VALARIE KAUR: CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST, LAWYER, AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKER, EDUCATOR, AUTHOR, & SIKH AMERICAN VOICE

VALARIE KAUR is a seasoned civil rights activist and celebrated prophetic voice “at the forefront of progressive change” (Center for American Progress). Valarie burst into American consciousness in the wake of the 2016 election when her Watch Night Service address went viral with 30+ million views worldwide. Her question “Is this the darkness of the tomb – or the darkness of the womb?” reframed the political moment and became a mantra for people fighting for change. Valarie now leads the Revolutionary Love Project to reclaim love as a force for justice in America. As a lawyer, filmmaker, and innovator, she has won policy change on multiple fronts – hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, Internet freedom, and more. She founded Groundswell Movement, Faithful Internet, and the Yale Visual Law Project to inspire and equip new generations of advocates. Valarie has been a regular TV commentator on MSNBC and contributor to CNN, NPR, PBS, the Hill, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post. A daughter of Sikh farmers in California’s heartland, Valarie earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School. Valarie’s book, SEE NO STRANGER: A Memoir & Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, was released in 2020 and expands on her “blockbuster” TED Talk.

VALARIE KAUR: “A STANDOUT FIGURE IN THE WORLD OF INTERFAITH ORGANIZING & ACTIVISM” THE CENTER FOR American Progress

Films

    • Divided We Fall (2008) – Valarie’s first film with director Sharat Raju toured in 200 U.S. cities, won a dozen international awards, and became known as the go-to documentary on post-9/11 hate crimes. The Divided We Fall Campaign inspired dialogues on 100+ campuses and communities in the 2008 and 2016 election seasons. In 2016, Kaur and Raju created Seva Productions to support entertainment and social justice projects.
    • Alienation (2011), a short film, follows families swept up in immigration raids
    • Stigma (2011), a short film, chronicles youth encounters with stop-and-frisks
    • The Worst of the Worst: Portrait of a Supermax (2012), a documentary on the practice of solitary confinement, helped win policy change in Connecticut and is now used by activists around the country
    • Oak Creek: In Memorium (2012), a viral short film on the 2012 mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, helped the Sikh community win historic federal policy change on hate crimes.

Television, Print & Stage

Awards

Distinctions

Honors

  • Leadership Award, Sikh American Chamber of Commerce (2012)
  • Youth Leadership Award, Sikh American Legal & Education Defense Fund (2013)
  • Mai Bhago Spirit of Vaisakhi Award for Outstanding Service, Sikh Dharma International (2008)
  • Community Service Seva Award, Centennial Foundation (2007)
  • Sikh American Heritage Award, Sikh Council on Religion and Education (2007)
  • Leadership and Scholarship “Miri-Piri” Award, Sikh Center of Orange County (2007)
  • Service Award, Punjabi American Festival (2007)

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