- 1 Black Lives Matter
- 2 Education
- 3 Supporting Maduro
- 4 Left Forum 2013
- 5 Left Forum 2014
- 6 Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
- 7 1st Anniversary of the #Ferguson Uprising
- 8 The Movement for Black Lives
- 9 Florida comrades
- 10 Opal Tometi at the UN
- 11 #Our100
- 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing
- 13 Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward
- 14 References
Opal Tometi aka Opal Ayo, is a Black feminist writer, communications strategist and cultural organizer. She is a co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, the historic political project and leader-full network was launched in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin in order to explicitly combat implicit bias and anti-black racism and to protect and affirm the beauty and dignity of all Black lives. Ms. Tometi is currently at the helm of the country’s leading Black organization for immigrant rights, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), a national organization that educates and advocates to further immigrant rights and racial justice together with African-American, Afro-Latino, African and Caribbean immigrant communities.
As the executive director at BAJI, Opal collaborates with staff and communities in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, Oakland, Washington, DC and communities throughout the Southern states. The organization’s most recent campaign helped win family reunification visas for Haitians displaced by the 2010 earthquake. Ms. Tometi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Masters of Arts degree in Communication and Advocacy. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, she grew up in Phoenix, Arizona where she is a board member of the Puente Movement. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
She is based in New York City.
Black Lives Matter
Alicia Garza created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements.
- Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.
Studied at the University of Arizona
Opal Tometi, hugged Nicolas Maduro at the 2015 People of African Descent Leadership Summit in Harlem, New York, where several high-rank officials of the Venezuelan regime also participated. Maduro, currently banned from the United States, was in town for the annual United Nations General Assembly.
Tometi appears alongside Maduro on a Venezuelan government propaganda site’s news report from the event, raising a fist and embracing him. The photo appears to be taken in front of a giant photo of Maduro’s face.
Tometi spoke at the summit, standing in front of a Venezuelan flag for the speech and thanking Maduro’s government for the opportunity. Among her targets during the speech were the government of the Dominican Republic for deporting Haitians and “Western economic policies, land grabs, and neocolonial financial instruments like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund” for, she argued, creating the Mediterranean migrant crisis.
“I am aware that justice also has to do with racial aspects,” assured Tometi, according to Venezuelan state media. “What we are experiencing is the manifestation of anti-black racism and this is state violence. It must be called by its name. Police brutality, the murders of blacks, violence against the Afro-descendant community, all is proof of the violence of the State,” said the Black Lives Matter founder.
Tometi also quoted Joanne Chesimard, a radical Marxist convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper in 1973 who has lived for decades as a fugitive in Cuba, as urging, “you must fight until all black lives matter.” Tometi referred to Chesimard, who renamed herself “Assata Shakur,” as the summit’s “dear exiled sister.”
In addition to meeting with and applauding Maduro at the New York summit, Tometi also served as an election observer in socialist Venezuela during the 2015 legislative elections. She praised the socialist dictatorship as “a place where there is intelligent political discourse” on Twitter during one of the bloodiest years of police brutality in the country.
Tometi also applauded Venezuela in an article that year stating, “in these last 17 years, we have witnessed the Bolivarian Revolution champion participatory democracy and construct a fair, transparent election system recognized as among the best in the world.”
Left Forum 2013
Africa and 21st Century Governance and Security Challenges. Prospects for Ecological and Economic Transformation on the African Continent.
Chair/Facilitator: Wuyi Jacobs - WBAI Pacifica Radio 99.5 FM / AfrobeatRadio
- Tsigereda Sophie Schwoerer - MEDHIN, Ethiopian Democratic Party
- Alnoor Ladhar - is the co-founder of /The Rules, a global citizens movement to address the root causes of inequality
- Opal Tometi - Black Alliance For Just Immigration
- Lebarty Okemfe - Council of Young African Professionals
Left Forum 2014
Beyond Borders: The Global Fight against Racism
- From the challenges against the Dominican Republic’s “birthright” laws aimed at Haitian émigrés, to their growing influence in the United States, Latin America and Europe, Black immigrant communities are redefining the fight from civil rights to global citizenship. This panel will look at the intersections of race, class, gender and Black immigrant communities, and the potential for solidarity from below.
