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.
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.
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.”