Rahiel Tesfamariam is a social activist, public theologian, writer and international speaker. She is the founder and publisher of Urban Cusp, a cutting-edge online lifestyle magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. She is also a former columnist for The Washington Post.
Rahiel holds degrees from Stanford University and Yale University, where she graduated magna cum laude and was the inaugural William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Scholar for Peace and Justice. Prior to attending seminary at Yale, she served as the youngest editor-in-chief in the history of The Washington Informer, at age 23.
Before launching Urban Cusp in 2011, Rahiel directed a D.C. citywide juvenile justice reform effort where she oversaw case management for 500 youth, trained 40 nonprofit organizations and managed a $4M annual budget. She has traveled the world on various delegations and humanitarian projects and has spoken at prestigious universities and historic churches nationwide. Rahiel is also one of forty women published in the book Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith.
Rahiel has received several national fellowships, including being named a Beatitudes Society Fellow, a Give1 Project Global Leadership Fellow and a “Future for Good” Fellow by the Institute for the Future. Rahiel’s honors and awards include the National Newspaper Publishers Association “National Leadership Award,” National Association of Black Journalist’s “Salute to Excellence,” National Action Network’s “Who’s Got Next,” IMPACT Leader of the Year, and EnVest Foundation’s “Top 40 Under 40.”
Responding to the 2014 Ferguson decision, Rahiel led a national Black Friday economic boycott supported by dozens of celebrities called #NotOneDime. As a leading generational voice, Rahiel has appeared in countless media outlets, including The New York Times, Forbes, MSNBC, Ebony, Jet, Democracy Now and more. Most recently, Rahiel was listed in The Root 100, featured in Ebony and Revolt TV amongst “Leaders of the New School,” and named one of six women by Essence Magazine as “The New Civil Rights Leaders.”
The world-renowned nonprofit Black Girls Rock!, Inc. featured Rahiel on their annual awards show on BET in 2013, 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.”