Bisi Alimi is a CONTROVERSIAL, PASSIONATE, and POWERFUL internationally renowned researcher, public speaker, policy analyst, television pundit and campaigner.
His expertise on Social Justice ranges from Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to Race and Race Relations, Feminism, Education and Poverty Alleviation
His TEDx talk, “There should never be another Ibrahim” has been listed as one of the 14 most inspiring queer TEDtalk of all time, his talk at the Aspen Ideas festival left the audience asking for more. Alimi gave the closing speech at a Daily Beast event hosted at the New York Public Library titled, “I am Bisi Alimi and I am not a victim.”
“The Development Cost of Homophobia” is his most successful article that was translated into over 15 languages globally. His most recent article for the Guardian: “If you say being gay is not African, you don’t know your history” has gone on to great review and cited in many news article globally.
He has many laurels for his work globally. He consults for World Bank on Economic impact of Homophobia and serves on the Bank advisory board on SOGI. He was a 2014 New Voices fellow at the Aspen Institute. Listed 19 most important LGBT person in UK 2015 and was named 77 on the World Pride Power List 2014.
Equality..Optimism..Hope with Bisi Alimi #isharehope Episode 84
Summary: Bisi’s answer to the five questions! Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.
Question 1: How do you define hope or what is your favorite quote about hope?
“We’re not a prisoner of hope, we’re just a hopeless optimist.” –Desmond Tutu
I will not be imprisoned by hope, but I will let hope be the wings that I will fly with.
Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you?
My friend who selflessly saw on his deathbed the need for hope for the future in the sense that he demanded of me to please go and start HIV work with other friends who have limited idea about it or limited understanding of it.
Another person that has really inspired my hope is Bayard Rustin who has eventually become my biggest mentor. Unfortunately, I was never aware of him until recently, but his hope for not just a better racially equal America, but a better sexually equal America was something that was driving his work growing to be the biggest organizer of a protest ever in human history. That was amazing for me because he had this hope that if I don’t do this now, tomorrow is not going to be a better day for people coming behind me.
Question 3: How have you used hope to make it through a difficult time in your life?
There have been a great number of times in my life that hope was the food that the energy on my soul needed to keep going. I remember definitely the night that I was attacked in my house and I was almost killed. I was chained down and beaten for over 2 hours. Something that just kept coming back to me was “this is going to be the end of me”, but that particular moment became the divine moment in my life because I was not killed. It became the springboard for me to be a different person. Hence, whenever I feel challenged about things, I always go back to that second chance life has given me and it puts me in a position to say, you know, it can’t be that bad…
There had been times that my work has been challenged. There had been times that my self-worth, I have questioned, but when I think about that particular moment, the only thing that got me going was because there was something else I needed to do. That’s why I had the opportunity to escape that assassination. That incident contributed to my being a little bit depressed and when I get into that depressive mood, it is that escaping that night that becomes the light that comes out of the tunnel. It just keeps me up saying you have to go, you have to go…Life is worth living and you have to work and make the world a better place.
Sometimes I ask myself, if those guys are still alive today, possibly they might have seen me on TV or have heard me on the radio or have read my articles, I just want to meet with them and ask how they are feeling now. Are they regretting the fact that they did not carry out the act or are they like, oh I want to ask this guy for forgiveness and we’re proud that we didn’t kill him because of what he’s doing now. I have no idea what’s going on in their mind. If there is anything I’m hopeful for, it is to actually meet with those guys.
So, if they are out there and they have a chance to listen to this, I would really love to have a chat.
Question 4: How are you sharing hope today?
I share hope with people in different types of ways. Through my public speaking engagements, I share my past and experience and I let people know that a better world, a better approach to things is possible. In many situations, I have used my personal life stories to let people know that you can be courageous.
Question 5: How should I (the listener) begin to grow in hope or share hope today?
(1) Tell your story.
(2) If you feel passionate about something, go out there and do it.
(3) Reach out – a hello, a handshake is enough to give hope.