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Valarie Kaur is a seasoned civil rights activist, award-winning filmmaker, lawyer, faith leader, and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project. She was born and raised in Clovis, California, where her family settled as Sikh farmers in 1913. When a family friend was the first person killed in a hate crime after September 11, 2001, she began to document hate crimes against Sikh and Muslim Americans, which resulted in the award-winning film Divided We Fall. Since then, she has made films and led story-based campaigns on hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, marriage equality, and Internet freedom. She is the founder of Groundswell Movement, considered “America’s largest multifaith online organizing network,” recognized for “dynamically strengthening faith-based organizing in the 21st century.” She also founded the Yale Visual Law Project, where she trained law students how to make films for social change, and co-founded Faithful Internet to build the movement for net neutrality. Recognized as a leading Sikh American voice, she has been a Senior Fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary since 2013.
During her work, whether inside supermax prisons, on the military base at Guantanamo, or at sites of mass shootings, she identified a surprising key element for social change: the ethic of love. Today she leads the Revolutionary Love Project to champion love as a public ethic and wellspring for social action.
Valarie earned undergraduate degrees in Religious Studies and International Relations at Stanford University, a master’s in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School, where she was a Harvard University Presidential Scholar, and a J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was a Knight Law and Media Scholar. She has worked on complex civil rights cases, clerked on the Senate Judiciary Committee and served as a legal observer at Guantanamo Bay. She was a faculty member of the Stanford Philosophy Institute, teaching high school students religion and philosophy. Valarie was recognized as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. She has an honorary doctorate from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is a member of the California Bar.