Meet Anti-Racism Activist Omkari Williams

And learn about the importance of micro-activism

Hello friends, I love it when someone introduces me to a writer and activist I haven’t met before. When I heard about the book on activism written by Omkari Williams, I knew it would be ideal to introduce her to you all. Please meet Omkari…

Omkari, what made you become an anti-racism activist and writer?

Growing up as a Black girl made it clear to me, early on, how inequitable our system is. That feeling of always having to work harder than my white counterparts, to try to prove myself worthy, was the impetus. At some point I decided to stop trying to prove myself worthy and instead realized that the point was to dismantle the deeply broken system.

Photo of Omkari Williams

What anti-racist cause are you most passionate about, and why?

That Black women are treated with the same dignity and respect granted to well off white men is important to me. Black women are unlikely to be looked for when they go missing, they are assumed to be the agents of their own misfortune, characterized as abusers of the social safety net (Welfare Queens) and the list goes on. Recognizing the critical role that Black women play in our society as underpaid and under appreciated caretakers of children and the elderly, as the backbone of the civil rights movement, and so much more. Appreciating the contributions to our society of Black women would create a massive shift in how Black women are perceived and treated.

I'm also passionate about the intersection of race and climate change. Across the world, those most impacted by the ravages of climate change are Black and Brown people who are least responsible for creating the problem in the first place. The drought in Sudan to the floods in Pakistan put women at increased risk beyond that of starvation. They also force women to go further from home to seek water which increases their risk of sexual assault and also of domestic violence from the men with whom they live who are angry and fearful because they can no longer provide for their families.

The ripples of racism are both deep and wide and we have to do our part to eradicate it wherever it shows up.

What form does your activism take?

Most of my activist work takes the form of encouraging people to find their own way of making a sustainable difference in the world. I speak to people around the world and lead workshops for people seeking to find their way into activism. It's why I wrote my book, Micro Activism: How You Can Make a Difference in the World (Without a Bullhorn). I also have a podcast, Stepping Into Truth, where I interview people doing activism in their own ways. For some their activist cause is their work, but for most it's *part* of their life, not the focus of it.

I want people with regular jobs, families, friends, people with normal lives to recognize that there is a contribution they can make without quitting their job and ditching their family.

What response have you had to your work?

Honestly, I'm so blessed that my work has been embraced by so many people. I regularly hear from those who have heard me speak or taken a workshop with me on how they have integrated the philosophy of micro activism into their daily lives. That is the most satisfying thing, just being able to spread the world and build this community.

Can you share the top three insights from your writing you'd like people to take away?

The top three things that I'd like people to take away from my writing are:

  1. Activism doesn't look one specific way, there are as many ways of being an activist as there are people on the planet.

  2. The size of your action is less important than the consistency of your action.

  3. Our job is not to finish the work, our job is to move it forward as best we can.

Share one anti-racism article written by someone else that really made an impact on you.

Nobody Knows My Name: A Letter from the South by James Baldwin. At the end of this piece he says something that I find so profound:

"Human freedom is a complex, difficult—and private—thing. If we can liken life, for a moment, to a furnace, then freedom is the fire which burns away illusion. Any honest examination of the national life proves how far we are from the standard of human freedom with which we began. The recovery of this standard demands of everyone who loves this country a hard look at himself, for the greatest achievements must begin somewhere, and they always begin with the person. If we are not capable of this examination, we may become one of the most distinguished and monumental failures in the history of nations."

We live with the notion of American exceptionalism and this gets in the way of our engaging honestly with our struggle for freedom, justice, and dignity for every person. I love this piece for how clearly he breaks it down.

In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?

I dream of a future when we look at people and just see another human, not a member of a specific group that we've designated as less worthy, less intelligent, less valuable. I dream of a future where genocide doesn't happen and people need to look up the term "white supremacy" and then, when they read what it meant, shake their heads in disbelief and disgust.

Folx, please feel free to connect with Omkari on her website, on LinkedIn and on Instagram, and check out her new book Micro Activism: How You Can Make a Difference in the World without a Bullhorn. 

Enjoyed this article? Feel free to click the 🔄 or ❤️ button to help others discover it. Thank you!

© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.

I am an anti-racism educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast.

Join the conversation

or to participate.