Rahiel Tesfamariam 2021
Activist, Theologian, Director of Communications
Live Free USA

Rahiel Tesfamariam is an activist, public theologian, writer and speaker. She is founder of Urban Cusp and a former Washington Post columnist. Rahiel is a graduate of Stanford and Yale Divinity School where she was the inaugural William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Scholar for Peace and Justice. Prior to attending Yale, she served as the youngest editor in the history of The Washington Informer newspaper, at age 23, and as a community organizer.

Rahiel has traveled the world on various delegations and humanitarian projects, including to Darfur and occupied Palestine. She has spoken at universities and churches throughout the globe. Responding to the 2014 Ferguson non-indictment decision, Rahiel led #NotOneDime, a national Black Friday economic boycott. 

As a leading generational voice, Rahiel has appeared in countless media outlets, including The New York Times, Forbes, MSNBC, and BET. Rahiel has been ranked on The Root 100, featured in Ebony and Revolt TV amongst “Leaders of the New School” and was one of six women Essence named “The New Civil Rights Leaders.” She is a recipient of countless national fellowships and awards for her social justice and media work, including National Action Network’s “Who Got Next” Award, the National Newspaper Publishers Association National Leadership Award, and the Freedom Flame Award on the 51st anniversary of the Selma Bridge Crossing. Most recently, Rahiel resided in southern Africa for three years supporting Pan-African movements.

The world-renowned nonprofit Black Girls Rock, Inc. featured Rahiel on their annual awards show on BET, saluting “her tireless dedication to global issues, community activism and youth advocacy.” Black Girls Rock recognized Rahiel because she “leads with her faith, inspiring awareness and inciting change around the world.”


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