenty of fire left in this man.

“It is good to be here to see all of the changes that have occurred in America during the past 50 years, but we still have a way to go. There are forces in America today that want to take us back to another time. We can’t go back, we won’t go back.”

Interviewing Congressman Lewis
Photo by Merle Davis

His advice for future leaders? “They must get out there and push and pull and help make this country and the world community a better place. They have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to speak up, to speak out and find a way to get in the way. What I call good trouble, necessary trouble.” The kind of trouble Lewis has gotten into routinely for decades trying to help the cause. “I’ve been arrested about 40 times. I’ll probably get arrested some more.” he says with pride. 

Lewis is a man who has been beaten and jailed trying to make a change. “Public service is a calling, a lot of people put up with a lot of stuff. I don’t get tired, I don’t get weary. I feel like I’ve been blessed. I feel I have an obligation to help others.”

He called Congressman John Larson “A friend, a brother.” He praised the leadership efforts of Goodwin College for helping young people grow up to be good citizens. 

Goodwin College gave Lewis a new title “Dr. John Lewis” by conferred a him with a doctorial degree.  “It’s a happy day.” he said.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Ladies “Know Your Value”


Photo Credit: Merle Davis

HARTFORD, CT – The first “Know Your Value” conference lived up to all expectations with the mission to inspire “Women Taking It to the Next Level”. Over 300 women packed the Hartford Marriot for an afternoon of empowerment.

One of the conference highlights (there were many) was the “conversation with Gayle King” and that is exactly what it was. King was bright, bubbly and very real in every aspect of her chat. She clearly has an ability to identify with every woman because that is exactly who she is, albeit a very successful one.

King has plenty of history in Hartford. In her own words, “I got married here, I had kids here, I got a divorce here.” For 18 years she was a familiar face to TV viewers as a news anchor at WFSB. She recalls her time in Hartford fondly and still comes to the area regularly. She stayed connected to many of the same folks she had relationships with early on.

She proudly shared her age with the audience, 59. “I feel great.” she says. “I feel that when you get to whatever age you are and you feel good about yourself, you look good, you should shout it from the rooftop.”

King divulged some advise Maya Angelou gave her about success. “Success is liking who you are, liking what you do and liking how you do it. Also, success is one step closer to women’s liberation.”

Do you want to know what successful women do? According to King, “Put one step in front of the other, do the work, be persistent.” She also gets up at 3:30 in the morning!

Melissa Crawford from Bloomfield was happy to have attended the conference she said, “I have a new position at my job and this is going to empower me to do the things I need to do to go even further.”

Writer’s Note: The “Know Your Value” conference held it’s opening session on the same day as the close of the history making career of Barbara Walters. Walters’ is a television broadcast pioneer who has endured it all. She was the “first” which is never easy. Male co-anchors did not feel woman were capable of delivering the news, some were openly hostile. The way she spoke and the way she looked was the punch line of jokes for decades. She never gave in, she never gave up. Clearly, she “knew her value”.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wrongfully Incarcerated – Fernando Bermudez Why No Public Outrage?

Based upon an article written for Inquiring News 

This post will beg the question as to why there has not been a national public outcry over the number of people being wrongfully convicted and incarcerated?  More than 2,000+ people have been freed from jail over last two decades.  Together they have served over 10,000 years. Many receive little or no compensation and/or have to fight for years to get it. Fernando Bermudez, 44, is one of those people.

Fernando Bermudez

            Wrongfully convicted of murder in 1992, he was sentenced to 23 years to life. He spent a total 18 ½ years in various New York maximum-security prisons. He was released in 2009. An appellate judge pronounced him “Innocent!” “Innocent” as in did not commit the crime, dropping all charges.

Bermudez currently travels on speaking engagements worldwide. He has spoken up for the wrongfully incarcerated in the U.S., Germany, Japan and Italy.  The Innocence Project has featured his as a guest speaker. Fresh from a speaking engagement at Harvard he granted Inquiring News an exclusive interview.
Jocelyne Hudson-Brown: At the time of your arrest what were you doing?
Fernando Bermudez: This happened about 2 in the morning. I was driving back with my brother to home where we lived with our parents. When we drove in front of the building and were about to get out we were surrounded by cops who pulled guns and forced me out of the car.

JHB: What would you like people to know about your whole ordeal?
FB: I think people think that once a situation like this is over that people can continue to live their life and be happy and make peace with what happened. But that is not true because (what happens often time to people who have been wrongfully incarcerated) I have a lot of pain; I have lot of hurt over what happened. The lost years, there is the PTSD that I deal with now after my experience. I still have anxiety, distrust, being uncomfortable, watching every penny that I spend. All these things are related to my wrongful conviction and what happened.

JHB: How are you adjusting?
FB:  I’m still adjusting actually. It’s an ongoing process. I’ve found my place and my calling in society through public speaking and sharing my story. Doing that helps to heal myself as well as make a difference.  Sharing my story is how I am able to find acceptance in it and share that perspective. But there are still issues with adjusting. Here is that main problem, lack of closure. Closure with the situation. I still have not been compensated yet. I still have not received justice in my case. I was released but that does not mean that I have received justice.

