Nineteen-year-old Black Lives Matter activist Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau was last seen on June 6 at a protest in Tallahassee, Florida. Earlier that day, she tweeted that she was sexually assaulted, and she went missing shortly after. It wasn’t until June 15 that the police discovered her body along with the body of 75-year-old AARP volunteer Victoria Sims. Aaron Glee Jr., 49, was taken into custody, charged with their deaths, and reportedly confessed his crimes in gruesome detail.
Salau’s death is a horrific reminder that Black women—especially dark-skinned Black women—are the most disrespected and unprotected in America, and this country must do better. Before Salau was killed, she spoke in front of the police department in the city where Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was killed by the police. She told the crowd, “I don’t want their names gone in vain. Those lives may be lost, but we cannot be scared. You are angry and it’s okay to be angry….We have to do more. We can’t stop here.”
Today would’ve been her 20th birthday. Say her name and demand justice. Here’s how you can do it:
Think about why cisgender straight Black men often receive the most attention when it comes to demanding justice for Black lives. (Remember how long it took for people to start talking about Breonna Taylor, who was killed in March?) LGBTQ+ Black people, disabled Black people, and Black women are ignored far too often, with fatal consequences. Read about colorism and all the battles that Black women constantly face while trying to protect themselves against senseless violence, which will help you understand Salau’s story.
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Open Your Purse
Yes, again. Donate to Justice 4 Black Girls, which set up the Oluwatoyin Salau Freedom Fighters Fund to “provide monetary relief for Black girl activists up to $ 250 for housing, food, or other life-sustaining supports.” The organization will donate up to $ 50,000, so help it reach its goal. Continue donating to the organization even after they reach their goal in order to help them “expand global knowledge of the way US based systems of power respond to and perpetuate the abuse of Black girls in schools, in prisons and in protest.”
And donating to bail funds and organizations that are dedicated to fighting racial inequity can help protestors who are on the ground and at risk of being arrested or worse.
Sign Another Petition
Sign this Change.org petition, which calls on the Tallahassee Police Department to thoroughly investigate Salau’s death and assault. This petition is so close to reaching 150,000 signatures.
Call the Governor
Contact Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to demand the police fully investigate Salau’s death. You can call him at 850-717-9337 or email him at GovernorRon.Desantis@eog.myflorida.com.
And Keep Protesting
Salau was fighting for all Black lives. Honor her by showing up for them. Here are more guides for how to demand justice right now, how to support Black trans lives, how to find mental health resources if you’re a Black woman, how to talk to your relatives about Black Lives Matter, how to spot a fake protest story, and how to protest safely.
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