Sports celebrities join thousands across metro Atlanta to march on 10th day of protests

ATLANTA — Thousands of people across the metro area took to the streets on the tenth day of protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes returned to the governor’s mansion in Buckhead on Sunday where a protest was organized by high school students.

The crowd consisted of teens, parents, their friends, younger kids and grandparents who met up at a shopping center about three miles away and marched to the mansion, chanting and holding personalized signs.

Once they got to the governor's mansion, Fernandes said everyone was quiet as people got on megaphones and spoke about the oppression black people have suffered for hundreds of years.

They did a "sit in" in the middle of the street, but this time police didn't arrest anyone in this group for stepping off the sidewalk like they had in the past.

Also in the crowd were some celebrities, including basketball hall of famer Dikembe Mutombo.

“We need to pass the torch to these young people and we know the world would be much better than it is today for them when they get to our age,” Mutombo said.

Several players of the Atlanta Falcons were also part of the crowd, including head coach Dan Quinn.

At one point when the protesters took over West Paces Ferry Road and took a knee in the middle of the street, members of the National Guard moved closer toward the crowd because the crowd was moving closer to the governor's house. Something was said, and Fernandes watched the armed guards back down and walk away.

“I think people are tired of things not changing and if no matter how much you protest, things aren’t changing," protester Stephanie Howard said.

In Cobb County, more than 800 people peacefully gathered and marched in Marietta.

The college students who organized the rally told Channel 2’s Chris Jose that it’s time for people to wake up and get out of their bubble.

The group gathered at Zion Baptist Church and marched down Lemon Street with a specific call for action.

“Getting to the polls on Tuesday is extremely important,” Howard University Student Taylor Colbert said. “Letting your voice be heard, letting your voice be known. You need to have people there fighting for us.”

Colbert spearheaded Sunday’s rally and teamed up with young women in her community -- all with Marietta ties.

“It was very deliberate and specific place to have it because people here often feel like they’re in their own bubble,” said Elizabeth Garnes, Xavier University Student. “We’re letting people around here know that black voices want to be heard, and we will be heard.”

For mother Amanda Parsons, Sunday’s march was a real-life lesson for her son.

“There’s power in my privilege. There’s power in his privilege. Until we march together as one, and end the privilege and stand on even ground, it’s never going to change,” Parson said.

Garnes told Jose that it’s important to make an impact in Marietta because this is home. She’s hoping local leaders are listening.