Politics wasn't a common career path for girls growing up in Waterbury’s Berkeley Heights public housing project. Many families were ravaged by addiction. Gunfire was common.
"It was a hard community,'' recalled former resident Aletha Minnis. "Some of us made it out, and some of us didn't."
Among those who made it out was Jahana Hayes. Pregnant at 17, she enrolled in community college and eventually became a history teacher; in 2016, she was honored by President Obama as the national Teacher of the Year.
Now, at age 45, Hayes hopes to become the first African-American woman to represent Connecticut in Congress.