Sponsoring Journal: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office.
- Chair/Facilitator: Kazembe Balagun
- Opal Tometi - Black Alliance for Just Immigration
- Miriam Neptune - Barnard Center for Research on Women
- Sunyata Altenor - Latin American and Caribbean Community Center
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
On June 4, 2015, Opal Tometi visited Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Berlin. Before meeting with activists and employees from the foundation she was interviewed be Ophélie Ivombo. In the interview she spoke about racist police violence in the U.S. and accomplishments of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
1st Anniversary of the #Ferguson Uprising
Maurice Moe Mitchell August 5, 2015,
- UnitedWeFight: 1st Anniversary of the #Ferguson Uprising - National Conference Call. Thurs. 8PM EST / 7PM CST Register at http://bit.ly/uwfcall — with Justin Hansford, Scott A. Roberts, Mary Hooks, Kayla M. Reed, Diamond Latchison, Kareem Jackson, Bukky Gbadegesin, Katrina Gamble, Tanya Lucia Bernard, Tory Russell, Cedric Lawson, Alicia Garza, Leslie Mac, Charlene Carruthers, Patrisse Cullors, Cherrell Brown, Dante Barry, Waltrina Middleton, Damon Turner, Marbre Stahly-Butts, Ash-Lee Henderson, Damon Davis, Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris, Mari Morales-Williams, Mervyn Marcano, Nicole Lee, Elandria Williams, Opal Ayo, Jonathan Pulphus, Dara Cooper, Michael McBride, Umi Selah, Osagyefo Sekou, Tara Tee, Rose Berry, Sistufara W. Muhammad, Purvi Shah, Cid Nichols, Ingrid Benedict, Jade Ogunnaike, James Hayes, Anita Nichole, Joe Worthy and The Movement for Black Lives.
The Movement for Black Lives
Welcome to America; Black Immigrant Experience of Anti-Black & Anti-Immigrant State Violence in the US: Devonte Jackson, Black Alliance for Just Immigration + Black Immigration Network members Ben Ndugga-Kabuye, Marybeth Onyeukwu, Tia Oso, Abraham Paulos, Opal Tometi, Aly Wane.
Francesca Menes, June 11 2016, with Maria Asuncion Bilbao, Umi Selah, Tia Oso, Gabriel Garcia-Vera, Alana Greer, Marleine Bastien, Meena Jagannath, Eel Kat, Esi Fynn-Obeng, Lis-Marie Gueguense, Ruth Jeannoel, Kathy Bird Carvajal, Tomas Kennedy, Natalia Jaramillo, Maria Rodriguez, LiLi Bach, Trina Jackson, Marcia Olivo, Daniel Agnew, Francois Alexandre, Karla De Anda, Valencia Gunder, Donald Anthonyson, Opal Ayo and Hulya Miclisse-Polat.
Opal Tometi at the UN
Matt Meyer, July 13 2016;
Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi addressing the United Nations at the High Level UN@70 discussion on Human Rights at the Centre of the Global Agenda. She eloquently spoke for reparations, justice, an end to mass incarceration - and a connected analysis which includes struggle against white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, and militarism. — with David Ragland, Signe Harriday, Nesrin Kenar, Meg Starr, Amilcar Shabazz, Johanna Fernandez, Ibrahim Shaw, Opal Tometi, Melina Abdullah, Cris Toffolo, Osagyefo Sekou, Emily Welty, Alicia Garza, Carlito Rovira, Cyril Obi, Mark Norris Lance, Stellan Vinthagen, Dequi Kioni-sadiki, Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) and International Peace Research Association - IPRA.
