Opal Tometi, Honoree


Opal Tometi is a Nigerian-American strategist, writer and community organizer. Ms. Tometi is a co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, a historic political project and network launched to combat structural racism. She is credited with initiating the online platforms and social media strategy. Ms. Tometi has been active in social movements for nearly 15 years, and at 28 became the Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), where she has led successful campaigns that have advanced migrant rights and racial justice. She is currently featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum for African American History and Culture for her catalytic contributions to modern social movements.

An international thought leader, Tometi addressed the UN General Assembly. She was named “A New Civil Rights Leader” by CNN, the Los Angeles Times and Essence Magazine. In 2016, Tometi, alongside her fellow BLM co-founders, received an honorary doctorate and recognition by Fortune, POLITICO and Marie Claire for being among the world’s fifty greatest leaders.

Tometi holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Masters of Arts in Communications. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, she came of age in the deserts of Arizona. She resides in Brooklyn where she loves riding her single speed bike and collecting African art.