Say Her Name: Remembering Oluwatoyin Salau

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Photos of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Oluwatoyin Sala are shown on a barricade in front of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct building, Wednesday, June 24, 2020, inside the CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) zone in Seattle. Floyd and Taylor died as a result of police violence, and Salau was an activist whose death is being investigated as a possible homicide. The area has been occupied since a police station was largely abandoned after clashes with protesters, but Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday that the city would move to wind down the protest zone following several nearby shootings and other incidents that have distracted from changes sought by peaceful protesters opposing racial inequity and police brutality. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

As of September 22nd 2023, Aaron Glee has been sentenced to life in prison. The decision finally comes after the past three years have been filled with victim impact statements and social media outcry. In May of 2020, local Tallahassee activist and college student, Oluwatoyin Salau tweeted that she had been abused repeatedly and had to leave her home. At this time, Salau had been an active voice in her community, calling for justice for the victims of police brutality. However, her home life and relationship with her family proved to be unstable.

After being separated from her friends at a protest, Toyin tweeted on June 6th that she had been assaulted. Her tweet read “Anyways, I was molested in Tallahassee, Florida by a Black man this morning at 5:30 on Richview and Park Ave. The man offered to give me a ride to find someplace to sleep and recollect my belongings from a church I took refuge in a couple days back to escape unjust living conditions.” Salau stated that the assailant came disguised as a “man of God.” This was the last tweet Salau made.

            A few days later, her friends reported that she was missing and not responding to their texts. Security footage from a Tallahassee bus station revealed Salau getting into a white sedan with two other people. They are later revealed to be Aaron Glee and Victoria Sims. Glee kidnapped and forced Salau and Sims into his home. Sadly, their bodies were found days later. Now, three years after the deaths of their loved ones, the victims’ families received a sense of justice. “It’s not enough,” Rebecca Figueroa, a friend of Salau said. Figueroa told the Tallahassee Democrat, “We want the death penalty…Consecutive life sentences is a far more precious gift than he deserves.” While the sentencing does not alleviate their pain, it does serve as a reminder that victims will always be fought for.

An avid abolitionist, Salau spoke about the safety of young women and girls and the state of Black lives in America. In the midst of her housing insecurity and familial trauma, she knew it was important to stand for her community and became a pillar of justice. Salau is remembered fondly by her friends, community, and supporters. They think of her often and this sentencing is only the beginning of their healing process.

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