Slate does an interesting article, where they discuss the transition of power in Black women who protest. Let us not forget how Black Lives Matter was founded by black women on the same night that George Zimmerman was acquitted from the murder of Trayvon Martin by Alicia Garza, Patrise Cullors, and Opal Tometi.
When we as women find out one of our own has been mistreated at the hands of violence, it is without question that we fight for you. We don’t mind being pushed, fought at, teargassed, shot with rubber bullets, standing and facing off the very own who take ours away, along with getting arrested for you. It would be appreciated if we could say that our male counterparts would do the same for us as much as we do for them. It’s not reciprocal.
When you look at this image, what is your perception?
The most recent example of a black women activist who unfortunately lost her life is BLM activist, Oluwatoyin ‘Toyin’ Salau. This death struck a nerve to me, especially as I’m also a fellow Nigerian-American. What we have to realize is that in America, it does not matter if you are African, Caribbean, African-American, even some South Asians, and for the hispanics who properly identify themselves as Afro-Latino/a. To the common eye, YOU ARE BLACK. There is no discretion in this, at all. No one is exempt. Acknowledge it.
Toyin was only 19 years old. She was a baby, who was just now approaching early adulthood. Yet, she had so much knowledge and you would constantly see her on the frontlines putting her self at risk to protect the movement. Some labeled Toyin as a ‘freedom fighter.’ It was when Toyin went missing on June 6th, that her fellow activists and friends went on a frantic search after noticing Toyin posting a series of tweets describing that she was sexually assaulted by a man who gave her a ride and offered her a place to stay. It was reported that Toyin sought out emergency shelter as she arrived at the Kearney Homeless Center and due to COVID-19 precautions, she was redirected to case managers that she never even contacted. She had escaped the man who picked her up, but was in his clothes because her belongings were at a church and Toyin contacted police but could not locate the man’s house again due to vision problems.
Toyin’s body was found on June 13th along with 75-year old Victoria Sims in a double homicide, in a rented house of 49-year old Aaron Glee, Jr. Who confessed to the murders on a phone call with his mother and was later caught by police on June 14th after he tried to flee on a bus to Orlando, Florida.
On one of the vigils held for Oluwatoyin in Miami, one of the attendees states, “Toyin isn’t with us anymore because we didn’t do enough.”
It hurts to see these types of endings on stories like this, which leaves us with the question: What are we doing to protect our Black women?
And I close this post by quoting questions given by an attendee for a vigil held for Toyin. May her death not go in vain, and bring awareness to the issue of protecting our Black women.
“What can I do better when it comes to protecting Black women, to make them feel safe, to make them feel supported, to make them feel seen, to make them feel heard?”
Say her NAME. LISTEN to black women. PROTECT black women.