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."
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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. 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. 19. #BlackLivesMatter #AllBlackLivesMatter #JusticeForToyin
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— COMMON (@common) June 15, 2020
The outpouring of love and grief was widespread, with countless supporters taking to social media to memorialize the slain teenage activist.
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after fighting on the frontlines endlessly for Black lives, Oluwatoyin Salau tweeted a detailed description of being sexually assaulted by a man who offered her a place to sleep. she was seeking refuge from abuse at home. shortly after tweeting her experience, Toyin went missing for days. last night they found her body. you see the direct outcome of your lack of support for women, especially Black women, who need help? who need protection. who need to be believed. i’m talking to you, the person who’s immediate response to a woman coming out about assault with disbelief, interrogation, mockery, “why now”, “you want clout”. to those that scroll past Black women’s goFundMe’s titled “trying to escape my abusive home” by CHOICE, not because you don’t have the means to help. this is for you, the family member who silently watches assault take place IN YOUR FAMILY and does absolutely nothing about it (by choice). i’m talking to you, the person that remains friends with/stands by/supports abusive men... y’all will defend your rapey ass friends till the death. accuse women of deserving it. of asking for it. they couldn’t have possibly BEEN ASSAULTED. this is for all of us, Toyin’s story is tragically the story of way too many we don’t know the names of. ones we pass on the street everyday. we really have to do fuckin better at supporting eachother. Toyin’s life could’ve been saved at home. Toyin’s life could’ve been saved when she escaped and needed somewhere to stay. we ache for you, Oluwatoyin Salau. say her NAME. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE IF THIS APPLIES TO YOU AND STRAIGHTEN THE FUCK UP.
rest in power queen ❤️❤️ such a beauty... gone too soon pic.twitter.com/B0SVOXNKln— chloe x halle (@chloexhalle) June 15, 2020
💔 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— Lauren Jauregui (@LaurenJauregui) June 16, 2020
OLUWATOYIN SALAU - you deserved so much better. rest in peace ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cJjngtJYOs— HAN (@berhana) June 15, 2020
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— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 15, 2020
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— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) June 15, 2020
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."
According to the Tallahasee Police Department, "The deaths are being investigated as homicides and have been turned over to TPD’s Violent Crime Unit."