Opal Tometi



Opal Tometi is a New York based Nigerian-American writer, strategist, community organizer and Co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter. Tometi is the Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and works with the Pan African Network in Defense of Migrant Rights, and the Black Immigration Network (BIN).

Opal Tometi was born in 1984 in Phoenix, AZ. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Masters degree in Communication and Advocacy from the University of Arizona. In addition to her transnational organizing work Opal works with communities in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York City, Oakland, Washington, D.C. and throughout the Southern states. Tometi has strategized and organized grassroots efforts against the anti-immigrant law SB1070 in Arizona, and has also been a caseworker for survivors of domestic violence.

In addition to being honored by Essence Magazine and the Los Angeles Times, Opal is featured in the Smithsonian’s new National Museum for African American History and Culture.

In 2016, in recognition of their contribution human rights, Opal Tometi and the #BlackLivesMatter co-founders received an honorary doctorate degree,  BET’s Black Girls Rock Community Change Agent Award , recognition among the world’s fifty greatest leaders by Fortune and POLITICO magazines, and the first ever Social Movement of The Year Award from the Webbys.


#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2013 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. The Official #BlackLivesMatter Organization was founded by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza. #BlackLivesMatter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and their allies to fight anti-Black racism, to spark dialogue among Black people, and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement. #BlackLivesMatter has become the most important movement in recent history.