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Ayo Tometi, human rights activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, helped Dominican University welcome the start of Black History Month.

On Feb. 6, Tometi took part in conversation with Dr. Sophia Duffy on the Lund Auditorium stage, and also met with students in the Center for Cultural Liberation.

During her appearance with Duffy, Tometi spoke of growing up as the child of Nigerian immigrants, which later inspired her to create the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.

In 2013, she co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement with Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, spearheading the global social media campaign with use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

In the work for racial justice, everyone must be involved, Tometi said.

“This society doesn’t allow us to be neutral. You’re either making progress on a goal or not making progress. There’s not a middle,” she said. “The reality is the status quo isn’t tolerable. We must have every single person find their role, find their lane, find their organization, find their way to support in the transformation that is so necessary, that is so overdue in our society. That is the job of every single one of us.”

Tometi stressed that there is “no lack of response, spaces and ways to contribute.”

Additionally, she encouraged the audience to think more broadly about migrant justice and shared suggestions for what Dominican can do when it comes to educating its immigrant communities. Tometi encouraged continued and increased intentionality—within the curriculum, programming, relationships, funding and other resources that support students.

“Be truly intentional with every facet of the university—from the way administrators engage, to the types of programming we are creating, to the type of coursework, to the grading system,” she said. “All of those various metrics and facets of the university are important and they all impact the students.”

Tometi’s visit and keynote address were made possible by the Center for Cultural Liberation, the Office of Student Involvement, and the Office of Justice, Equity and Inclusion.