Opal Tometi

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Opal Tometi
Opal Tometi.jpg
Residence Brooklyn, New York
Alma mater University of Arizona
Occupation Activist, writer
Known for Black Lives Matter, Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Opal Tometi is a New York-based Nigerian-American writer, strategist and community organizer. She is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter.[1] She is the Executive Director at BAJI (Black Alliance for Just Immigration). Tometi collaborates with staff and communities in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York City, Oakland, Washington D.C. and communities throughout the Southern states. Her work has been published by The Huffington Post.[2]

Personal life and education[edit]

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 and a Masters of Arts degree in communication and advocacy from the University of Arizona.[3] Tometi is a former Case Manager for survivors of domestic violence and still provides community education on the issue.


Black Lives Matter[edit]

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.[4]

Black Alliance for Just Immigration[edit]

Prior to becoming Executive Director of BAJI, Tometi worked as Co-Director and Communications Director. Her contributions include leading organizing efforts for the first ever Black-led rally for immigrant justice and the first Congressional briefing on Black immigrants in Washington DC. The Black Alliance for Just Immigration was founded in April 2006 to respond to anti-immigrant sentiment and repressive immigration bills under consideration by Congress.[5]


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.[6][7][8][9] 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.[6] 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[10] and is a member of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc.

Recognition and awards[edit]

Tometi was featured as a new civil rights leader by Essence Magazine in 2014 and by the Los Angeles Times in 2013.[11] She was listed in the Root 100 list of African American Achievers between 25 and 45.[12] She was listed in the Cosmopolitan Top 100 list of extraordinary women. Along with Garza and Cullors, Tometi was named on the Politico50 2015 Guide to Thinkers, Doers, and Visionaries.[13] She received an honorary doctor of science degree from Clarkson University on May 7, 2016.[14] She was awarded the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award in 2017.[15]


  1. ^ Dalton, Deron (May 4, 2015). "The Three Women Behind the Black Lives Matter Movement". Madame Noire. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Opal Tometi". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  3. ^ Armstrong, Lisa. "Civil Rights Leaders". Black Alliance. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ Day, Elizabeth (July 19, 2015). "#BlackLivesMatter: the Birth of a New Civil Rights Movement". The Guardian. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  5. ^ Freedman, Samuel G. (December 25, 2009). "Trying to Build Bonds With Immigrant Stories". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "#BlackLivesMatter Founder to Speak at Susquehanna University". Susquehanna University. September 4, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ Dinan, Stephen (September 30, 2015). "Black Lives Matter is Message of 'Love' for All: Founder". The Washington Times. 
  8. ^ "Opal Tometi". Facing Race. 
  9. ^ "Technology and Human Rights Symposium | Grinnell College". www.grinnell.edu. March 7–10, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  10. ^ Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD) website.
  11. ^ Dandes, Rick (September 21, 2015). "How Friends Tapped Power of Social Media to Start a Movement". The Daily Item. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  12. ^ "The Root 100". The Root. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Politico 50". Politico. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Opal Tometi Awarded Clarkson University Honorary Degree". www.clarkson.edu. Clarkson University. May 7, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016. 
  15. ^ "The Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards". Institute for Policy Studies. Retrieved August 1, 2018. 

External links[edit]