Friends remember Black Lives Matter activist Toyin Salau
June 15, 2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Friends and family are sharing stories of Oluwatoyin Salau and how they hope she will be remembered.
Tallahassee Police confirmed Oluwatoyin "Toyin" Salau, 19, of Tallahassee,
Salau was last seen on June 6.
Friends say Salau always had a passion for social justice and the Black Lives Movement. She was interviewed by WCTV on May 29 at one of the local demonstrations against police brutality.
Long time friend Chynna Carney says she knew Salau for several years. She says the two shared a strong bond, sharing a tough past of sexual and physical abuse.
Salau detailed a sexual assault in a series of tweets on June 6, the last day she was seen.
Despite that, Carney says she never gave up trying to help others.
"She goes through so much, she always wanted peace and love. She never wanted violence," Carney said. "She's always been a pretty sad person, but she has the most beautiful soul."
Carney explained that Salau channeled that pain in to making change, participating in protests almost daily.
"She was out there every day, protesting for everybody, caring about everybody else but herself. She always was like that," Carney said. "I want people to remember Tony McDade because that's who she was really passionate about. I want people to fight, I want people to go out and protest, justice for Toyin. Add her to the list, I hate to say it but add her on to that list."
Carney says she wants Salau's story to be hear, that it sheds light on violence against women, and that protests continue through what she hopes will be known at 'Toyin's Week.'
Allyson Sancho told WCTV she sat next to Salau as the pair graduated from Lincoln High School in 2018.
"I felt comfortable with her, I felt comfortable opening up around her," she said. "I don't think anything is going to be the same after this."
Sancho said she lost touch with Salau after graduation, but reconnected earlier this month after attending a Black Lives Matter protest. She saw her former classmate leading the crowd, impressed with the person she had become.
"She's not scared, like not scared at all."
The two caught up after and shared stories. Salau went missing the following day. Sancho said she called police trying to offer help on where she had been, but never received a call back.
Sancho called the news of her friends death something "eating her alive." She wants everyone to remember Salau's compassion.
"She cared so deeply about every person, and you knew it was genuine, she wasn't just saying it to make you feel better," she said.
"She really believed in you and everything she was fighting for."