Forward March


Tonight, the first episode of my debut talk show airs on WHC-TV, West Hartford Community Television, as well as on YouTube. I’m so excited to share this with you!

The show is called Rise UP with Dawn Ennis and our first episode is “Forward March.” My goal is to focus on politics and culture, guiding viewers to stand up for ourselves, for our beliefs. I, myself, am a progressive, but I hope viewers of all backgrounds will find information of interest.


This blog that I have been writing for eight years now will serve as a resource for viewers, until I start a webpage dedicated solely to the program.

Below, you’ll find links to the events and groups I mention in the show, and to prior blog entries that expand upon my own story as I introduce viewers to my “Life After (becoming) Dawn.” Scroll down for these and other important links!

Here it is: episode one, shared with permission from WHC-TV’s YouTube Channel.

Due to time limitations and to keep from boring our viewers, I introduced you to part of my story — my child acting career — which was the subject of a lot of tabloid headlines in 2013 when I came out, because for almost five of the 12 years I worked as a model I worked as a girl. I was earning $100 a day when I “retired” from modeling in 1980, at the age of 16.

Here and here are two blog entries that expand upon that experience. And I’ll share more about my life in future episodes.

If you’re looking for information about the West Hartford Board of Education 2017-2018 Budget, click here for the town site and here for details on proposed spending and cuts that could decimate the education our town provides our children.

And below are the dates of upcoming meetings, and note that at some of these, you can not just listen but also be heard.

  • Budget Workshop #1 – March 15, Town Hall, 7 PM

  • Budget Workshop #2 – March 21, Town Hall, 7 PM

  • Council and Board of Education Forum – March 23, Charter Oak, 6 PM

  • Board Public Hearing – March 29, Town Hall, 7 PM

  • Budget Workshop #3 – March 29, After Public Hearing

  • Board Budget Adoption – April 4, Town Hall, 7 PM

  • Town Council Adoption – April 25, Town Hall, 7 PM

The BOE has also set up an email box for questions, suggestions and complaints related to the budget proposal and process. Send your sentiments to

If you’re interested in Swing Left, the non-profit group working to take back the House of Representatives from Republican party control, then click here. Interested residents of West Hartford are being asked to focus on New York’s 19th Congressional District, stretching from the area east of Binghamton to just outside Albany and Schenectady. Information about that effort is here.

But as you can see from the map below, there are many, many other districts being targeted, more than 50, and if you’re invested in wresting control from the GOP, enter your zip code here and you’ll be linked to a district near you.


If you’re looking for a non-partisan organization that welcomes both Republicans and conservatives as well as Democrats and liberals (and Libertarians and Working Party members and LGBTQ Americans, and so on), then check out the League of Women Voters.

And no, you don’t have to be a woman.

West Hartford residents should click here for information about the Greater Hartford chapter, and here if you’d like more information about how to join. The membership application is here. And if you’re looking for one where you live, here’s a link to the national organization which will direct you to the chapter in your area.

Dues are nominal (just $45 for new members), and one of the issues the league is working hard to support is to change our process of electing a president and eliminate the electoral college.

Tonight’s guest, Sarah Hambrick, spoke about an issue she is personally invested in: the Aid in Dying movement. Six states currently have legalized this way of ending life when the quality of life is no longer viable: Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Colorado and Vermont. You can learn more about those states here. If you’d like more information about this, click here for an overview from the University of Washington, and Connecticut residents should click here for a January article from the Hartford Courant that reported it’s unlikely to be presented for action by the state legislature this year.

And you can learn more about my special correspondent Hannah Simpson by checking out her website, her Facebook page and following her on Twitter: @hannsimp

Please “like” our page on Facebook and follow our Twitter account, @RiseUPwithDawn. Send questions for Sarah or future guests by tweeting them to us or adding a comment here or on Facebook, and we promise to answer each and every one.

Next episode: the head of the Connecticut chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union joins us to discuss what they are doing here in the Constitution state and across the nation to advance its cause, and give us some info on how you can become more involved.

Thank you for watching and sharing!




C’mon, Rise Up

RiseUPThis Friday I am planting my heels firmly back into the world of television, a medium from which I have been absent exactly 1,008 days. And I am hoping you’ll join me as I do something I’ve never done before in a journalism career spanning 33 years behind the camera: I am stepping in front of the camera, as the host of my own talk show!

IMG_3202This is something I have dreamed of for decades, as far back as high school, when I was a newscaster of sorts, reading the morning announcements, and truth be told I also hosted an after-school game show featuring student contestants. Scroll down to the very bottom to see the photo proof!

This program is a 30-minute talk show, Rise UP with Dawn Ennis, and there are two ways to watch: on West Hartford Community Television, WHC-TV, which is Channel 5 on Comcast in West Hartford, Conn. Or for most of you, it’ll be available on YouTube. 

The premiere is Friday, March 10, at 9pm EST, and it will be repeated. Like, a lot.

IMG_3203.jpgMy first guest is Sarah Hambrick, a member of the board of the League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford, who will talk with me about how to do more than just get angry at how our government is run. We’ll discuss the first steps you can take toward political activism and getting involved in civic government, and we’ll chat about a cause that is near and dear to her heart, the aid to the dying bill.

Another topic of interest is the West Hartford education budget, which could mean drastic cuts at our community’s schools.

I attended a standing-room-only meeting Tuesday night with my daughter to hear the plan as it was laid out. Even if you don’t live in our community you’ll be stunned at the draconian measures that are being proposed in these financially-fraught times. IMG_3302

Find out how and where to have your voice heard!

And a group called Swing Left is organizing residents here and across the nation to work toward winning back the House of Representatives for Democrats. More than 60 people crammed into a neighbor’s home Saturday to discuss the strategy for turning a congressional district from red to blue.


17097385_10104787035863560_7445098005010915154_oIf that’s a movement you’d like to know more about, I’ve got the inside scoop.

I’ll also be joined from Los Angeles by transgender advocate Hannah Simpson, a writer, activist, and outspoken woman who I have been fortunate to mentor and who provided rocksteady support during the most challenging time of my life.

Hannah is a firecracker, and I’m honored to introduce you to her as she shares with us her own story of activism and the causes near and dear to her heart.

My hope is to introduce you to different voices each episode, who can share their stories about getting off the couch and into the world. You’re not going to change anything unless you RiseUP!

Oh, and we’ll talk a little bit about me, too, to inform viewers who don’t know who I am, and those who wonder why on earth I have a talk show. Hey, I know how you feel!


And if you watch, I’ll also explain where I got the title of the program, RiseUP, which is from a line of a very personally meaningful song by one of my all-time favorite rock musicians. Can you guess who and what song? Let me know in the comments, or click here to send me a tweet! 

Thank you in advance for watching and please do share the link when it goes live. You’ll find it on the RiseUP with Dawn page on Facebook, here, and please follow the show on Twitter, too!


P.S. As promised, here’s that photo of me the last time I hosted a television program!


It was taken in the very early 1980’s at WCHS-TV, Channel 6, the Chaminade High School television station on Long Island. And not only did this yearbook photo appear in black and white, but so were all the programs of that era!

Wow, this must be a staged shot, because if I appeared on TV with my collar unbuttoned and my tie not tied, I would surely have earned a green slip, and probably detention!