Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington & More Pay Tribute to Slain Black Lives Matter Activist Oluwatoyin Salau
By Zach Seemayer
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images, Emma McIntyre /VF20/WireImage
Many celebrities are speaking out and paying tribute to slain Black Lives Matter protester Oluwatoyin "Toyin" Salau. After the body of the 19-year-old Florida activist was discovered days after she went missing, famous figures who have been vocal supporters of the BLM movement took to social media to mourn her death.
Salau's body, and the body of 75-year-old Victoria Sims, were discovered by police in Tallahassee on Saturday evening. Police announced they have since taken Aaron Glee Jr. into custody as a suspect in the killings, although they have not officially released any information on how Glee may have been connected to either victim.
Salau, a recent high school graduate, had been a vocal and outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter protests and became an influential figure after a video went viral showing her leading demonstrations in Florida and speaking passionately about police brutality.
"This is heartbreaking. Toyin, I am praying for you. I am praying for your family. I will continue to say your name and bring #JusticeForToyin," Kerry Washington wrote on Twitter, alongside a photo of Salau.
Gabrielle Union also mourned Salau's death in an emotional post, writing, "She was 19. 19. 19. A baby. Oluwatoyin 'Toyin' Salau was a 19 year old warrior who fought for US. She reported her sexual assault to police and days later was found murdered. The horrors she faced, the trauma she endured, all by 19 years old. 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."
Union added that she "can't shake" the tragedy of Salau's death. "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. 19. #BlackLivesMatter #AllBlackLivesMatter."
Salau went missing on June 6, the same day she tweeted about recently being sexually assaulted by an assailant who "came disguised as a man of God" and offered her a ride and a place to stay. Salau said she'd recently taken refuge at a church for a number of days to "escape unjust living conditions." Salau went on to write that she'd reported the attack to the police.
Common -- who has been an outspoken advocate and participant in the nationwide protests and demonstrations -- wrote of Salau: "She 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. We have to stand up against violence happening to our Black Women and Girls. God Bless her soul."
#JusticeForToyin: She 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. We have to stand up against violence happening to our Black Women and Girls. God Bless her soul. pic.twitter.com/SeJ43b7n6y
💔 rest in power Toyin...I keep telling myself God must be taking up their angels right now so they no longer have to suffer in this hell. But it does little to ease the pain of knowing so many are not safe here. So many beautiful souls. Stop killing black women. STOP. pic.twitter.com/IiXczeUEvX
I’m sorry I wasn’t as familiar with Oluwatoyin Salau as I’ve should have been. My heart hurts for her and those that loved her. She deserves justice. I just wish she had gotten what she needed most while she was still here — which was our protection https://t.co/Nu29GxmfUg
I am deeply saddened to hear #Oluwatoyin "Toyin" Salau has been found dead. This hits so close to home — literally only minutes from where I live and work. She was only 19 years old, but already found her voice as a strong #BlackLivesMatter activist in our community. pic.twitter.com/pPoeA9apIM
Meanwhile, Sims -- the 75-year-old woman whose body was discovered along with Salau -- had been missing since June 11. Sims was a dedicated activist involved in local Democratic political issues and a longtime AARP volunteer.
"Vicki worked tirelessly to improve the lives of others," a spokesperson from AARP said in a statement released to a local ABC affiliate. The spokesperson described Sims as a "dedicated advocate for older Americans; a committed volunteer for AARP, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Big Bend and other community causes; a devoted mother and grandmother; and a passionate, fully engaged citizen, helping our nation to achieve its highest ideals."