By Alyssa Schnugg
For the second time within a week, hundreds of people gathered in Oxford Thursday evening to protest racism and police brutality across the nation.
The march started in front of Oxford City Hall and ended at the Gertrude Ford Center on University Avenue.
The marchers carried signs with messages of anger, unity and change. The group chanted “No Justice, No Peace,” and “Black Lives Do Matter,” repeating George Floyd’s name over and over.
Floyd was killed last month in Minnesota after a police officer held him down with his knee on Floyd’s neck while Floyd pleaded with then-officer Derek Chauvin, saying he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers have been fired and charged with aiding and abetting.
The march started off with Pastor Rickey Scott leading the group in prayer. At the Ford Center, Scott ended the march again, in prayer asking everyone to take a knee. Several police officers from the Oxford Police Department also knelt.
“We started in prayer and we’re going to end in prayer,” Scott said. “Today in Oxford, Mississippi, we have walked together, we have chanted together now let us come together. Today we showed the nation that we can come together in unity and agreement.”
The march was organized by Tracey Williams who also organized a rally held in front of City Hall on Saturday. Williams said it was important to her and those attending that both events remain peaceful. It was her way, she said, to help make Oxford a voice in the fight against racial injustice.
“We are sick and tired of the same things happening year after year,” Williams said. “We watch every year, unarmed black men and women getting killed. Not only Oxford is taking a step to change these injustices, but it’s also taking place all over the world and we wanted to be a part of that.”