A Conversation with Valarie Kaur

Saturday, April 1  •  6:00Pm  •  Hooks Hyde Hall
Free & Open to the Public

Valarie Kaur (pronounced “Core”) is a seasoned activist, civil rights lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, media commentator, educator, entrepreneur, and Sikh interfaith leader. Her new venture, the Revolutionary Love Project at the University of Southern California, champions the ethic of love in an era of rage.

For 15 years, Kaur has made award-winning films and led national campaigns for civil rights. Her activism focuses on hate crimes, racism and profiling, gun violence, immigration, solitary confinement, LGBTQI equality, and Internet freedom.

Kaur’s filmography includes the 2008 film Divided We Fall, which is known as the go-to documentary on post-9/11 hate crimes. In 2011 Kaur released Alienation, a short film on immigration and Stigma, a short film about the impact of Stop-and-Frisk.  The Worst of the Worst: Portrait of a Supermax, a 2012 documentary on the practice of solitary confinement, helped win policy change in Connecticut.  2012's Oak Creek: In Memorium, a viral short film on the 2012 mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin that helped the Sikh community win a historic federal policy change on hate crimes. 

Kaur founded the Yale Visual Law Project which trained students at Yale Law School to make films that change policy. In 2016, Kaur and her partner and co-creator Sharat Raju created Seva Productions to support entertainment and social justice projects.

In 2016, Kaur became a co-creator and keynote speaker of the Together Tour in six U.S. cities. She has addressed audiences at the White House, Pentagon, the United Nations, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and on more than 250 U.S. college campuses. She has also traveled with the U.S. State Department as a keynote speaker throughout Burma, aiding its transition from a dictatorship into democracy.

In September 2016, Kaur created the Revolutionary Love Project at the University of Southern California. It is a coalition of faith and moral leaders, public voices, and organizations rising up to reclaim love as a public ethic and a way to fight for justice.

Based on the premise that, throughout history, prophetic leaders from Gandhi to King built social movements rooted in love. They understood that love is an inexhaustible wellspring that can inspire and embolden us to rise up with courage we did not know we had. 

"Love is not just a feeling but an action. Love is the commitment to extend our will for the flourishing of others, opponents, and ourselves. When we love even in the face of fear and rage, we can transform a relationship, a culture, and a country. Love becomes revolutionary. The way we make change is just as important as the change we make. In this dangerous new era, Revolutionary Love is the call of our times," said Kaur.

Kaur, a graduate of Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, has been a regular television commentator on MSNBC and opinion contributor to CNN, NPR, PBSThe Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Hill and The New York Times. 

This Catalyst for Change Distinguishes Speaker event is part of the Gandhi King Conference activities.  To learn more about other conference events click here.