TIME has named Opal Tometi and her Black Lives Matter co-founders Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Cullors to the 2020 TIME 100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The women appear on this year’s cover. The full list and related tributes appear in the October 5, 2020 issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Friday, September 25, and now at time.com/time100.
The list, now in its seventeenth year, recognizes the activism, innovation, and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
Opal Tometi is one of the most influential human rights leaders of our time. As one of the three women co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, digital platform, and chapter-based network, her name is etched in history. Hailed as a feminist freedom fighter, Opal is respected for her track record of uniting communities and is known for her thought leadership on race, immigration, and gender. In early 2019 she completed nearly a decade of service as the Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), the first immigrant rights organization for people of African descent in the United States. Opal is also a trusted advisor to many and serves on the board of Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity and the International Living Futures Institute. She has received numerous recognitions including an honorary Ph.D., and was named among the 50 Most Influential People by Forbes, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan magazines. Opal was also honored by the City University of New York (CUNY) with a scholarship in her name to support immigrant students pursuing law degrees. Her most recent recognition includes winning the 2019 Coretta Scott King Center Award and Douglass 200 Award, and being featured in a video installation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum for African History and Culture for her contributions in thought-leadership for the betterment of the diaspora. As the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Opal has set her movement sights on an even bigger struggle: uplifting Black lives worldwide. In 2020 she founded Diaspora Rising, a digital digest focused on Black narratives and experiences around the globe. She is also focused on other social enterprises. With nearly two decades as a human rights champion, she still feels her work has only just begun.