Thousands of protesters in the state took to the streets to raise their voices and signs after other protests have broken out around the country.
The series of protests come after a viral video of 46-year-old George Floyd being detained and pinned down to the ground by former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin.
“Black and brown people are just being murdered across the country for no reason,” said Gabrielle Mitchel, one of the Rally for Justice organizers. “We were working to bring people together.”
Protesters told NBC Connecticut that their goal is to raise awareness about police brutality, criminal justice reform and the importance of holding leaders accountable.
“It’s really scary, scary times,” said Zee Jamaica. “I wanted to come out here to support all of my brothers and sisters.”
Unity and education were other topics of discussion for protesters.
“It’s just very important that I show that I stand with all these young people who are using their voice to talk about what’s happening around the country and here in the state,” said Kenneth Mcclary. “The events that have happened around the country with African Americans make us think what can we do in order to protect our loved ones and ourselves.”
Elected officials made sure to show up and support the need for more accountability on all sides.
“We have to do more as elected officials, policy makers and organizers,” said State Representative Brandon McGee (D). “I wanted to come here and show my daughter how important it is to have peaceful protect and how to organize together with other key leaders.”
Other protesters told NBC Connecticut that the recent events happening in Minneapolis should encourage all races to speak up and use their voice to demand justice.
“It is important for folks that are white like me to be out here supporting our African American brothers and sisters,” said protester Liz Gustafson. “It is not our time to speak but we should listen and try to educate ourselves to help those who’s voices are sometimes marginalized.”
Jason Black showed up to the Rally for Justice protest to offer support and a sense of togetherness for those hurting.
“I think it’s great that we are able to come together and peacefully organize and talk about what’s happening in America and demand change,” said Black. “The incident with George Floyd should have never happened.”
“Today we saw a large, powerful and peaceful protest in our city, with most attendees wearing face coverings while making their voices heard. Like our community, I am sickened by the murder of George Floyd, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and the senseless killing of Breonna Taylor, and by the feeling that our country still falls so far short of what we’re supposed to be," Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement. "We‘re thankful to everyone who came out today to peacefully, but powerfully, say enough is enough and speak out against injustices that should make every American angry.”