Opal Tometi is a cofounder of Black Lives Matter, the historic political project created to combat implicit bias and anti-black racism and to protect and affirm the beauty and dignity of all Black lives. A New York-based Nigerian-American writer, strategist, and community organizer, Tometi is credited with creating the online platforms of #BlackLivesMatter and initiating the social media strategy during the project’s early days. The campaign has since grown into a national network of approximately 40 chapters.
In 2016, in recognition of their contribution to human rights, Opal Tometi and the #BlackLivesMatter cofounders received an honorary doctorate degree, BET’s Black Girls Rock Community Change Agent Award, recognition among the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune and POLITICOmagazines, and the first ever Social Movement of The Year Award from the Webbys.
Tometi is currently at the helm of the country’s leading Black organization for immigrant rights, the award winningBlack Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), a national organization that educates and advocates to further immigrant rights and racial justice together with African-American, Afro-Latino, African and Caribbean immigrant communities.
A transnational feminist, Tometi supports and helps shape the strategic work of Pan African Network in Defense of Migrant Rights, and the Black Immigration Network (BIN). She has presented at the United Nations and participated with the United Nation’s Global Forum on Migration and Commission on the Status of Women. She also is being featured in the Smithsonian’s new National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) for her historic contributions.
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Opal Tometi is a student of liberation theology and her practice is in the tradition of Ella Baker, informed by Stuart Hall, bell hooks, and Black Feminist thinkers. She was named a “New Civil Rights Leader” by the Los Angeles Times in 2015 and ESSENCE magazine in 2014, for her leading edge movement-building work that bridges immigrant and human rights work to the ever-growing Black liberation movement.