Name: Opal Tometi, @opalayo
Opal Tometi is a New York-based Nigerian-American writer, strategist and community organizer and most recently, co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Masters of Arts degree in communication and advocacy from the University of Arizona. Along with co-founder
5 Reasons Opal is Awesome:
- A transnational feminist, Ms. Tometi supports and helps shape the strategic work of Pan African Network in Defense of Migrant Rights, and the Black Immigrants Network (BIN) international and national formations respectively, dedicated to people of African descent. She has presented at the United Nations and participated with the UN’s Global Forum on Migration and Commission on the Status of Women.
- Tometi has spoken at Susquehanna University, the Facing Race Conference of 2012, and the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Summit. 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. In 2013 Tometi was even invited to the White House to meet with Heather Foster, Obama’s liaison to the African American community at the time.
- Opal has won many awards, including being featured as a new civil rights leader by Essence Magazine in 2014 and by the Los Angeles Times in 2013 and was listed in the Root 100 list of African American Achievers between 25 and 45, the Cosmopolitan Top 100 list of extraordinary women and named on the Politico50 2015 Guide to Thinkers, Doers, and Visionaries, along with her Black Lives Matter co-founders.
- Opal is a former Case Manager for survivors of domestic violence and still provides community education on the issue.
- On how the Black Lives Matter movement started, Opal said, “I really wanted to open up the space for a conversation that moved beyond police brutality. So that’s why we kind of kept it broad. And that’s also why Black Lives Matter is Black Lives Matter, not justice for X. It was very important to have something that was broad enough that captured the state of black life and the fact that we are experiencing a range of violence and we need to be able to speak to all of that.”
Photo via Vice.com