Ayo Tometi is one of the three co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement that intensified focus on the civil rights of Black communities.
For 20 years, Tometi has been a constant voice in the global conversations on issues of race, immigration, and gender justice.
Growing up in Arizona, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Tometi learned quickly the challenges immigrant families face. At a young age, she mobilized actions around human rights violations at the U.S.–Mexico border, houslessness in Phoenix, and even within her own school, leading both advocacy and council groups.
Her lived experiences informed and inspired her eight-years as the first woman executive director at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), an advocacy group centered on ensuring social and economic justice for Black immigrant communities.
Named one of TIME 100’s Most influential Women of the Century, Tometi’s work on immigration issues is vast. She diligently worked on reuniting families in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. She’s been a constant challenger of unjust deportations. Tometi addressed issues of immigration at the United Nations, various congressional briefings, the Atlantic Ideas Summit, Harvard and Yale Universities, and on the TED stage.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum for African History and Culture has also honored Tometi for her contributions to the community; she was also awarded the Sydney Peace Prize alongside her Black Lives Matter co-founders.