|Intro||Nigerian–American writer, strategist and community organizer|
|Is|| Activist |
|From|| United States of America |
|Type|| Activism |
|Birth||15 August 1984|
Opal Tometi (born August 15, 1984) is a Nigerian-American human rights activist, writer, strategist, and community organizer. She is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. She is the former Executive Director of the United States’ first national immigrant rights organization for people of African descent – the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI).
Tometi brought attention to the racial inequities faced by Black people. Before that, Tometi was an active community organizer in her hometown advocating for human rights issues. She has campaigned for advancing human rights, migrant rights, and racial justice worldwide.
She has appeared in several media outlets, including Glamour, Essence, CNN, MSNBC, and BET. Her written works have been published by several media outlets including The Huffington Post and Time. Tometi continues to collaborate with communities in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York City, Oakland, Washington D.C. and communities throughout the Southern states.
Early life and education
Opal Tometi is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants. She is the oldest of three children and has two younger brothers. She grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Arizona and a Masters in Communication and Advocacy from Arizona State University. On May 7, 2016, she received an honorary doctor of science degree from Clarkson University. Tometi is a former Case Manager for survivors of domestic violence and still provides community education on the issue.
Black Lives Matter
Tometi joined with Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza to give shape to the Black Lives Matter group. Tometi is credited with setting up the social media aspects of the movement.
Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Tometi worked as Co-Director and Communications Director, prior to becoming Executive Director of BAJI. Her contributions included leading organizing efforts for the first ever Black-led rally for immigrant justice and the first Congressional briefing on Black immigrants in Washington DC.
Tometi has spoken at Susquehanna University, the Facing Race Conference of 2012, the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Summit, and the Grinnell College Technology and Human Rights Symposium. She has presented at the United Nations and has participated with the United Nations Global Forum on Migration and the Commission on the Status of Women. While at The University of Arizona, Tometi volunteered with the American Civil Liberties Union. She is additionally involved with Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity and is a member of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc.
Recognition and awards
Tometi was featured as a new civil rights leader by Essence Magazine in 2014 and by the Los Angeles Times in 2013. She was listed in the Root 100 list of African American Achievers between 25 and 45. She was listed in the Cosmopolitan Top 100 list of extraordinary women. Along with Garza and Cullors, Tometi was named to the 2013 Time (magazine) 100 Women of the Year and Politico 50 2015 Guide to Thinkers, Doers, and Visionaries. In 2016, she was, alongside her co-founders, on Fortune’s list of “World’s Greatest Leaders”. She was awarded the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award in 2017. She is also featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). In 2018, Tometi was featured in the Guardian’s list of 200 leaders who embody the work of Frederick Douglass. In 2019, along with co-authors Alicia Garza and Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Tometi received a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award for When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. Recently, Tometi was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine and Guardian Nigeria Magazine.