NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The images from Washington of rioters storming the United States Capital had local activists at a loss for words. They wondered whether the response from law enforcement illustrates a double standard in policing.
"If that had been Muslims or blacks, there would’ve been bloodshed all over the Capitol," said Rev. Boise Kimber.
Activists from our state who marched peacefully over the summer for racial justice and police reform following the George Floyd killing couldn’t help but think how if it was them on Capitol Hill, things might have been different.
"It was disgusting display and everybody on this call knows but if that was Black Lives Matter we would be in the morgue down in DC right now," said Rhonda Caldwell.
US Capitol Police were overwhelmed by rioters who gained access to the Capitol building. Local legislators were forced into hiding as Capitol Security fired shots from the chamber floor.
"I’m worried about our legislators. I’m worried that something like this is going to happen here in Connecticut," said Michael Oretade.
People who were at the State Capitol for Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony say they heard many of the same chants from protesters there as they did in Washington as people stormed the Capitol. One woman was arrested during the Hartford protests for spitting on a Black Lives Matter supporter.
"We have individuals that feel like they have had the rights stripped from them," said Justin Farmer Representative of Hamden's 5th district. "The scariest and saddest thing to me is you have actual Americans that are suffering, and we refuse to treat their suffering with any type of deference."
Local activists believe President Trump’s rhetoric over the last four years emboldened people who made up the mob on Capitol Hill. They are asking legislators locally and afar to calm divisions and bridge the divide.
"Black America. White America. When will we come to the realization that all of us are Americans?" asked Rev. Kimber.