Dawn Ennis is a transgender writer and blogger who once worked for ABC News. She made headlines herself when a tweet she wrote criticizing Chelsea Manning sparked fears for Manning’s well-being.
Although Manning appears to have tweeted a photo while standing on a ledge in response to Ennis’ tweet, her account tweeted a short time later, “** chelsea is safe. she is on the phone with friends, thanks everyone for your concern and please give her some space.” Ennis retweeted the comment. Ennis implored Chelsea on Twitter, “@xychelsea ‘Please stop’ does not mean end your life. I’ve been where you are right now. Don’t do it. Life is more than a failed political campaign. Your life is precious. Please? Let’s get you help.”
Siraj Hashmi, a video editor and writer, wrote on Twitter, “Respect to all those who shared concern about Chelsea Manning’s wellbeing amidst a suicide reference she made on Twitter. Thankfully she’s safe. Goes to show you that no matter your team, you can still want others to live their best life.” Manning is a former soldier whose sentence for espionage (for giving information to WikiLeaks) was commuted by President Barack Obama.
Who is Dawn Ennis?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ennis Called a Tweet by Manning ‘Lunacy’ Right Before Manning Appears to Have Posted & Deleted a Photo Standing on a Ledge
The Chelsea Manning scare started when Dawn Ennis wrote this on Twitter, tagging Chelsea Manning’s Twitter page: “When I suggested @xychelsea should consider not running, I stopped short of telling her what to do. But this tweet is just lunacy. Sorry, just cuz you’re one of the #girlslikeus you don’t get a pass. Tweeting “voting wont change anything” is wrong and a lie! Just stop. Please.”
She was responding to a tweet from Manning that read, “voting wont change anything – protesting with chants and signs and holding hands isnt gonna change anything either – we need more than that – we cant wait anymore – we need something radically different and we cant just ask for it or expect it to happen somehow.” Chelsea also wrote, “ive been knocking on doors and making phone calls all over Maryland lately – most people aren’t interested in voting, or elections, or civil discourse anymore – theyve heard it all before – they dont think it will make a difference – and they are right.”
Shortly thereafter, Manning appears to have tweeted a photo of herself standing on a ledge, sparking fears that she was contemplating suicide. The tweet was then deleted, but screenshots circulated on the internet.
A screenshot shows that Chelsea Manning tweeted, “im sorry – I tried – im sorry I let you all down – im not really cut out for this world – i tried adapting to this world out here but I failed you – I couldn’t do this anymore – I can take people I don’t know hating me but not my own friends – I tried and im sorry about my failure.”
Moments before that tweet, she wrote, “im sorry” and posted a photo that appeared to show her standing on a ledge.
2. Dawn Ennis Is a Former Assignment Editor at ABC News Who Was Fired From That Job
Dawn Ennis previously worked as an assignment editor at ABC News. According to NYMag, when Ennis, an assignment editor, revealed she was transgender, she “was met with support from co-workers (network president Ben Sherwood reportedly sent a nice note) and some local news coverage.”
The magazine reports that she then decided to go back to being “Don,” saying, “it appears I’m not transgender after all.” She later announced she was going to identify as Dawn after all and explained she’d had memory loss due to a seizure, according to NYmag, which adds that Ennis was fired for “performance-related issues.” She had worked as an overnight national editor.
On LinkedIn, Ennis writes that she also worked for CNN. “Dawn Ennis is a journalist, a blogger, and the host of a talk show, ‘RiseUP With Dawn Ennis,'” the page says. “She got her start in New York City working behind the scenes at CNN. Ennis wrote and produced for CBS, NBC, and ABC News, and has also worked as a manager at TV stations across the country. Ennis transitioned from television news to a career as an online journalist and independent video producer. She is a widow raising three children and they reside in Connecticut with their cat, Faith. ”
Ennis lives in Connecticut and has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.
3. Dawn Ennis Is a Writer & Blogger Who Says She ‘Lived a Lie Almost 42 Years’
On Twitter, Dawn Ennis describes herself as “Host, writer, editor, producer, blogger http://lifeafterdawn.com Widow, single mom of three, manager of one cat. Yes, I’m THAT Dawn Ennis #girlslikeus.” Her LinkedIn page says she is a contributor to the Daily Beast, Los Angeles Blade, HuffPost, and “I’m writing articles for them.us, a new vertical from the publishers of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Vogue, Teen Vogue and GQ.”
She frequently shares details about her life on Twitter, writing, “My mom told me she was so sure I’d be a girl, she picked “Dawn” as my name. But the doctor told her she’d had a boy. So I lived a lie almost 42 years until I finally started to explore what it would be like to be the woman I am. I call this my Life After Dawn. #MyHandleExplained.”
In March, she wrote, “I’m turning 54 in ten days, I’m unemployed but writing here and there, and I’m singlehandedly raising three fantastic children who are my strength, my heart and my soul. I frustrate my haters and detractors by living well. I am resilient. And I am undeniably a #RealLiveTransAdult.”
She also wrote, “As our two-night celebration of #Passover ends as well as the annual #TransDayOfVisibility I am counting our blessings because unlike so many: I am surrounded by my loving children, we have enough to eat, a roof over our heads, and songs in our hearts. I am indeed a rich woman.”
4. Ennis Once Implored ‘Everyone to Treat Each Other With Kindness’
Although her tweet is now the focal point of concern for Chelsea Manning, it wasn’t long ago that Ennis was preaching the importance of showing kindness to others.
“For my birthday, I’d like everyone to treat each other with kindness. “Do unto others what you would want done unto you.” Imagine if people actually practiced that? It can start with the efforts of just one person, and today: that is me. @BensBells #KindnessMatters #BeKind,” she wrote on Twitter.
According to Ona16, “Dawn is an award-winning journalist who was the first to transition in a network TV newsroom. She is now a freelance writer, producer and editor, as well as a widow, a single parent of three children, and the subject of an award-winning documentary, Before Dawn/After Don.”
5. Ennis Has a Website Called ‘Life After Dawn’
Ennis writes about her life on her blog, Life After Dawn. “My goal in writing this blog is to express my feelings as I feel them, uncovering emotions and freeing long repressed memories, as I build my new life,” the about me section explains.
She frequently writes about injustice and inequality. “It’s an American tradition going back centuries: treat others unlike how you yourself would want to be treated; fear the stranger and show favor to those like you,” she wrote in one recent post about the treatment of African-Americans in America.
As for her talk show, she describes it on LinkedIn as, “I’m host of the most popular hosted program on WHC-TV, a monthly talk show that offers viewers ideas for standing up for themselves, for their beliefs and their communities. It’s called RiseUP and I hope you’ll tune in on West Hartford’s Channel 5 and on YouTube!”