#Our100 was set up in New York City, right after the 2016 election. Following the election of Republican Donald Trump to the White House, women of color in New York City are joining together over the next four days in solidarity against misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiments.
This action builds on October’s #GOPHandsOffMe protests, when women of color and survivors took to the streets and made videos in response to the tape in which the president-elect could be heard through a hot mic speaking about sexually assaulting women.
“Women of color-led coalitions are coming together in the first 100 hours after electing a new president to support an agenda for Black lives, immigrants, Muslims, Latinas … against rape culture and a sexist, racist, xenophobic policy,” said Agunda Okeyo, an activist, organizer, and African immigrant in the city who told Rewire in a phone interview that Trump is “a danger to democracy.”
Thousands will mobilize nationwide to tell the country that the leadership of women of color will not end at the ballot box. These first 100 hours are the kickoff to demand accountability from all holders of public office and to spread an anti-hate agenda that includes a vision for Black lives, common sense immigration reform, and an end to rape culture, according to the release.
A press conference by women of color leaders was held in Manhattan November 9. Speakers included My Muslim Vote’s Linda Sarsour, Demos President Heather McGhee, Movement for Black Lives co-founder Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, and Demos Vice President Jodeen Olguin-Tayler, as well as survivors of sexual assault and immigrant rights leaders.
Leaders representing Black Lives Matter, Demos, Forward Together, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance worked together in the week leading up to the election to raise the national profile of women-led organizing. Those efforts culminated in the #Our100 pledge and a wave of actions nationwide.
“We have a lot more work to do, to build the America we deserve. But we are strong, determined, and we are just getting started,” said Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and one of the organizers of this action.
Viviana Bernal of Demos and the #GOPHandsOffMe campaign told Rewire she is participating to end the culture of violence, rape culture, and sexual assault that many women have spoken up against since the Trump tapes went public.
“We believe Donald Trump basically admitted to sexual assault. Women of color and sexual assault victims felt triggered,” Bernal said during a phone interview. “He has been saying really racist, sexist things all along. It is only when his comments violated the rights of white women that it led to public outcry.”
The women of color participating in the campaign are outraged at all his vitriolic statements against marginalized populations and want to “center our voices and speak out,” she added.
In conjunction with the launch of #Our100, the leaders will release polling data from Celinda Lake about women of color voters and an open letter to the nation to be published in major national publications this week.
“Our work did not start, and it will not end at the ballot box,” said Olguín-Tayler, a survivor of sexual assault, in a statement. “We are women who lead organizations, work in Hollywood, teach in our universities, women who are ordained faith leaders, who run large businesses; women who are mothers, who take care of our land and our elders. We came together across our differences to write this letter to our fellow Americans because we know we can, and must, do better. We need a nation that does right by women. Because when women of color are doing well, when Black and Muslim and Indigenous women in particular are doing well—this whole country will be well.”
“We stand determined to hold the vision of a just, inclusive America worthy of ALL of her people,” McGhee said in the release. “No longer can anybody sit on the sidelines. This election will be the last stand of the past, and tomorrow is already being born.”
Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing
Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing, was a nationwide conference call organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday October 30, 2016.
- What's the nature of this right-wing threat? What has this election cycle changed about the political terrain we're fighting on? How do we need to prepare for whats coming after the election? Hear about these crucial questions from our panel of top political strategists, including Nelini Stamp, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Linda Burnham, and Sendolo Diaminah.
Those indicating interest in attending, on Facebook included Opal Ayo.
Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward
Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.
- Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?
- This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.
Those invited, on Facebook included Opal Ayo.
- Alliance for Just Immigration staff
- The feminist Wire A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement by Alicia Garza October 7, 2014
- Youtube] Interview with Opal Tometi (#BlackLivesMatter) Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Published on Jun 12, 2015]
- [ http://movementforblacklives.org/schedule/speakers/Movement for Black Lives conference program, accessed November 20, 2015]
- FB Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing Went 109