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My Top 10 Moments of 2014

  • 13th January 201513/01/15
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Today, families are gathering together around great bonfires in Northern India and around the world to celebrate Lohri, the harvest festival of Punjab. As a girl, I would blink at the growing flames, listen to the pounding of the dhol (drum), and hold my breath as family members stepped forward to announce good news of the last year: A wedding! The birth of a daughter! A son’s first day at school! A new job! We would then jump up and dance around the fire, singing folk songs, throwing popcorn into the flames, and celebrating the news all together. It’s one of my favorite festivals! […]

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Remembering Legendary Dancer Pandit Chitresh Das

  • 5th January 20155/01/15
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Today, we mourn the sudden loss of Pandit Chitresh Das Ji, legendary dancer and luminary teacher of Kathak, the classical North Indian dance. He died unexpectedly on Sunday morning. It’s difficult to express this sense of tremendous loss and profound gratitude. He gave countless people the gift of dance, including me – When I wandered into his class at Stanford 12 years ago, I knew nothing about Kathak. Here was a man with wild hair and fire in his eyes, declaring the integration of mathematics and dance, storytelling and life! In that first class, he taught us tatkar (footwork) and pushed us to […]

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First-Ever Sikh Float in Rose Parade

  • 1st January 20151/01/15
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It was an incredible experience to watch the first-ever Sikh float at the Rose Parade. It celebrated the story of Sikhs in America, starting with pioneers like my grandfather who settled in California 101 years ago. The float features a replica of the first gurdwara in America – one that he helped build – and a tractor like the one he used to farm. Watching the Rose Parade next to my parents and Sharat, baby Kavi sleeping on my chest, we all teared up when we saw the Sikh float on the screen. My dad started it: “That gurdwara, that tractor, those peaches… that was Dad’s life when […]

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Welcoming Kavi Singh Raju

  • 10th December 201410/12/14
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We present to you Kavi Singh Raju, born Wednesday December 3, 2014 at 4:58am Pacific in Los Angeles, California. “Kavi” means “poet” in Sanskrit and also our family’s languages Punjabi and Kannada. “Singh” binds him to the Sikh tradition of saint-soldiers. He is named after the spirit of his poet-warrior great grandfathers, including one who settled in America 101 years ago. We hope Kavi lives a life of exploration, creativity, wonder and seva as he discovers this big, beautiful, complicated, noisy and blissful world. We just brought him home to our little nest by the sea. Our hearts are overflowing with joy. Kavi is so fortunate to be born […]

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An Interfaith Thanksgiving

  • 27th November 201427/11/14
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I am thankful that the International Business Times included me in their article on the ways in which different faiths celebrate Thanksgiving. You can read the article and my quote in it here. Also, here is the rest of the text from my interview: “Many Sikhs choose to commemorate the holiday through the core Sikh practice of seva, or ‘spiritually grounded service.’ The Sikh commitment to seva inspires the tradition of ‘langar’ — a free communal meal served to anyone who walks into a Sikh gurdwara (house of worship) in America and around the world. On Thanksgiving, many American Sikh families will take […]

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What’s Next for Faithful Internet

  • 25th November 201425/11/14
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Hi everyone, Today, our minds and hearts are in Ferguson. In the face of sadness and despair, we still find hope in this: people of all colors and faiths from all corners of the country are calling for justice for Michael Brown – on the ground and online. Their courage reaffirms our commitment to protect the tool that makes this work possible — a free and open Internet. Will you join us? Tell your story about how you use the Internet in your work for social justice. It’s really simple. It takes a few seconds to create your own 4-sentence […]

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Faithful Internet Kick-Off

  • 22nd November 201422/11/14
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Every issue we care about – immigration, policing, gun violence, climate change, hate crimes, you name it – requires us to protect the Internet as a place where we can organize, innovate, and connect. If you have been following my last few posts, you know that right now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a proposal that would end the Internet as we know it. It will create fast lanes for those who pay—and slow lanes for the rest of us. President Obama just announced a new plan to protect a free and open Internet. Now it’s our turn to persuade an independent federal […]

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“Law & Order SVU” Tackles Ray Rice Story

  • 19th November 201419/11/14
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Tonight is the night! My husband and filmmaking partner Sharat Raju directed an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - and it airs tonight 9 PM Eastern/Pacific on NBC! The episode is superb: a powerful, provocative, and morally complex story that takes on the issue of domestic violence inspired by the Ray Rice case. An example of the power of storytelling for deep dialogue and social change via television. It will also keep you on the edge of your seat. OK, I might be a bit biased, but even the SVU Writer’s Room tweeted: “No joke, this is a masterpiece of an episode.” […]

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Will the FCC Ruin the Internet?

  • 13th November 201413/11/14
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Published on CNN. Editor’s note: Barbara van Schewick, author of “Internet Architecture and Innovation,” is a professor at Stanford Law School and director of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Follow her on Twitter: @vanschewick.  Valarie Kaur is Media & Strategy Fellow at the Center and contributed to this article. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. The results of the midterm election confirm Americans’ widespread discontent with Washington gridlock on a range of issues. In the last few months, millions of people contacted the White House, Congress and federal agencies to demand action on one of […]

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Guru Nanak’s Birthday in the International Business Times

  • 6th November 20146/11/14
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I was excited to see this and other wonderful coverage on the birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh faith: http://www.ibtimes.com/guru-nanaks-birthday-2014-3-things-you-need-know-about-sikh-holiday-1720042. I was also so glad to be quoted in the International Business Times’ article: “For many, [today] is a profound time to reflect on Guru Nanak’s vision of Oneness — the oneness of the divine and the oneness of humanity — and his message: ‘I see no stranger,’” Valarie Kaur, an interfaith organizer who is Sikh, said. “If we begin to see the world in this way, it inspires an unending flow of love and compassion — and also a commitment […]

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