People stood up to voice their objections to racism and police brutality through another wave of protests across the state on Saturday.
The protests have been prompted by the recent death of George Floyd, killed by former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin who now faces murder charges. Protesters are outraged by Floyd's murder and others which they consider to be racially motivated.
Marching through Hartford this morning, protesters continued the movement seeking police reform. Organizers presented a list of demands, including the demilitarization and reduction of funds for police forces; along with establishing a civilian police review board to oversee police misconduct.
A second Hartford protest was organized by Black Woman Attorneys of Connecticut. They held a silent sit-in on the steps of the state supreme court, asking for a thorough assessment of current laws.
“There definitely needs to be a review of policies and legislation to see how it has an impact on systemic and institutionalized racism,” said Nichelle Mullins, President and CEO of Charter Oak Health Center.
In Manchester, protesters walked from town hall to the police department. Speakers addressed institutional racism and police brutality. The event was attended by people of many backgrounds and races.
“I’m more excited at the fact that there’s a lot of white people here. Because they’re the ones who now have to do the work. We can’t do it alone. They need to walk in solidarity with us,” said Diane Clare-Kearney, of Manchester.
Linda Harris of the African American and Black Affairs Council also took notice of the crowd’s diversity.
“More white people are now understanding that it’s not just a figment of our imagination about what we’ve been enduring. They’re getting to see it for themselves,” she said.
Later Saturday afternoon, Meriden’s Green was filled with a massive crowd. Most people wore black clothing emphazing the ‘Black Lives Matter’ message.
The event began with an audio version of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech which he gave in 1963 in Washington, D.C. People stood and listened; all clapping when it concluded.
The peaceful rally voiced the message, “change must occur.” People we spoke with agree.
“I would love to see more equality and more peace,” said Jysean Duncan.
His wife, Lapria Duncan, echoed those thoughts. “Just a change,” she said. “We just want to be treated like every human being.”
Saturday was a full day of protests around the state. On Sunday, more of the same is expected. There are 15 protests scheduled in Connecticut.