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Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, And Others React To Murder and Assault Of Black Lives Matter Activist

Updated June 17, 2020.

At a time when BLM protestors are morning the death of Oluwatoyin Salau, a 19-year-old activist and speaker, celebrities are showing their support.

Salau was found dead on Saturday, June 13, in Florida according to Tallahassee Police. Leading up to her death, Salau had been an active voice in the Black Lives Matter in Tallahassee.

She was reported missing on June 6 after she claimed that she’d been sexually assaulted earlier that day.

Salau spent her final days voicing her desire to seek proper treatment of Black people and the fight for Trans people across the globe.

https://twitter.com/kurtzobain/status/1272387191314890752

A clip of Salau giving a speech in Florida in which she explained the importance of the Black Lives Matter has already been viewed over 7.3 million times on Twitter.

“At the end of the day, I cannot take my fucking skin color off,” Salau said during her speech at Black Lives Matter demonstrations. “Wherever the fuck I go I’m profiled. Look at my fucking hair, look at my skin. I can’t take this shit off. So guess what? Imma die by it. Imma die by my fucking skin. You cannot take my fucking blackness away from me.”

In each clip of Salau speaking at demonstrations, she can be heard and seen reciting the names of Black people killed by police. “I don’t want their names gone in vain,” Salau explained during one protest before the Tallahassee Police Department.

In her final days, Salau also used her voice to seek help in bringing justice to a man who had sexually assaulted her.

In the hours before she went missing, Salau shared in a tweet that she had been sexually assaulted. On the afternoon that she went missing, Salau tweeted that a man had offered to give her a ride back to a church where she had sought “refuge” because of “unjust living conditions” and then molested her.

“He came disguised as a man of God and ended up picking me up from nearby Saxon Street,” Salau said in a post to her Twitter account. “I trusted the holy spirit to keep me safe.”

After the assault took place, Salau said that she called the police and shared an address that she claimed belonged to her attacker.

According to ABC, Tallahassee police are investigating Salau’s death and how it might relate to the murder of another woman who went missing this month. The body of Victoria Sims, 75, was also found the same day as Salau’s. “Authorities have identified a suspect in the case, Aaron Glee Jr., 49, who was brought into custody over the weekend following the discovery of the victims, police said. Glee has not been charged in connection to the disappearances,” ABC reported.

According to the Tallahassee police, Salau and Sim’s deaths are being investigated as homicides and their cases have been turned over to the department’s Violent Crime Unit.

Here’s hoping Salau’s fight to make the world a better place does not go in vain.

https://twitter.com/kurtzobain/status/1272387191314890752

Through the speeches she gave at rallies it is clear that to Salau, “Black Lives Matter” meant a lot to her and the crowds who listened to her speak felt moved to follow her words. Even more importantly, she was clearly a fierce proponent for the lives of all Black people including trans people. It is a terrible tragedy that we have lost such an important voice as hers.

In response to her death, stars have taken to social media to mourn.

Actress Gabrielle Union posted a lengthy message to her Instagram page on Tuesday writing “She was 19. 19. 19. A baby. Oluwatoyin ‘Toyin’ Salau was a 19 year old warrior who fought for US,” Union wrote. “Who cares for little Black girls, Black teens, Black women? Toyin deserved so much more. She fought for so much more for all of us… I can’t shake it. I am her and she is me. I am alive to talk about surviving my rape at 19. She is not. The work continues. The fight continues. The reckoning will continue. Toyin should be here. She was 19. A baby. Hold our babies tight. Love them. Protect them. Support them.”

Kerry Washington also expressed her hurt over Salau’s writing on Twitter “This is heartbreaking. Toyin, I am praying for you. I am praying for your family. I will continue to say your name and bring.”

Common also spoke out about Salau’s death using the hashtag #JusticeForToyin in a Twitter post that described how the activist “spent the last days of her life fighting for justice for her people. It shouldn’t be lost on us that Black Women have been at the forefront of these Movements,” he continued. “We have to stand up against violence happening to our Black Women and Girls. God Bless her soul.”

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ICE Just Deported A Key Witness in A Sexual Assault Investigation Against Them

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ICE Just Deported A Key Witness in A Sexual Assault Investigation Against Them

According to the Texas Tribune, the key witness in the ongoing sexual assault investigation at an ICE detention center has been deported. She was previously being held at a Customs Enforcement detention center in El Paso, Texas.

While the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General initially forbid ICE from deporting her, the office apparently reversed their decision on Monday. According to reports, the office determined that “further interviews could be done over the phone”.

via Getty Images

According to previous reports, the unidentified 35-year-old woman alleged that guards had “forcibly kissed” her and touched her on the private parts.

