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Milwaukee: Community members mourn the death of Tallahassee activist Oluwatoyin Salau

By Aminata Ngom |
June 20, 2020
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Milwaukee mourns the death of Tallahassee activist Oluwatoyin Salau.
Milwaukee mourns the death of Tallahassee activist Oluwatoyin Salau. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Milwaukee, WI - On the evening of June 18, a vigil was held for Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau, a 19-year-old student and activist from Tallahassee, Florida. Oluwatoyin (who was displaced due to unjust living conditions) was abducted by a man, assaulted and murdered earlier this week. Toyin had been out at Black Lives Matter protests in Tallahassee every day, fighting for justice for Tony McDade and other victims of police crimes.

The vigil provided a space for people to gather, light candles and give offerings for Oluwatoyin’s homegoing. There were many Black femmes, Black women, and Black non-men who spoke and shared poems with the group. The vigil was closed out by Monique Liston, who led everyone in a moment of silence and a declaration of love from the group to Oluwatoyin.

“Oluwatoyin Salau’s story is only one of many, but hers was heard, and if we can hear hers all the way from Florida there should be no reason we cannot listen to the Black girls in our very own communities,” said Alena Hix, one of the co-organizers of the vigil. “It is upsetting that it takes a tragedy from another state or city to reveal the stories and lives of the people around us, in the communities around us, stories that go ignored.”

“Toyin brought together a lovely group of people, a group of people that believed her and loved her,” Hix said. “It is important to remember how we treated Toyin, someone we all felt was a friend in our hearts, and show up for the Black girls of Milwaukee while they are still alive, amplify their voices, and believe them.”

Oluwatoyin’s tragic end is not just one isolated incident. Violence against Black women and girls happens far too often here and around the world. It is important to protect Black femmes, women and non-men in our own communities. Toyin’s vigil was kept standing so others can walk by and feel the gravity of what it means to lose such a young, vibrant light and to make everyone work harder to ensure this stops happening for good.

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