I spent two years fighting for net neutrality as a full-time job. My activist friends wondered why I had taken on a techy cause -- wasn't I a civil rights activist? At 33, I had discovered that my entire life would not have been possible without net neutrality, the principle that protects the open Internet. I couldn't make films, speak, report, or organize without it -- and that's true for all of us from communities without access to power. I began to see net neutrality as the
On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist opened fire inside a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, WI, taking the lives of six people and permanently injuring others. Today hate crimes continue to threaten our communities and Oak Creek is largely a forgotten tragedy. But the story of Oak Creek provides moral inspiration AND a strategic blueprint for how to respond to hate with #RevolutionaryLove. Valarie Kaur and the Revolutionary Love Fellows are working right now on a feature length film to tell the untold story of Oak
My visit to Kansas City this week broke my heart open. It has been 2 months since Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed by a man who yelled, "Get out of my country." I met with Alok Madesani, his best friend who was shot and survived; Ian Grillot chased the gunman to stop him from shooting more people and was shot multiple times; Mindy Corporan who lost her son and father in the shooting at a Jewish Community Center in 2014 and has come to stand by them as
These are the mountains where I spent my childhood. Tall pine forests. Clean air. Snow on all sides, a deep stillness. It takes me three days in a cabin to feel that stillness within me. I have been in crisis-mode since the inauguration, unable to take a full deep breath. That's the trick of oppression, to keep us in a perpetual state of rapid-response, unable to lay order to the chaos, to set down a clear narrative. The onslaught of executive orders blur together, as do the
Breaking report: Sikh man in Kent, Washington shot last night by a gunman who yelled "go back to your own country." This shooting happens on the heels of the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla last week. Hate breaks bones and sears flesh. But it's also in the air we breathe. Right now, I'm having a hard time breathing. I wipe away tears, light a candle, post this note, hold my son & husband, go to the sea to taste the salt in the air, and then resolve to
On Saturday, Feb 25th, we held the inaugural Mai Bhago retreat in Los Angeles! It was the first of its kind -- a gathering for Sikh American women justice leaders. Twenty Sikh American women gathered from all corners of the country. Our circle was diverse: We were brown and white, young and old, gay and straight, turban-wearing and not, and of many professions -- educators, artists, activists, lawyers, and scholars. We were bound together through Mai Bhago, the first Sikh woman warrior, whose legacy inspired the retreat.
This fall I have been on stages across the country with the Together Tour. Each evening courageous, trailblazing women gather to share their stories, to weave them into a beautiful tapestry. It has been a humbling and magical experience thus far. I am so thankful to Kaur Life for the beautiful feature, below, on the Together Tour and my most recent initiative, The Revolutionary Love Project. The tour is half way done, but there is still time to join us! Upcoming stops: BROOKLYN 10/17, ATLANTA 10/19, DENVER 10/24. Use code VAL10 for
URGENT: This weekend, hateful protests are planned at Muslim community centers & mosques in 20 cities in America in a coordinated effort called "Global Rally for Humanity." If you're a Sikh or Muslim American, you've likely received an email urging us to be cautious and vigilant against the threat of hate violence. Simply, it's a frightening moment. I don't want to see bloodshed this weekend. I choose to believe that our public solidarity and love can overwhelm and prevent hate. What can you do? Stand with us.
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