SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The unrest in America manifested itself in the streets of Springfield Wednesday night as hundreds of people gathered at the police department to protest the death of George Floyd and racial inequality in our nation.
While most of the crowd dispersed before dawn, one protester stood her ground into Thursday morning.
‘Speak Up Against Racism,’ ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and ‘We Have A Dream’ are just some of the many signs left behind at the Springfield Police Department after the peaceful protest in honor of Floyd.
“The nation has been pushing the snooze button like an…the alarm clock…but when a child calls ‘mommy,’ you wake up. We heard ‘mommy’ and the world woke up,” said Timothy Godbolt of Springfield.
It’s a call that many people have heard loud and clear and one that people from different backgrounds are trying to support.
“This is important for me, that all my friends - my black friends - and every other person can get that one thing that they want,” said Azy Cardona.
That’s why Cardona told Western Mass News she stood her ground long after the dawn had come.
“Everybody in the crowd was asking for the police to take a knee. That’s the only thing they wanted, so I wanted to make sure that I was here to see that happen,” Cardona explained.
What she didn't realize is what that gesture meant to the police officers standing behind the barricades.
“It symbolizes a lot of different things. One of the things it could symbolize is that the officer in Minnesota, who killed George Floyd, put a knee, took a knee to his neck and George Floyd ultimately died that way,” said Springfield Police spokesperson Ryan Walsh.
Cardona told Western Mass News that after discussing it over with police officers, she decided to alter her requests.
“...What they proposed is giving up 15 hugs from the available officers that are available right now and a hug from an emotional support K-9 to emotionally support the people of Springfield,” Cardona noted.
Although Cardona’s not part of the black community, she wants to stand up, speak out, and help bring change.
“I am deaf, but I hear your cries. I have anxiety, but I stand with the crowd. I am autistic and I have a hard time understanding things, but I understand that we need to change. What’s your excuse?” Cardona said.
Godbolt added, “Springfield is a very diverse community. There are many different ethnic groups and we’re all coming together to make this city better.”