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Community leaders speak at symbolic funeral for George Floyd at state capitol

The procession stared in Windsor and ended in Hartford

WINDSOR, Conn. — For the hundreds of people who took part in a symbolic funeral procession for George Floyd, it was a day to grieve.

"Our community has been grieving for a long time, our community continues to be concerned about our black and brown daughters and sons just living their lives normally and being killed," said Melinda Johnson, the director for community engagement and advocacy for YWCA Hartford region.

" I believe that for somebody to give up their life in that type of way, things have to change," said Carrie Walker of Bloomfield.

For others who took part in the procession, the meaning was personal.

"In the past I have lost a brother, at 16 he was killed by a police officer," said Susan Kennedy of Hartford.

Many people said they were there because what happened to George Floyd, and other victims who were also honored with their names on cars, could have happened to their loved ones.

"Those names are just representatives of hundreds of other people who have died, suffered, lost out, on their chance to succeed and to do something for their families and for their community, because of police brutality, because of racism," said Johnson.

It’s a difficult reality, that leads to difficult conversations, like the one Peter Thomas of Windsor, had with his son when he was just seven.

"My father had a talk with me, and I've had a talk with my son about how his skin color can be perceived as a weapon and as a threat," he said.

That’s why after taking this time to grieve, those taking part in the procession, said they’re ready for a long-awaited change.

"We’re not here to tear down anything, we’re here to build up. W are here to build up America, and how we build up America is getting rid of this pandemic of racism," said Thomas.

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