HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Over 1,000 protesters went to the State Capitol to call for racial justice midday Thursday, but they came across a press conference, unaffiliated with the protest, scheduled to happen there at the same time.
Students from Central Connecticut State University’s Black Student Union and Government Student Association gathered at the State Capitol along with Black Lives Matter groups to talk about what they believe is racial injustice on their campus and across the nation.
At that same time, there was a press conference scheduled for the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and the Labor Committee to talk about essential workers and their need to be treated fairly and to get PPE for them during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Both events started peacefully, and the lawmakers and students agreed to share the stage.
Once the lawmakers started allowing the essential workers to step up to the microphone, some students yelled, “this is not why we are here!”
The students then left to march on the streets of Hartford toward the city’s police station.
So far, the protest has not turned violent. Also, lawmakers were able to continue the press conference regarding essential workers and it has since wrapped up.
In a statement, the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian said,
I fully support our students in the fight for justice. As the state’s public institutions of higher learning, change starts with us. Yet even within a system that aims to be an on-ramp to upward mobility, students of color fall behind at a disproportionate rate. I stand committed to leading that change and our campus leaders are all ready to hear their concerns so that together we can improve our institutions for all students.Mark Ojakian — President, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities