Say. Her. Name. Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau.
This week, tragically, we lost Salau — a 19-year-old activist who advocated around race, police and other social issues. Salau fought for everyone. She said Black Lives Matter and centered trans and queer Black lives in her activism. It is beyond heartbreaking to know how the movement collectively failed her at such a young age.
She will not be forgotten. Rest in power.
Today, we dedicate our work to Salau. Additionally, we begin today, on Juneteenth — the commemoration of the end of slavery — to remind ourselves that we are far beyond the beginning of this fight.
A Black Girl Catch 22
by Toni’s Daughter
They say you realize your strength when being strong is your only option
but, what if being strong ain’t a option no more?
what if I can’t take no more?
what if my store is empty?
will this end me?
I feel enmity.
everyone is an enemy.
flesh of my flesh.
bone of my bone.
her words stone,
and I’m no soft thing either.
Soft is a luxury I was never afforded.
I could never afford it.
always a few cents short,
so I kind of contorted myself into a shell.
to protect and defend.
to amend the ills of this world.
to pick up the pieces.
to pull it together.
to weather the storm.
But, what if being strong ain’t an option no more?
Dear Black Girl
by Sherell Farmer ’22
Does your soul hurt?
No, no, no actually, what I mean is:
Does your body hurt?
From holding up the bodies of dead and living black men?
black men who won’t even say your name?
Black girl, it is okay to admit your pain
I know they don’t love you like they should
I know they don’t love you like you love them
It is hard to be a black girl
Even though our bodies have birthed entire nations
Even though every single thing that is beautiful in this world in some way, has been touched, has molded by a black women
I, who have nourished white women and white men and black men and other black women
I, who have never been nourished myself
I, who cries at night time – if I am lucky enough to live to night time /
After all, black girls go missing and are almost never given the honor of being looked of
We are killed with justice seldom attached, names never remembered and rarely said
When will we be mourned?
blk voices runs every Friday. This is the first installment of the series.