Film and Discussion: Till (In-Person)

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Program Description


Please note that this program will be in-person at the Noah Webster Library. 

Till is a 2022 biographical drama film directed by Chinonye Chukwu and written by Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp, and Chukwu, and produced by Beauchamp, Reilly, and Whoopi Goldberg. It is based on the true story of Mamie Till-Bradley, an educator and activist who pursued justice after the murder of her 14-year-old son Emmett in August 1955. The film stars Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie and Jalyn Hall as Emmett. Kevin Carroll, Frankie Faison, Haley Bennett, Jayme Lawson, Tosin Cole, Sean Patrick Thomas, John Douglas Thompson, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Goldberg also appear in supporting roles.

About the Discussion Leaders: A Mother, educator, and activist, LaToya Fernandez dedicates her career to serving and empowering youth. As an award-winning author and educator, LaToya innovated effective strategies to close the opportunity gap for students while Empowering fellow teachers and community members to embrace Diversity and Inclusion.

 LaToya served as the restorative justice coordinator within the juvenile justice system serving 11 facilities including detention programs, step-down programs, and DCF group homes. During this role, she facilitated training for staff and youth with a focus on creating a restorative culture that supported successful re-entry.  LaToya led system system-impacted youth at the statewide juvenile justice oversight policy committee to support the reform policies and mitigate the school-to-prison pipeline. LaToya is the first Diversity Equity Inclusion Officer for the City of Norwalk CT.

Shaena Gray currently works as the Family & Community Engagement Coordinator for West Hartford Public Schools and is certified in Restorative Practices. In this role she works to promote the District’s effort to grow a culture of equity, inclusion and belonging for all students and families. Shaena has a passion for family engagement and partnership as she recognizes the importance of dual-capacity partnership and its link to learning and student success. In this capacity, Shaena works with families, staff, and stakeholders across the district and community.  She serves as a liaison to help foster and strengthen connections to ensure families are meaningfully engaged in all aspects of the school and community experience to help inform the District’s efforts to advance family-school partnership.

Shaena received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a Minor in Sociology from the University of Connecticut. She also earned her Master's degree in Social Work, with a Focused Area of Women & Children in Families from the University of Connecticut. Within the social work profession Shaena has engaged in extensive collaboration with public schools, private organizations and community agencies to evaluate and support individuals and families across all domains. Shaena has provided outpatient level of care through individual and family therapy in various settings where she specializes in behavioral, emotional, and parental support; as well as clinical interventions. She is trained and certified in evidence base models Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) which offers therapeutic support for children and caregivers navigating traumatic experiences.