Gov. Ned Lamont and several other elected officials gathered in Manchester on Wednesday to condemn hate crimes and racial slurs after incidents reported throughout the state and beyond.
“Hate, racism and discrimination are not welcome in our state,” Lamont said.
He said the state is dealing with two public health crises-- racism and COVID-19 and we're never going to keep racism down unless we stand up and address it.
The governor said the state legislature will be going back into session and will do what it needs to do when it comes to justice, but legislation is not enough.
"You've also go to change the heart," Lamont said, and he asked residents to stand up and if say something if they see something.
The governor also gave an update on the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the state's rate of positive COVID-tests yesterday was half a percent, down from .7 percent a day earlier.
The news conference comes at a time when residents of Connecticut have been coming together to call for racial justice after the death of George Floyd in May as well as some racial incidents in Connecticut.
Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was handcuffed and on the ground when a white police officer in Minneapolis held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Video of what happened to Floyd sparked outrage and led to protests and demonstrations across Connecticut as well as the nation and beyond.
The news briefing was held in Manchester, which is dealing with a racial incident in its own community.
“Now is the time for change,” Darryl Thames, of the Manchester Board of Education, said.
He called on residents to hold elected officials accountable for the community, the state and the world.
“This is a cross point in American history right now,“ Thames said, adding this is the time to seize the moment and make systemic changes to racism.
Tracy Patterson, a member of the Manchester board of education, got emotional while speaking and called on the community not to allow racism to happen in the town.
State Rep. Geoff Luxenberg, the assistant majority leader, also denounced racism.
“We’re here together as one Manchester to denounce the two very painful racist incidents that have happened in the last couple of weeks,” he said, adding that the community needs action to make change and words are not enough.
State Senator Saud Anwar, deputy president pro tempore, said legislation and zoning laws are necessary steps to fix a systemic problem.
“We’re worried about the statues. I’m worried about the statues,” he said.
Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz,
Bysiewicz said hate, racism and discrimination are not welcome in Connecticut and condemned acts of intolerance.
She said state leaders are calling on residents to treat everyone with respect, dignity and kindness.
She also called on residents to fill out the U.S. Census, which shows the diversity in the state, and to register to vote.
"Diversity is our state's greatest strength. It's our country's greatest strength," Bysiewicz added.
In Bloomfield, police have made an arrest after an investigation into a complaint about a man directing racial slurs at an 8-year-old boy at a local pawn shop .