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Veterans, business leaders spend Labor Day protesting Confederate statue in Oxford

WMC Action News 5 Memphis logo WMC Action News 5 Memphis 9/7/2020 Briseida Holguin
a group of people in a park: Veterans, business leaders and community members gathered outside the Lafayette County Courthouse on Labor Day to call for the relocation of a Confederate statue. © Provided by WMC Action News 5 Memphis Veterans, business leaders and community members gathered outside the Lafayette County Courthouse on Labor Day to call for the relocation of a Confederate statue.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Veterans and business leaders in Oxford chose to take action on Labor Day.

“We can not wait any longer, we need to change and we need to change now,” said John Currence, owner of City Grocery Restaurant.

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A group of local veterans and business leaders hosted a “Labor of Love” rally outside the Lafayette County Courthouse.

The group wants to relocate the Confederate statue that has been on Court House Square since 1907.

Similar gatherings have taken place throughout the summer. In July, faith leaders from 18 churches also gathered calling for the relocation of the statue.

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Veteran Alonzo Hilliard says relocating the statue would be a way to connect with Oxford’s Black community.

“My message pretty much is was an opportunity for the supervisors to take this statue down and it would be a good chance to reconcile with the Black community,” said Hilliard.

Back in July the Lafayette County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to keep the statue where it is.

Rhondalyn Peairs, an Oxford native, says the statue is offensive and believes there is a better place it.

“We have a veterans cemetery that it could be relocated to on county property, there’s a Confederate cemetery on university property, so there are many places. But I think what you put in the center of anything is what you’re saying is the most important and what is valued,” said Peairs.

She along with the League of Women Voters Oxford/North Mississippi chapter helped register voters Monday’s rally.

Currence says in order to see change people need to vote.

“Voting is one of the ways that folks can make a difference,” said Currence.

We reached out to the Lafayette County’s Board of Supervisors for a comment but have not heard back.

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WMC Action News 5 Memphis

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