Tributes to Oluwatoyin Salau, a Black Lives Matter protester who was found dead at age 19 in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday, June 13, have been flooding social media since news of her untimely death made headlines. In the wake of Salau's alleged homicide, Gabrielle Union paid homage to the brave teenager in a lengthy Instagram post that also revealed that she had a lot in common with Salau. Gabrielle Union's Instagram tribute To Oluwatoyin Salau gets so personal.
On Monday, June 15, Union shared a heartbreaking post in honor of Salau. "She was 19. 19. 19," Union wrote. "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?"
Before getting into a personal story, Union added: "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."
Salau went missing on June 6, hours after she tweeted about having been molested that morning. "The man offered to give me a ride to find someplace to sleep and recollect my belongings from a church I refuged to a couple days back to escape unjust living conditions," Salau explained.
"He came disguised as a man of God and ended up picking me up from nearby Saxon Street," she continued. "I entered his truck only because I carry anything to defend myself not even a phone (which is currently at the church) and I have poor vision. I trusted the holy spirit to keep me safe."
In her Instagram tribute, Union went on to recall being in a similar situation as Salau when she was her age. "I am alive to talk about surviving my rape at 19," Union wrote. "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."
On Monday, a 49-year-old man named Aaron Glee Jr. was taken into police custody as a suspect in Salau's case, though it's unclear if he is the man she was describing in her tweets.