JHB: Let me get this right. You were wrongfully convicted, wrongfully incarcerated 18+ years, have been deemed innocent of any crime, and then released from prison. In the 5 years since you have been released you are still fighting for compensation? It there any end in sight?
FB: I don’t see it yet. To be sure I have been proven actually innocent! It’s not a matter of a technicality. It was proven without a shadow of a doubt. The State of New York did not appeal the ruling of the judge, they let it stand. The case is over. (I interrupt him at this point.)

JHB: So there is no question in it, no lingering doubt? You are totally innocent?
FB: Totally. My case actually made history. I am the first Latino male proven innocent without DNA evidence.

JHB: What was the worse thing about being in jail?
FB: Well the worse thing was the uncertainty about whether I was going to live or die in that place. The next day is not promised. You are living in a very violent, unpredictable environment day-to-day. I tried to increase my chances by staying in my cell as much as I could. In my cell at least I could control my immediate surroundings. But you have to go outside of your cell and that’s where the danger lurks even more.

JHB: As an innocent person, knowing you did not belong there you must have been overwhelmed…
FB: It was feeling of discomfort and dread. A constant level of fear. I would fight and battle with anger and depression. Just the stress of it all. How I dealt with that positively was occupy myself, distract my self. Through reading, exercise, working on my case, through writing letters.

JHB: How do you feel about the justice system now?
FB: Well I feel that we have a deeper problem with the criminal justice system than is ever imagined. And, in that regard I think that the issue of accountability needs to be discussed with greater consideration.  We are talking about prosecutors who are sending innocent people to prison purposefully and nothing happens to them Corrupt prosecutors and even police do not get held accountable. It’s not fair. It’s not fair to society and especially not fair to the victims. The people who died or get deceased during the commission of a crime and those who become victims by being wrongfully convicted.

JHB: So everybody loses? And, the perpetrator is still out there.
FB: Everybody loses, everybody loses. The guilty person remains free, so many things happen. They wrongfully incarcerate the wrong person; they waste the taxpayer’s money. It’s a mess.

JHB: Do you currently see a counselor?
FB: Every week.

JHB: How has this affected you family? You Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, aunts uncles etc. How has this experience both while you were in jail and now that you are out affected the family?
FB: Excellent question. I think that during my situation it kept us together and kept us solid in terms of unifying to fight and trying to support each other. Ironically, you would think that coming of prison it would have solidified that even more because when you get out it is time to celebrate. Time to reflect on the victory, try to heal together. Just the opposite has happened. I am embarrassed to say this, it has created a wedge. I call it the collateral damage that is related to being wrongfully incarcerated.

JHB: What does the future hold for you?
FB:  The idea of continuing to be an international speaker. Opening up different corridors throughout the world where I can go and share my story. There are great expectations in continuing my college degrees. I hope to get my Masters and my Ph.D. so I can start teaching at a university and get my kids a free education. I’d also like to complete in book, which will tell my entire story.

        Writers Note: I first met Fernando Bermudez in 2011 during a seminar hosted by Yale University. At the time I was left speechless by his testimony. Why? Because his is a story you see on TV or in a movie. That of a stranger, not someone you meet and get to know. The association makes it very real. He is to be applauded for having lived through his story to be able to tell it.

Jocelyne Hudson-Brown is an award winning journalist and a longtime correspondent for the Inquiring News. She can be reached at

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

President Obama - “Restore Opportunity for Everyone”

  Remember how it felt waiting for your favorite rock band hit the stage? Remember how the crowd erupted in screams, cheers and a standing ovation before they even hit the first note? Well, that’s exactly the uproar that took place when President Obama and the Gubernatorial All-Stars hit the stage to promote raising the standard minimum wage to $10.10.

On stage with three other governors, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was introduced to a big round of applause. In great spirits Malloy said "I absolutely believe that if you work 40 hours a week, you shouldn't be living in poverty in Connecticut or any other state.” He introduced the President by saying,   “There is a time to lead and a time to follow. I will follow this President on the great policies he will put forward, New England needs to lead on this issue."

President Obama presented his case to a very receptive audience of 3,000 on the campus of Central Connecticut State University.

Photo Credit: Jocelyne Hudson-Brown

Obama said. "It is a central task for all of us to build an economy that works for everybody, not just for some. We also believe is that nobody who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.  That violates a basic sense of who we are.”
Writers Note: I asked a random young lady in the crowd (17 years old, not ID’d by name as she is a minor) what an increase in minimum wage would mean to her.

She said it would mean she could pay all of her rent on time. Rent? A 17 year old child? Yes, rent! Her parents are deceased, at one point while taking care of her brothers she/they had been homeless! She said it would mean she could “afford to buy meat” as she had not been eating any lately since she was short on funds. It would also allow her to pay for transportation to and from high school.

Hers is but one story out of many of people who work every day and are struggling. There are millions of hard working Americans who like her just need/want an “opportunity”. "And that's why it's time to give America a raise." says President Obama.