Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Keynote, Opal Tometi
A dedicated activist working at the intersection of racial justice and immigrant rights for more than a decade, Opal Tometi was incensed by the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin- and inspired to take action. Starting the twitter hastag #BlackLivesMatter, Tometi (with Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors), promted activisim nationwide and introduced the banner under which this generation's civil rights movement marches.
An established immigration rights advocate and community organizer, Tometi's passionate interest stems from experience as the child of Nigerian immigrants. Recognized as a rising leader in the movement, she was named a "New Civil Rights Leader" by the Los Angeles Times for her work building movements that bridge immigrant and human rights initiatives to the ever-growing black liberation movement. Tometi and her fellow Black Lives Matter co-founders were honored with inclusion on 2015's The Root's Top 100 List for the movement's social and political impact. In 2016, in recognition of their contributions to human rights, the Black Lives Matter co-founders received BET's Black Girls Rock Community Change Agent Award, and were recognized among the world's 50 greatest leaders by Fortune and POLITICO magazines.
As the Executive Director at the Black Alliance for Justice Immigration, Tometi is at the helm of the country's leading black organization for immigrant rights, steering initiatives including the first Congressional briefing on black immigrants. She has also presented at the United Nations and has participated with the UN's Global Forum on Migration and Commission on the Status of Women.