Say Her Name

Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau’s Story and Cautionary Tale

What We Can Do To Honor Toyin’s Memory & Keep Our Youth Safe

iWriteTee
8 min readJun 22, 2020

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Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

Please Note: Every dime that I earn from this piece and related pieces will be put in a fund to help pay for housing and supplies for homeless youth. I will post the link to the fund and more details soon.

I am writing this piece because as Clarkisha Kent so eloquently said, “I believe I am duty-bound to witness all of the stories so that they do not die a second death.” (WearYourVoiceMag.com)

We must remember and say her name Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau! She joins a growing list of Black women like Breonna Taylor, who’s lives senselessly and tragically ended. I have to admit, when I saw Pamela Turner’s shooting, something shifted. All the lost lives are weighing on me…I guess seeing her struggle was so jarring that it made me hyper aware of my own mortality as a Black woman. I thought about the lack of safety and security for Black and brown women in and out of our communities. So many Black activists and authors have written legendary works on the subject, like:

Sonia Sanchez’s “Wounded In The House Of A Friend”

Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”

Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls When The Rainbow Was Enuf”

There are countless tales about the unsafe lives of Black and brown women. Pamela’s story is shocking and lingers, but Toyin’s story is way too familiar…I thought about how I’ve had to fight for my life (literally and figuratively) over the years and count my blessings…

When I see videos and pictures of Toyin at protests fighting for justice — I saw myself when I was younger, brave, strong — yet trusting. The story of her last days are developing, but something tells me she fought to the very end…

What we do know is - on the day this beautiful, 19 year old Nigerian American girl went missing, she left the protest to go to a church to retrieve her personal items and trusted the wrong person to give her a ride. I’m not sure if the predators were at the protest, but she posted about being assaulted and then went missing. Her body was found 9 days later.

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iWriteTee

Top Writer, matriarch, educator & advocate with bylines in Zora, Momentum, An Injustice!, Illumination, Creators Hub, etc. Community Builder #FoodieFridays