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Opal Tometi is a human rights activist who has been fighting for justice since her early years. From being one of the three creators of the Black Lives Matter movement to creating an electronic hub to unite the Black community, Tometi is a force of nature with her voice and continues to fight for equality today.

Opal Tometi

February 23, 2021

As one of the three female creators of the Black Lives Matter movement, Opal Tometi is a human rights activist who works to vocalize race, gender justice, and immigration issues.  

Born into a Nigerian immigrant family in Phoenix, Arizona, on August 15, 1984, Tometi was exposed to numerous social injustices from a young age. From witnessing the crisis at the US-Mexico border to the growing homeless population in her hometown, Tometi soon discovered her purpose in activism. 

While still in school, Tometi worked as a community organizer, where she used her voice on the debate team and led student council groups. Around her community, she worked to fight for homelessness in Phoenix. However, this was just the beginning for Tometi. 

At the age of 27, Tometi acquired the position of Executive Director at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) where she worked with families during the 2010 Haitian Earthquake to keep them united. She also voiced her beliefs on unjust deportations with audiences ranging from the United Nations to the Atlantic Ideas Summit.

As Tometi continued her career in advocating for the voiceless, it was the acquittal of George Zimmerman, charged for Trayvon Martin’s murder, in 2013 that prompted Tometi to create an online Black Lives Matter platform. 

But Tometi did not stop there. She went on to create Diaspora Rising, a hub to unite the Black community and advocate for the strengthening of it. After speaking in several conferences and being a board member of multiple organizations, Tometi was named one of TIME 100’s Most Influential Women in 2013 and is displayed in the Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture. She continues to gain recognition today as she was awarded the 2020 Freedom of Flame Award from civil rights icons, but her work to fight for justice is far from over.

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