HARTFORD, CT — No one knew what was going to happen when it looked like two different groups had planned rallies at the state Capitol at the same time Saturday.
The Black Lives Matter movement marched from Pope Park in Hartford down Capitol Avenue and planned to rally on the north side of the Capitol, where about 50 people were holding what was billed as a “Re-open the Region” rally.
After a few tense moments, an organizer with the Black Lives Matter movement who declined to give her name was able to move the 3,000 to 4,000 individuals to the Supreme Court, and eventually back to the south side of the state Capitol.
Outside the Supreme Court across the street from the Capitol, they joined the Sisters of the Connecticut Bar, who were holding a mostly silent protest.
They recounted the last eight minutes of the life of George Floyd, the black man who was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police, and the crowd was completely silenced.
Attorney Valeria Caldwell-Gaines said that, as mothers, “we are the vessels through which all life was given.”
She said they have a unique perspective as the mothers of civilization. She said they are killing the “black bodies that we nurse.” She said institutional racism led them from “killing us by the trees to killing us by the knees.”
She said it’s time for a “just and equitable verdict to be rendered.”
It was the eighth day of protests across Connecticut.
Travis Terry of Hartford, who attends Clark Atlanta University, said the protests are no longer being ignored.
Terry is just one of the many young black organizers who have been leading the movement.
The Hartford protest was organized by young people who are not affiliated with any one group. Their demands to state lawmakers include the establishment of an all-civilian oversight structure with disciplinary power over police and local civilian complaint offices. They also want to outlaw high-speed police chases, mandate release of all body cam footage to families affected by police use of deadly force, and to repeal qualified immunity for police and correction officers.
Current law already requires, within 96 hours, the release of police video in which officers’ use of force leads to serious injury or death.
On Friday teens led the way as thousands poured into the streets of New Haven to demand racial justice, an end to police violence, and a move from funding cops to funding schools and communities.
As of 1:30 p.m., Capitol police had made no arrests resulting from the demonstrations.