Ole Miss athletes lead unity march to remove confederate statue

WATCH: Ole Miss athletes lead unity march to remove confederate statue

OXFORD,Miss. — A unity march was held Saturday afternoon in Oxford to call for the confederate statue on the square to be taken down, as well as speaking out against police brutality and injustice.

The area was full and the event organizer said they were pleased with the turnout.

Ryder Anderson, an Ole Miss football player said, “Highly motivated. Highly encouraged to see this turnout.”

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He said Saturday’s unity march was a sight to see.

Ricks Mendoza, who attended with his wife and two kids, said that was a sight he didn’t expect to see when his family moved to Oxford a few years ago.

“To be honest no,” said Mendoza. “No, I arrived and I was absolutely horrified to see the confederate monument right outside of the courthouse.”

The march was to push for the removal of the confederate statue on the square.

Marchers also spoke out and held banners relating to police brutality and injustice.

“We’ve got a lot more to do as well,” said Alonzo Hilliard, an Ole Miss alumni. “I think putting this in the forefront a lot of people have began to be aware of what’s happening and getting educated.”

Rebels player, Momo Sanogo said this raised awareness event is encouraging college athletes to speak out more.

“I’m just happy that it’s now becoming normalized for us to use our platform without facing criticism or potential career failure,” said Sanogo.

“I can just do my best to use my platform and try to make some change with the support of the whole community,” said Anderson. “There’s nothing that we can’t make happen. We can really do this.”

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Mendoza never imagined that he would see social change.

“Given the Mississippi flag I never imagined that a day like today would come where we’re almost on the cusp of massive social change,” he said.

There could be major changes in Mississippi soon, as the legislation on a new flag passed the House and Senate Saturday.

The bill is expected to be debated Sunday.

“I’m just happy this process is moving forward,” said Sanogo. “It will be a flag that all of Mississippi gets to decide on.”

Organizers of the unity march said next week Ole Miss alumni could be holding their own rally as well.