Eulogy sheds light on Toyin Salau’s faith, passion to fight for others

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

Throughout an afternoon memorial service for Oluwatoyin Salau, her siblings never let go embracing their mother, Victoria Momoh-Salau. 

They, like many of the nearly 100 people who came to the Old West Florida Enrichment Center for the funeral, wept. 

The afternoon was also tough for Pastor Zacch Olorunnipa, who eulogized Toyin Salau. He’s been a friend of the grieving family since Victoria Salau and her husband arrived in Tallahassee more than 20 year ago from Nigeria.

Delivering the eulogy is “a very tough task for me to do because I see Toyin as one of my own,” said Olorunnipa. “I have known Toyin from the time she was in the womb.”

Mourners leave the Enrichment Center Saturday following a memorial service for Toyin Salau.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

Toyin Salau was found dead nine days after going missing. Several stories circulate about circumstances surrounding the  death of the 19-year-old Lincoln High School graduate who marched with Black Lives Matter protesters for several days before going missing.

But last Saturday she was remembered as someone with faith in a higher power, and having a passion for fighting for human rights. 

“She stood for something,” Olorunnipa said. “She stood for justice.

“There was no doubt that sister Toyin was a child of God. I saw a lot of Godly traits in Toyin.”

Ama Erefah vouched for that when she present a list of  resolutions, including one from Swift Creek Middle School.

“She had deep biblical questions that had us scratching our heads,” Erefah said.

Victoria Momoh-Salau was consoled by her son and daughter throughout last Saturday’s memorial service.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

In addition to photos of Salau and her family, her obituary also told of a closely-knit family. It was just last March that she moved into an apartment of her own.

All the time, she stayed in touch with her family. 

Her mother recalled their last conversation on the Thursday night before she went missing. Victoria Momoh-Salau recalled how they  spoke for about 45 minutes.  She prayed for her mother then she in turn said, “mommy, pray for me.” 

During the conversation Toyin said to her mom, “Mommy, I love you, I love you mommy.”

She thanked her mother for not giving up on her then beseeched her “Please don’t stop praying mommy.”

More details of her days in captivity were divulged in her obit, although her family didn’t speak during the ceremony.

One of the notes that Toyin left where she was discovered read, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” Yet another said, “I am the righteousness of God.”

Toyin Salau also attended Buck Lake Elementary School, where her early interest in civil rights earned her the NAACP Dreamers and Doers Award. She also won the Black History and Cultural Brain Bowl at Swift Creek.

She had big goals, with plans to attend FAMU’s law school. At one point, she attended Lively Technical College where her focus was cosmetology. She eventually started taking classes at Tallahassee Community College as well.

Her death in early June sent shockwaves through the community.

“I thought it was not real,” said family friend Victor Eno.

To the end, her family celebrated her passion for justice. A written closing statement said: 

“While we mourn Toyin’s untimely passing, we find comfort in knowing that she was principled and truly committed to justice for all mankind.”