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Protect & Love Black Women...While We Are Still Here.


Oluwatoyin should still be here.

Last night while skimming through social media, I came across yet another hashtag: #justicefortoyin. I stared at her picture for so long because she reminded me of myself, and when I learned more about Toyin's story, my heart broke. I only slept for two hours because her story was of such familiarity, and I kept replaying her last moments in my head. What was she feeling? Did she feel betrayed? Who did she last think about? Did she think of those who loved her or those who hated her? What were her last words? From the time that Toyin made her tweets public, we should have believed her and protected her. We should have immediately reached out to her and offered her shelter or support. We failed her. We failed another young Black woman. Toyin was a beautiful woman with the most beautiful name; her name means "God is worthy to be praised" in Yoruba. In one of her tweets, Toyin said that she trusted the holy spirit to keep her safe.


When I say that Toyin reminded me of myself,

I mean that she was both a social justice activist and believer of God. She found a way to love God and fight daily for her people. Toyin probably knew the Gospel better than most of these Christians who refuse to get politically involved. I was laying in my bed, praying and crying to God that he would bring her family comfort, not knowing that they were abusive and kicked her out at nineteen years old.


When I say that Toyin reminded me of myself,

I mean that I know what it's like to be sexually abused and molested by your brother and not having a soul believe or protect you. I read tweets from some of Toyin's friends stating that her brother abused and raped her, and then created a GoFundMe account in her name. That's how much Toyin was worth to her family. Her existence was useless, but not the money that came after her disposable and lifeless body. When my brother first sexually abused me, I was seven years old. My body was hypersexualized, and he forced me to become a woman before I could even go through puberty. The abuse went on silently for ten years until I found the courage to speak out, but my family did not believe me. Instead of him leaving our home, my sister and I were taken away by Child Protective Services...because it was never our home to begin with.

I don't know exactly how life was for Toyin growing up, but when I say that she reminded me of myself, I mean that I, too, come from a Black immigrant family who treats sexual assault and abuse as if it is a myth. A pun. From my personal experience, I know that some Black mothers would choose their abusive sons over their "fast" daughters. I, like Toyin probably did, begged my family to believe me, protect me, and keep me safe...but they failed me as a child. Fortunately, I survived my abuse and I am healing. I just wish that Toyin was here, healing with me too.


When I say that Toyin reminded me of myself,

I mean that I am also a young Black woman with dreams and goals. I fight daily for my community, but I never signed up to do it at the expense of my own existence. Toyin did not sign up to fight for ALL Black lives just to have hers taken away. I am afraid and I am tired. I am a tired Black woman. I don't have the strength to protect myself from both white supremacy and toxic/fragile masculinity. I want to live. I want to be here. Toyin. Should. Be. Here. Protect and love Black women while we are still here! Believe us when we speak out about our sexual assault. Remember that our Black life matters, too. When we say Black lives matter, it literally means all Black lives, including Black trans lives, Black queer lives, Black homeless lives, Black disabled lives. Including Toyin's life.


We have to say HER name, but it is our duty to ensure that her name is the last Black name that is remembered in this way. In the name of Oluwatoyin Salau, we have to keep fighting for our liberation. Do not forget this name.


#OluwatoyinSalau

#OluwatoyinSalau

#OluwatoyinSalau

#OluwatoyinSalau

#OluwatoyinSalau

#OluwatoyinSalau

#OluwatoyinSalau

#OluwatoyinSalau

#OluwatoyinSalau


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