Protest for removal of Confederate statue takes place at FedEx Forum

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis group protested for the removal of Confederate statues before Friday’s Grizzlies game in Memphis, just hours after they were in Athens, Tennessee on the other side of the state to make their voice heard with the Tennessee Historical Commission.

“We left last night around midnight took us about 16 hours to get to Athens to make a statement on behalf of takeemdown901,” activist Tami Sawyer said.

Running off pure adrenaline, Sawyer led the charge on a busy Friday in front of FedExForum just before tonight`s Grizzlies tip-off.

It`s not the first time takeemdown901 protestors have chanted the words “no justice no peace” but it is the first time the mantra echoed through a crowd of fans heading to support the city`s NBA team.

“This is my duty, not just to fight these statues but to fight the continued oppression,” said Sawyer.

Sawyer says it’s her purpose to make sure Memphians aren`t able to turn a blind eye to whats going on around them.

"Some people aren`t ready for the truth and it's an ugly truth but the reality is the statue is not representative of everyone`s history," said Theryn Bond.

Bond says as long as the statues stand the wrong message prevails.

"All these legal loopholes and excuses we are over it. We are tired. We want these statues down and we want them down now," said Bond.

The protestors say even though five thousand people signed a petition calling for the removal of the statue and dozens continue to come out to rallies, nothing has changed but they believe something must change quickly.

"White supremacist draw power from these structures they`ve done it in Charlottesville. They plan to do it in," said Sawyer.

"How do we know they won`t come to Memphis and do it here. Where their forefather Nathan Bedford stands proudly on a horse."

In order to move Memphis forward, they say we can`t continue to look back.