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New Britain protesters march for miles to stand against racism - and for a civilian review board

At the end of the protest, people signed a petition demanding to have a citizen review board overseeing the police. It has gotten thousands of signatures.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Hundreds of protesters marched for several miles from Walnut Hill Park to Downtown New Britain to take a stand against racism.

"We are tired of seeing hashtags. We are tired of the injustices African Americans have faced. You’ve seen what happened. We saw what happened to George Floyd. That man put his knee on the back of his neck for eight minutes!" said Tre Brown, Black Lives Matter 860 organizer.

When protesters finally reached Downtown New Britain, they took a knee.

"We’re not out here to protest to loot. We’re not out here trying to cause violence because non-violence is a way of life for courageous people and we are courageous," said Lashawn Robinson of Black Lives Matter 860.

One father, part of the organization, said his children worry about whether he will walk through those doors called home.

"I have kids that question what they’re going to be when they grow up. I have three daughters that’s like "Daddy, I want you to come home every night," said Abimbola Oretade.

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Another father of two said he brought his children to the protest was a way to start them young.

"I tell them like it is. I tell them everything that’s going on. I try not to make it too graphic," said Kevin Pelloqin of New Britain.

For others, speaking up about the endured racism was a long time coming.

"In a classroom or during extracurricular activities like certain parents don’t want their kids to play with you," said Ariana Molokwu of New Britain.

"This is also pride month so I felt like I would be doing my gay community a disservice if I was not doing my black community a disservice," said Aaron Scott of Manchester.

At the end of the protest, people signed the petition, pushing the demands of New Britain to have a citizen review board and so far, it has gotten thousands of signatures.

A letter was sent by Mayor Erin Stewart to four aldermen, requesting they do the necessary work to make the board happen.

FOX61 spoke to Alderman Francisco Santiago on the phone and he said the city is pushing to officially form the board by July.

"The civilian review board can ask questions to those involved and make sure they answer the questions because a lot of cities in the country have civilian review boards but they don’t have a lot of power. We want this board to have a lot of teeth," said Victor Constanza of New Britain.

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