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Race in America: Dismantling Structural Racism with Opal Tometi

Opal Tometi is a Nigerian-American human rights leader, community organizer and writer. As one of the three founders of Black Lives Matter, she is credited with initiating the project’s social media strategy which turned a hashtag into one of the most successful civil rights campaigns in modern history. Tometi has been active in the #EndSars movement in Nigeria where demonstrators have called for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit accused of extortion, harassment, kidnapping and extrajudicial violence. Tometi joins Washington Post global opinions editor Karen Attiah to discuss the work being done in the U.S. and across the world to dismantle structural racism and injustice on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 3:00 p.m. ET. (Video: The Washington Post)
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Opal Tometi is a Nigerian-American human rights leader, community organizer and writer. As one of the three founders of Black Lives Matter, she is credited with initiating the project’s social media strategy which turned a hashtag into one of the most successful civil rights campaigns in modern history. Tometi has been active in the #EndSars movement in Nigeria where demonstrators have called for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit accused of extortion, harassment, kidnapping and extrajudicial violence. Tometi joins Washington Post global opinions editor Karen Attiah to discuss the work being done in the U.S. and across the world to dismantle structural racism and injustice.

Click here for a full transcript.

Highlights

Opal Tometi, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, says calls to “Defund the Police” are “fundamental” and “essential.” "The reallocation of tax payer dollars to solutions that work for all of us is absolutely paramount…We know the safest communities are the ones that have the most resources." (Video: Washington Post Live)
Opal Tometi, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, says witnessing the death of George Floyd this summer “unleashed our sense of righteous rage,” but it will take concrete action to sustain the Black Lives Matter movement. "They have to put real dollars, real programming, real investment into Black communities...we have to have substance, along with these symbolic statements and imagery." (Video: Washington Post Live)
Opal Tometi, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, says recent cases of police brutality have made people realize that they can’t opt-out if they want change. "While there have been a lot of people who might not have been in the streets over the years... they recognize that 'No, no, no, no this thing is not going to stop unless I get involved.’” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Opal Tometi, founder of Diaspora Rising, says the incidents of police brutality in Nigeria and the subsequent protest are “comparable to what’s happening in the U.S.” “I see one, the frequency in which it happens is more in Nigeria, however, the type of acuteness is comparable to what’s happening in the U.S. I see the types of uprising as absolutely similar to what we experience here…And, to be quite honest I see the backlash being quite comparable as well.” (Video: Washington Post Live)

Opal Tometi, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter

Opal Tometi is an award-winning human rights defender and one of three women co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter. Born to Nigerian Immigrant parents in the USA, her human rights activism crosses borders and extends almost 20 years. Tometi recently graced the #TIME100 Most Influential people of the year 2020 and March 2020 cover for #TIMES100 Most Influential Women of The Last Century. She is the founder of the new media and advocacy hub, Diaspora Rising and is a trusted advisor to various transnational organizations.

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