Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Ayọ Tometi Launches Newsletter To Celebrate Black Liberation
PHOTO: JOSHUA KISSI
“Diaspora Rising is an expression to describe vibrant social movements of people of African descent Last week, Black people around the globe partook in Juneteenth celebrations. Juneteenth, a day that is remembered as the end of American slavery, is a holiday that has been celebrated within several states in the U.S. but has recently received national and global recognition and attention. With the spotlight now focused on racial equity and justice, many have used Juneteenth as an opportunity to learn more about and celebrate Black history. Opal Tometi is one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement and is the creator of the new Diaspora Rising newsletter, which was launched on Juneteenth.
The newsletter was created to “equip Africans who are newer to the diaspora…first or second generation, with the information about the social issues of our day.” Opal shared in an email what her main goals behind Diaspora Rising are and what she hopes to accomplish. “Diaspora Rising is an expression to describe vibrant social movements of people of African descent that are taking place around the globe…launching of the Diaspora Rising newsletter on Juneteenth [was a] way to celebrate Black liberation in the U.S. My hope is to document and amplify stories of our resilience and resistance in the U.S. and beyond, and to remind our communities that we are part of a global Black community. There’s so much to be said of our beauty, our strength and our interconnectedness. My hope is that hearing stories, and seeing imagery that is not solely about culture, but about the substantive issues that Black people are faced with all over the world, will prove inspirational for people. We have a great history that we should be proud of. And together, we are charting a new future.” The ultimate purpose of Diaspora Rising, Opal shared, is to “create a bridge of ongoing learning about the diverse expressions and experiences of Black people throughout the diaspora, while connecting us to a common sense of belonging to a global community.”
One could argue that there has never been a better time for Diaspora Rising, especially given the current climate. Opal shared, “I hope that we can be inspired by the rich history of resilience of Black people around the globe. While we cannot change the past, we can create a future that empowers one another. And the truth is, there is a growing community of people like me. I’m of Nigerian ancestry, and I was born and raised in the U.S. I am passionate about Black people here, but I’m equally passionate about Black people in Africa. I choose to celebrate all aspects of my identity instead of hiding them. And there are millions more people like me who have a consciousness about their sense of belonging to multiple places. We can’t deny our roots nor where we are currently planted.”
An interesting phenomenon that is important to explore is the nuanced relationship between Black Americans and Black Africans. Identity, experiences and even terminology have been debated and discussed by both communities. Despite any perceived divides between these two groups, the shared connection is the uniting thread. When reflecting on this issue and Diaspora Rising’s impact, Opal indicated “my hope is that we will be reminded that we have always been involved in one another’s social justice and cultural initiatives. Our connections are real…there are more of us who recognize that we’ve always been in community…there are a lot of misconceptions that are often shared in our communities from myths, stereotypes and beyond. My hope is that there can be an educational bridge to develop our understanding of the diverse experience and expression of Black life. As we truly understand one another, we become stronger together. And from that place there is healing and power.
To join the Diaspora Rising newsletter, click here.