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Community gathers at Capital to honor Oluwatoyin Salau

Posted at 11:14 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 23:41:42-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Wednesday was an emotional night in Tallahassee as family and friends celebrated the life of a young woman known for her passion and activism.

People from all around gathered at the Capital to pay their respects after police say 19-year-old Oluwatoyin Salau was murdered.

The grounds at Florida's Capital were filled with hundreds of people to share in a moment of grief and reflection for Salau.

Her closest friends and many who only knew her name came to honor her.

"I imagined her name being in headlines," said Brooklyn Demps, a close friend of Salau's. "But not like this."

Unimaginable pain felt by those who got the chance to know her and respect from hundreds who never will.

"She was truly a beautiful soul," China said.

Lifting songs of hope... even in the wake of tragedy.

The people she confided to in her times of pain shared some of their most intimate moments with Salau.

"She shared her stories," said Latricia Scrivens, Salau's pastor. "She shared her pain. She shared her struggles. She shared her heart."

Friends spoke of her strength, saying her life was not easy.

"She said, 'China I just moved out. I'm actually kind of homeless,'" China said.

They say Salau was a victim of molestation and abuse, but those things never defined her. It strengthened her fight for justice and equality.

Friends said they could not believe how much kindness and care she had for others despite everything she had been through.

Although there were moments of sadness, Wednesday night, for many, was a call to action.

"Previous generations didn't get it right," said Jaelyn Guyton, with Florida A&M University Student Government Association. "So our generation of leaders will make sure to right this injustice."

A grieving community is coming together to fight for a woman who fought for others.