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LOUnited Rally draws crowd to protest statue and police brutality

The LOUnited rally, hosted by Ole Miss student-athletes, drew a crowd to the Square in the fight for change this past weekend.

Rebels linebacker Momo Sanogo and defensive end Ryder Anderson led the rally at the Oxford Square to raise awareness for causes including taking down the Confederate statue on the Lafayette County Courthouse lawn and ending police brutality.

“I walked campus and I saw the statue,” Anderson said. “I walked the Square and I saw that statue glaring down on me. Glaring down on my people in this community. I was infuriated and insulted, but not surprised. And now here we are. They’re moving the statue out of the Circle and just to come to find out they’re doing all these renovations to somewhat glorify it and build some type of shrine. I’m infuriated and I’m insulted, but I’m not surprised.”

The rally, called LOUnited, sought to unite Lafayette County, the City of Oxford, and the University of Mississippi in the common goal of making the area inclusive and welcoming to all people.

It also sought to encourage the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors to take action regarding the Confederate monument on the courthouse lawn.

The rally included a march that began on the Square and ended at the Old Armory Pavilion, where marchers were met with water, snacks and first aid if it was needed. Leading the march was Sanogo, Anderson and Donnetta Johnson, an Ole Miss women’s basketball player, who carried a “Black Lives Matter” banner down South Lamar Boulevard and University Avenue.

More than 400 people showed up to participate in the march. Attendees carried signs, which read: “Black Lives Matter,” “Take It Down” and “Change the Flag,” as they marched in unity to the Pavilion. 

“Move that statue, change that flag,” they chanted in unison. 

At the Pavilion, the Anderson and Sanogo spoke about why they wanted to gather and speak against racism and police brutality.

“It’s become normal,” Anderson said. “It’s been normal. I swipe through Twitter every day, and I see stuff that just breaks my heart. It makes my skin crawl, and I’m upset. I’m infuriated. I’m insulted. But I’m not surprised.”

Sanogo posted a tweet after the event and announced that they had raised over $3,000 to benefit Boys & Girls Club of North Mississippi and the family of Dominique Clayton, an Oxford resident killed by former Oxford Police Officer Matthew Kinne in May of 2019.

While the march was taking place, Mississippi lawmakers were gathered at the Capitol in Jackson to vote on changing the state flag.