Nobody's free until everybody's free.
On June 16, police found the body of Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau in the home of Aaron Glee Jr., who is being charged with murder and kidnapping, according to ABC News. The outlet added that Toyin was last seen on June 6.
This would mean that there ten days between when Toyin was last seen and when her body was discovered. To me, that is too long a time. We have seen states become militarized overnight, yet when it comes to a missing Black girl, there is a lapse in concern.
This is because Toyin existed at an intersection, activists and advocates emphasized at a memorial for Toyin on Chicago’s South Side. As a dark-skinned Black woman, Toyin had to fight the intersections of colorism, racism, and misogynoir (a byproduct of both).
Sadly, she lost that fight.
Another heartbreaking realization about Toyin’s murder is that she was just nineteen years young. She had experienced merely a sliver of what this world had to offer before her life was stolen from her.
In this video, Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw lectures an audience on the importance of intersectionality, or the cross sections of our identities, when it comes to police brutality. Toyin's heartbreaking story reminds us why it matters. She was not just a woman. She was a Black woman. She was not just a Black woman. She was a dark skinned Black woman. All of Toyin's intersections matter as we look at her tragic death.
It is important to acknowledge them because, as the video shows, deaths of Black women are far less widely known than deaths of Black men, and this is not coincidence. That is the result of a society that marginalizes people who are already marginalized so that when you are not a white, cis-gendered man, your life, and death, is supposed to matter less. This is why Black Lives Matter moved to All Black Lives Matter.
In the same state where Toyin was murdered, Tony McDade, a Black trans man, was also murdered. Like Toyin, it is also important to address McDade's intersections as a Black trans man. Last year, “at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means,” said the Human Rights Campaign.
They also noted that ninety one percent of these deaths were Black women. So, yet again, Black women are the most likely to be murdered. We do not talk about that nearly enough, so it is important to start these conversations. In the words of Audre Lorde, a radical Black Lesbian, we must broaden the joining.
If we do not, there will be no one left to put their bodies on the front lines; no one left to organize spaces for radical thought; no one left to hide behind when you do not have the answers. In other words, the revolution must be intersectional, or there will be no revolution at all.
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