Disarming Gun Violence - Emanuel Film Screening and Community Conversation
Presented by Bridgeport Education Fund, Inc.

Disarming Gun Violence - Emanuel Film Screening and Community Conversation

All Ages
Disarming Gun Violence - Emanual Film Screening and Community Conversation

Featured Speakers:

Polly Sheppard, who is featured in the Emanuel documentary as a survivor of the Charleston Church Mass Shooting. Born and raised in Florence South Carolina, Polly graduated from Wilson High School, Bronx Community College and Florence-Darlington Technical College where she obtained her degree in Nursing. After a rewarding career, she retired from her nursing position at the Charleston County Jail in 2015-a few short weeks before tragedy struck.

June 17, 2015 changed her entire post-retirement life. As one of three survivors of what is now known as a hate crime, she has taken the tragedy of that event and turned it into triumph. Polly has traveled the world to speak about her experiences while sitting in Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME church and the aftermath. The crime has garnered national attention, however her response to the perpetrator has garnered national recognition.

Polly has been featured in print and televised media such as the New York Times, VOGUE, TIME, NBC, ABC and CBS just to name a few. Her message of recovery and forgiveness has helped shed a light on the needs of victims. Given the long-term effects of gun violence, Polly seeks to help communities and individuals find opportunities to affect change on the local and national scale.

Turning her advocacy into action, Polly created the Sheppard Foundation in 2019 to encourage and provide financial support for education to students pursuing a career in prison healthcare-Correctional and Forensic Nursing

Jeremy Stein is the executive director of CT Against Gun Violence (CAGV). His expertise in gun violence prevention stems from his more than 23 years of experience as a litigator. After graduating from Emory University School of Law, he served as a prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Office for the District of Columbia, where he worked on gun prosecutions with police agencies including the ATF, FBI, Secret Service and Metropolitan Police Department to name a few.

Jeremy saw the need for more community based initiatives and was the chief attorney for the DC Juvenile Drug Court, a ground breaking initiative that established an alternative to incarceration in our nation’s capital. Additionally, he served as judicial law clerk for the Honorable Patricia A. Broderick in DC Superior Court. He also served as an assistant public defender with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, in its Baltimore City felony trial division. Jeremy also served as civil litigator for 13 years, having tried cases in Georgia, Connecticut, DC, Maryland and New York.

Most recently, Jeremy was the managing partner of a defense litigation firm, managing both the NY and CT practices. Following the October 1, 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people, CAGV quickly mobilized its supporters to lobby legislators to ban “bump stocks” The bill passed in May, 2018. The legislative victory was the first under Jeremy’s leadership as Executive Director, a role he took on in January 2018.

Jeremy has been quoted by the NY Times, The Hartford Courant, CNN, NPR, and BBC Radio and is a frequent speaker against gun violence, including the March For Our Lives.

Paul Mayer is an accomplished Human Resources Executive with broad expertise in leading all HR functions including strategic planning, talent development, policies and procedures, employee/labor relations, and supporting a diverse and committed workforce. His strengths include implementing processes to increase employee engagement and enhance the organizational culture. He has been providing advice, guidance and coaching to leadership, managers, and employees, ensuring alignment with overall strategic goals and succession plans. He has coached and consulted with employees at every level and been recognized for his ability to quickly address and identify solutions that reduce conflict and improve teamwork and operational effectiveness. Paul is a US Air Force veteran and a graduate of Sacred Heart University and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management. He has served in senior HR management roles in industries that represent machine manufacturing, utilities, consumer products, aerospace, high technology medical instruments, and specialty chemicals manufacturing. He has traveled the Americas as well as Europe and China to accomplish organizational objectives.

Venue Information:
Bijou Theatre
275 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT, 06605