Nyle Fort is a minister, organizer, and scholar based in Newark, NJ. He received a BA in English from Morehouse College and a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. Nyle has worked in the fields of education, criminal justice, and youth development for nearly a decade in various capacities including, but not limited to: Youth Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, American Friends field worker at the Union County Juvenile Detention Center, and International Fellow at the St. Andrew Centre for Human Development in Southern India.
An activist committed to global transformative justice, Nyle brings his national experience and international lens to his local work. He recently travelled to Ferguson, Missouri to help build the Movement for Black Lives. Upon his return home, Nyle created 7 Last Words: Strange Fruit Speaks, a liturgy commemorating the last words of black people killed by police and vigilantes. In addition, he established Newark Books and Breakfast, a monthly program providing free books and breakfast to local youth and families. Most recently, Nyle travelled to Amsterdam as part of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation’s multinational effort to challenge racialized violence.
In addition to his organizing work, Nyle has spoken at various academic, cultural, and religious institutions including Harvard University, University of Amsterdam, the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center (former Audubon Ballroom), and the historic Riverside Church. His writings are featured in several academic presses including Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy and Socialism and Democracy as well as various popular media outlets including The Guardian, HuffPost, and The Root – where he made its 2015 100 list alongside Kendrick Lamar and Ta-nehisi Coates.
Recently, Nyle was invited to join 300 grassroots leaders from around the globe to participate in the Vatican’s III World Meeting of Popular Movements (WMPM). A joint initiative of Pope Francis and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, WMPM is a gathering of faith leaders and grassroots organizers committed to global transformative justice.
Nyle is currently a Ph.D student in Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University.
“Nearly every single student — across a range of political and ideological spectrums — loved your presentation. They were moved, inspired, and walked away with new knowledge and understanding. Some expressed that they hadn’t expected to have that reaction, but their eyes and hearts were opened. And the conversations that your talk sparked helped open my students up to each other; there were more stories, tears, questions and personal exchanges in the classroom that were incredibly moving and powerful. You also inspired much needed hope and energy in a few students who have felt drained by the work they are doing at school and beyond to fight injustice in society and in their own lives; they were in tears relaying how grateful they felt to have heard your words and felt your strength. All of my students enjoyed your presentation style — your relatability, genuineness, and passion. They were blown away by your depth of knowledge and appreciated your thoughtful answers to student questions. I am incredibly grateful for your visit to our school and for the work you do — from the streets to school auditoriums — to engage, teach, preach, listen, challenge, connect, and spread love, particularly in times of such hate and misunderstanding of each other.” – Margo Andrews, Instructor – The Pennington School
“Nyle was beyond amazing. Our students and faculty loved him and want him to come back. He connected with the students in a very honest and personal way and many folks stayed late to talk to him one on one.” – Marissa Colston, Director of Diversity and Inclusion – Westtown School
“Your presence on our high school campus was such a blessing. Your words were so eloquent and I have never been so drawn to someone’s conversation so much that I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting for the next moment that left me with hope. Your presentation today was absolutely beautiful.” – Maria Kane, Communication Skills Teacher – The Pennington School
“Nyle was amazing! Love this young man! He moved the community on so many levels.” – Moise St. Louis, Director, The Center for Multicultural Affairs and Services – Saint Michael’s College
“… he was amaaaaaazing. Our kids went bananas about and for him — they were really fired up to be engaging with such an intellectual and relatable activist…it was fantastic.” – Martha E. Neubert, Dean of Diversity, Equity, & Social Justice – Northfield Mount Hermon School
“ I think he has a great future ahead of him and is obviously incredibly intelligent, warm, generous, passionate, and driven. I love his story such as we heard and he is very appealing to young people. Thank you for supporting him.” – David J. Weidman, Assistant Head – Kimball Union Academy
“Nyle was excellent! The students really appreciated his style, the content, and his message. He brought Martin Luther King to life for them and inserted him into their daily lives in a very relevant way! One of our best speakers of the year!” – Kathryn M. Noble, Dean of Students – The Williston Northampton School
“I thoroughly enjoyed Nyle’s talk. I have used key points he made during his talk as I move forward with talking with students around social justice. Nyle did a great job at engaging students. Many had great things to say including thinking about their own activism and reach. Given the timing of his talk, many folks, including myself, needed to hear some words of empowerment but also revolution, in terms of the power we have to make change. “ – Pascale S. Jean-Jacques, Assistant Director for Multicultural Education – Quinnipiac University
“It was a tremendous hit with any number of students. He’s an intelligent, articulate speaker with an important message. The number of students who stayed afterward and spoke for quite a while speaks volumes.” – Martin Miller, Speaker Series Director – Blair Academy
“…you were right about Nyle, he was fantastic. The students loved him and they would have kept him here all night if we didn’t push things along. Thanks for the recommendation.” – Paul Brian Thomas, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies – Radford University
“Funny, relatable, engaging, passionate…Nyle’s story is inspiring and brought light to modern day activism and its impacts on race issues in America on a micro and macro level. Nyle did an excellent job engaging all participants to critically think about white privilege, oppression, politics and race in a humorous yet serious way.” – Christa Grant, Director, Damietta Cross-Cultural Center – Siena College
“Nyle was wonderful. The students really enjoyed his lecture and the discussion he started. Thank you for the recommendation, we will definitely love to invite him back in the future.” – Magie Hassanin, Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life and to the Director of Multicultural Student Life – St. Joseph’s College
“…Having you here meant a great deal to all of us who were able to connect with you, your energy, your passion, your intellect, and your courage. I know that I have said to you, nearly as a refrain, each time we have met that you give me hope for the future. Please know that I have never said that to anyone before, ever, and I have had thousands of young people pass through my classes in the last 24 years. It is not that there weren’t exceptional and talented people with whom I crossed paths, but, I have to tell you, none had the combination of insight, brilliance, curiosity, groundedness, open-heartedness, and engagement that you possess. Knowing that you are not only all that I describe, but are committed to activism and to the struggle to understand and address the roots of racism and with unwavering clarity name its injustice and legacy, in concert with a bold confrontation with so many other oppressive categories in which people are placed makes my conviction stronger that you are a unique force in this world…You are truly a light in the murkiness of the present moment, and I look forward to watching you continue to illuminate a way forward.” – Carmen Gillespie, Director, The Griot Institute for Africana Studies – Bucknell University