Two Unitarian Universalist ministers and five UU lay leaders were among seventeen people arrested Monday evening, June 8, at a Moral Monday: Connecticut Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. The nonviolent protesters were arrested for blocking traffic during the Hartford rush hour commute. The Rev. Josh Pawelek, who was among the Unitarian Universalists who were arrested, said on Facebook that many of the commuters who were stopped by the protest expressed support with cheers and honks, even as others jeered.
Some protesters estimated the group was several hundred in size, and as many as forty linked arms on Central Row between Main Street and Columbus Boulevard at the peak of the demonstration. Many more stood on the sidewalk.
All those arrested were released by 11 p.m. Monday night on bonds of $5,000 or less with a promise to appear in court on June 17.
Moral Monday: Connecticut leaders were frustrated that the Connecticut General Assembly recently concluded its annual legislative session without passing bills that would have curtailed police use of excessive force, reformed drug policy statutes to eliminate racist “drug free” zones, and kept more nonviolent offenders out of prison. The organization’s Twitter account called on people to “Bring the love in your heart, warm clothes on your back, and some good will to share with those who need it. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Standing on the Side of Love reported Tuesday morning that the seven Unitarian Universalists arrested came from Connecticut UU churches in Meriden, Hartford, and Manchester.
“We want to remind ourselves here that it is not safe and it is not comfortable and we need to keep fighting until every single life is valued,” the Rev. Cathy Rion Starr, a UU minister in Hartford, told NBC Connecticut Monday.