WEST HARTFORD — The cars crept by quietly, but the protest that started on the corner of North Main Street and Farmington Avenue Thursday night did not drown out the hum of the engines.
Unlike most protests, which draw loud crowds unified in a message they yell out, this group of white people gripped their mouths and made no sounds. Written on their hands in marker: “End white silence.”
The protesters, from Showing Up For Racial Justice Hartford, not only stood against anti-black police violence, shown in recent incidents across the nation, but also the perceived silence by other white people.
Leaders of the group said this silence they are seeing is allowing this violence with police to continue.
“In response to national call to action by the Movement for Black Lives, we are joining them in a demand for a new future. A future where black lives matter, where people of color are free from state-sanctioned violence and oppression,” Erica Richmond, a group leader, said in a statement.
“As white people we have a particular responsibility to end our complicity in this system that perpetuates and encourages white silence, white supremacy, and white violence. We need to listen to activists of color as they call for [freedom now],” Richmond added.
The protesters, about 100 in all, marched quietly through West Hartford Center, down through Blue Back Square and onto the police department on Raymond Road. They slowed at times to show their signs.
At the police station, they urged officers to sign a petition disavowing this violence. It was not clear if any officers signed. Thse officers had escorted the group along their path.
The group remained outside the police station for a short while, chanting: “Black Lives Matter.”