Documents, which were extensively reported on by ProPublica, described the harassment as a “pattern and practice” at this particular detention center.

The woman also alleges that the guards would attempt to extort sexual favors from her and other detainees when they were returning from the medical unit back to her barrack. One guard allegedly told her that he would help get her released “if she behaved”.

The unnamed woman reported the harrasment to her lawyers who then filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. The DHS then opened an investigation into the ICE Detention Center in El Paso.

The FBI has, since then, interviewed the woman extensively. According to documents, the woman gave investigators a tour of the facility where she showed them where the alleged harassment took place–in what were identified as security camera “blind spots”.

According to her, the guard told her that if she reported him, “No one would believe her”.

via Getty Images

Since the woman made these accusations, at least two other women at the same detention center came forward with similar claims. One of these women has already been deported.

According to previous reports, the unnamed woman accusing ICE officials of sexual assault was being held at the El Paso detention center for a drug-related crime and illegally entering the country. She claims she initially fled Mexico after a cartel member sexually assaulted and threatened her.

While ICE says that they have “zero tolerance for any form of sexual abuse or assault against individuals in the agency’s custody”, the reality is much bleaker.

According to the advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants, ICE has had 14,700 complaints filed against them between 2010 and 2016 alleging sexual and/or physical abuse.

In the most recent statistics available, ICE reported 374 formal accusations of sexual assault in 2018. Forty-eight of those were substantiated by the agency and 29 were still pending an investigation. According to Freedom for Immigrants, only a fraction of these complaints are investigated by the Office of Inspector General.

The woman’s lawyer, Linda Corchado, has not been shy about expressing her displeasure over her client’s deportation.

“[The government] allowed their most powerful witness to be deported,” Corchado said. “How can we possibly take this investigation seriously now or ever pretend that it ever was from the outset?”

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Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

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Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

Paul Morigi / Getty

As most Black families in the United States know, growing up as a Black person is seen as a great threat in and of itself.

In a country where the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans is higher than that for any other ethnicity, it’s no wonder that this is true. Or, why learning to handle the police while Black is a lesson taught so prominently beneath the roofs of Black households.

In a recent episode of her podcast, Michelle Obama revealed that she and her brother Craig Robinson learned this lesson years ago in a confrontation with the police.

Speaking with her brother in her podcast, Obama recalled the day Robinson was accused of stealing his own bike.

Speaking with her brother, a former basketball coach, and her mother Marian Robinson about childhood and parenting, Obama brought up a moment in which Craig was stopped by a couple of police officers while riding his bike.

At the time, Robinson was about 10 or 11 years old and had been gifted the yellow ten-speed Goldblatt by his parents. While riding the bike, a police officer grabbed hold of it and refused to let go despite Craig’s pleas and protests that the bike was his.

“I was like ‘Oh, you got this all wrong, this is my bike. Don’t worry, this isn’t a stolen bike,’ and [the cop] would not believe me, and I was absolutely heartbroken. And I finally said to him, ‘Listen, you can take me to my house, and I will prove to you, this is my bike,” Robinson recalled.

Fortunately, Obama’s mother was home at the time and ushered Craig inside of the house, while she dealt with the police. As her son recalls, “she had that tight lip” as she confronted the officers who had accused her son of stealing his own bike.

Robinson revealed that she discovered the officers were friends with the people who had made the complaint about Craig stealing the bicycle and demanded they come to her house so that they could “admit [they] made a serious mistake.”

Robinson described the experience as a “heartbreaking” one at various times throughout the interview.

“I could tell [the cops] were trying to ask me questions that would trip me up,” he recalled. “If I wasn’t so sure that that bike was mine and showed any kind of reticence, I could see them taking me off to the police station, not calling mom until after I’ve been, you know, booked or whatever they do.”

At one point, Obama remarked that the story is particularly familiar with ones being experienced across the country, even today. “Nobody thinks about, you know, the fact that we all come from good families that are trying to teach values, but when you leave the safety of your home and go out into the street, where being Black is, is a crime in and of itself, we have all had to learn how to operate outside of our homes with a level of caution, and fear, because you never know,” she recalled

Obama’s mother also described the experience as being “part of a culture” among police.

“Because those two policemen were Black. And they were acting exactly the same as any other policeman,” her mother remarked. “It’s almost like, this is what they thought they were, how they were thought they were supposed to act.”

All three family members noted how the incident is so familiar today. Despite the fact that decades have passed. “That’s the perfect example of what all of these young, Black people are dealing with now, because this was, almost fifty years ago?” Craig Robinson said.

Listen to the clip from the podcast here.

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