Opal Tometi, BAJI Executive Director
Opal Tometi is the Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) an organization that educates and advocates for immigrant rights and racial justice with African-Americans, Afro-Latinos, African and Caribbean immigrant communities. Opal resides in New York City, where she also supports sBAJI’s flagship program the Black Immigration Network (BIN), a nationwide network of Black-led organizations, programs and individuals uniting for racial justice and migrant rights.
As a 1st generation Nigerian-American who was born and raised in Arizona, Opal has been active in the migrant rights movement for over 10 years. Most recently, Opal played an instrumental part in strategic communications and cross-cultural grassroots organizing against SB 1070 and other anti-migrant and-People of Color policies with the Puente Movement, the Alto Arizona campaign and with other migrant justice groups in Arizona. Opal was the 2012 recipient of the ‘Unsung Hero for Justice’ Award by the African American Legislative and Leadership Conference of Arizona. She is an advocate to end violence against women, a writer and a media maker. Opal holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Masters of Arts degree in Communication and Advocacy.
Tia Oso, National Coordinator for the Black Immigration Network and BAJI Arizona Organizer
Tia Oso is a native to Arizona and a long time social justice advocate. Ms. Oso studied Human Communication at ASU and interned with the National Conference for Community and Justice where she organized the “Not in Our State” campaign and Black and African Diaspora dialogue series. Tia has served on boards and volunteered her time with several Valley organizations including NAACP and United Way. Recently, Ms. Oso has served on the MLK celebration committee for Community Celebrating Diversity and worked to support local independent artists. Ms. Oso is a firm believer in the ability of people to become change-makers in their community.
Terence Courtney, BAJI Southeast Regional Organizer
Terence Courtney is the Atlanta-based Southeast Regional Organizer for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration where he engages in strategic organizing and alliance building in the South. Terence who was born in Atlanta, Georgia began organizing with Service Employees International union where he led SEIU campaigns in the public and private sectors; and organizing using a methodology that to brought Latino and African American workers together.
In Fall 2003 Terence became Atlanta Jobs with Justice’s (JwJ) first staff person. Terence helped to found Atlanta JwJ organize and marshal the Atlanta leg of the Immigrant Worker Freedom Rides. Additionally, he’s been a spokesperson who’s eloquently linked the Civil Rights and Immigrant Rights movements together. Terence also assisted in organizing for the right of undocumented community members to gain licenses and legalization in the state of Georgia and organized with JwJ and others in the civil rights communities and labor to beat back the anti-immigrant attack led by US law-makers like Sensenbrenner. Terence continues to organize dialogues that lead to action among African American and immigrant communities.
Devonté Jackson, BAJI Bay Area Organizer
Devonté Jackson is the Bay Area Organizer for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Having grown up in Oakland, San Leandro, and San Lorenzo, he has grown passionate in addressing social and economic inequality in the Bay Area Community. Devonté received his education at UC Berkeley where he served as Party Chair of Cal Students for Equal Rights and a Valid Education (CalSERVE), Cal’s longest standing progressive multicultural coalition and intern for Cal’s Multicultural Community Center (MCC) where he gained experience in coalition building and cross-community organizing.
Recently, Devonté has organized with AFSCME Local 3299 and students across California on labor issues within the University of California System and he played an important role within the Students of Color Solidarity Coalition at UC Berkeley who organized for a more democratic University. Devonté believes that we can collectively make change through coalition building and practicing cross-cultural solidarity.
Benjamin Ndugga-Kubaye, BAJI New York City Organizer
Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye is the local NYC organizer with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Ben’s commitment to building infrastructure for social movement stems from seeing how policies from past social movements aided his immigration journey from Uganda. This journey has included advocating for a range of community development issues impacting black communities in California, Washington, D.C. and New York City. Ben has continued this work with a degree in Criminology, policy fellowships, and he is currently working on his Masters in Public Policy at the New School.
Juwaher Yusuf, Program Associate
Juwaher Yusuf is the New York City based Program Associate with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Juwaher has a strong passion for community development, youth advocacy and immigration that developed through her first-hand experience as an immigrant from Eritrea to Canada and now the United States of America. A graduate from the University of Western Ontario, she holds a degree in Global Culture and Development Studies. Ms.Yusuf is also a CITY Leaders graduate from United Way Toronto and the University of Toronto. In addition to supporting BAJI’s staff and programs, she was an intern at the United Nations for the 2013 General Assembly.
Juwaher was featured in the Huffington Post in an article entitled “Young People Making Waves in Toronto” for her role at the Eritrean Youth Collective.