Fighting for Black Lives Worldwide
Opal Tometi is a globally recognized human rights advocate, strategist and writer of Nigerian-American descent. She has been active in social movements for over 15 years, and is widely known for her role as a co-founder of Black Lives Matter and for her years of service as the Executive Director of the United States first national immigrant rights organization for people of African descent – the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI).
A millennial trailblazer and immigration policy expert, Opal is respected for her creativity and bold leadership. At age 28 she became the Executive Director of BAJI. There she had an 8-year track record of leading the BAJI team in successful campaigns that advanced migrant rights and racial justice. She is currently being featured in the Smithsonian’s new National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), and in 2018 was a recipient of the Vh1 Everyday Trailblazer honor and was a Frederick Douglass 200 Awardee for her groundbreaking contributions to contemporary social movements.
Her contributions as a leading public figure are grounded in service, and include being a member of the international coordinating council for Africans Rising for Peace and Dignity , serving on the board of the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity and Steering Committee of the Pan African Network in Defense of Migrant Rights. Through these types of efforts and more, Opal strengthens the power of Black communities throughout the world to combat structural racism and all forms of injustice.
An international thought leader, Opal notably, addressed the United Nations General Assembly, a privilege only a few US social justice leaders have been afforded. She’s appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BET and her writings have been published in popular outlets such as TIME, InStyle Magazine, Seventeen and the Huffington Post. Her human rights work has earned her many recognitions including the distinction of gracing the cover of ESSENCE Magazine’s inaugural Woke 100 issue, being named “A New Civil Rights Leader” by CNN and the Los Angeles Times. And in 2016, Tometi, alongside fellow BLM co-founders, she received an honorary doctorate, the Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Award, BET’s Black Girls Rock Community Change Agent Award, and recognition by Fortune, POLITICO and Marie Claire Magazines for being among the world’s fifty greatest leaders. A sought-after orator, Tometi has spoken at the Atlantic Washington Ideas Forum, Harvard University, Yale, various conferences and universities nationwide. She even delivered a commencement address at her alma mater, the University of Arizona.
She holds a Masters degree in Communications and is a racial justice communications consultant. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, she came of age in the deserts of Arizona. Although often traveling around the globe to support human rights initiatives she currently resides in New York where she loves riding her single speed bike and collecting African art.