“The future is dark. But is this the darkness of the tomb – or the darkness of the womb?”
How do we labor for the world we want when the labor feels endless? Valarie Kaur – renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer – declares that revolutionary love is the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead look at others and say: You are a part of me I do not yet know. Starting from that place of wonder, the world begins to change: It is a practice that can transform a relationship, a community, a culture, even a nation.
Kaur takes readers through her own riveting journey – as a brown girl growing up in California farmland finding her place in the world; as a young adult galvanized by the murders of Sikhs after 9/11; as a law student fighting injustices in American prisons and on Guantanamo Bay; as an activist working with communities recovering from xenophobic attacks; and as a woman trying to heal from her own experiences with sexual assault and police violence. Drawing from the wisdom of sages, scientists, and activists, Kaur reclaims love as an active, public, and revolutionary force that creates new possibilities for ourselves, our communities, and our world.
SEE NO STRANGER is a practical guide to changing the world, a synthesis of wisdom, a chronicle of personal and communal history – all joined together by a story of awakening. Revolutionary love is medicine for our times. It just might be our best chance for our collective future.
``This book is for anyone who has felt breathless. Your breathlessness is a sign of your bravery. It means you are awake to what is happening right now: The world is in transition.``
Valarie Kaur’s inspirational book, SEE NO STRANGER, is rooted in radical honesty, vulnerability, and fierce commitment to building a world in which we all belong. Her powerful memoir offers a moral compass for our time.
— Michelle Alexander, civil rights advocate and author of The New Jim Crow
In a world stricken with fear and turmoil, Valarie Kaur shows us how to summon our deepest wisdom.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love
Valarie Kaur is a prophetic voice of our generation. Her wisdom ignites and inspires me, lighting the way through the darkness. This book will do the same for you.
— America Ferrera, actress, activist, organizer
Kaur reframes and renews the tradition of nonviolent social change for our time. Drawing deeply on the gritty love of women of color in everything from childbirth to creating community amid violence, she reaches out to all who understand, with Auden, that ‘we must love one another or die.’ Tested and tempered by suffering, transcending with hope and joy, Kaur shows us how to love others, opponents, and ourselves in ways that will move us closer to the Beloved Community. This is a book that will change your life.
— Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak, Healing the Heart of Democracy, and On the Brink of Everything
A soulful memoir mined in the stories of race, gender, Sikh wisdom and love — where the personal and political merge and spirit and action emerge. Valarie Kaur is a visionary worker for justice and this book is her radiant offering.
— Eve Ensler, playwright, activist and founder of V-Day
Valarie Kaur is a revolutionary for justice who shows us how to labor for the world we dream. In my darkest moments, I remember my Sikh sister’s call to ‘breathe and push!’ Her wisdom inspires us to build movements and seek the change that love demands.
— Rev. William J. Barber, II, president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
This is the book we have been waiting for. It is a guide for anyone who believes that politics alone will not solve our current cultural and spiritual crisis. This book calls us up and calls us into the hard and necessary work to heal our wounds and reimagine the world. Providing a real framework for understanding and practicing Revolutionary Love, this book points the way through division and despair to a future where all people can have a place of dignity.
— Van Jones, CEO of REFORM Alliance and CNN Host
This book and the woman who gave birth to it have so much to offer the struggle for peace and justice as we move into a most complex and crucial century. Open up your heart as you open these pages and let yourself be inspired and invigorated by the way Ms. Kaur breaks it down.
— Ani DiFranco, singer, songwriter and author of No Walls and the Recurring Dream
Valarie Kaur has written a book of remarkable courage and deep insight. Kaur maps singularly personal experiences of suffering and shared collective agonies of inequality as she seeks to understand the terrain of our humanity. She guides readers through painful journeys of violence while insisting healing is necessary and possible for ourselves and for our nation. This is a book for our shattered souls and our battered world. This is a book that takes seriously the power of both hate and love, while leading us insistently toward love.
— Melissa Harris-Perry, Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University and Editor-at-Large for ZORA
In the first chapter of Valarie Kaur’s new book, I felt I was reading the best definition and description of love I had ever come across. As the chapters unfolded, I felt I was seeing rage, grief, healing, and joy all in a fresh light. SEE NO STRANGER is deep, brilliant, sensitive, emotionally moving, and absolutely needed at this critical moment in our history. It is, simply put, among the best books I’ve ever read.
— Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker/activist
Valarie Kaur, with brilliance and passion, offers us the most needed and pure medicine for our times: a call to awaken from “us” and “them”, and dedicate ourselves to all inclusive, wise loving. The intimate, raw stories in SEE NO STRANGER will break and awaken your heart; the profound teachings and compelling vision will inspire you to serve and savor our precious world.
— Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and Radical Compassion
In a world ravaged by anger and hatred, Valarie Kaur offers a vision of “Revolutionary Love,” not as platitude or panacea, but rather as a powerful weapon against intolerance and injustice. It may well be our only hope for peace and understanding in these troubled times.
— Reza Aslan, author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Valarie Kaur writes prose like poetry. . . Her stirring life journey and clarity in the call to action aligns and resonates with treasured voices for social change of their era, from Sojourner Truth to Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, Jr., and places in our hands this gift for the urgent now we face in the challenges of our times.
— John Paul Lederach, author of The Moral Imagination
Love-firebrand … Part personal history, part inspiring manifesto, her immensely readable book implores and inspires us toward love as ‘sweet labor: bloody, fierce, imperfect and life-giving.
— Rainn Wilson, actor
I have been blessed to walk for a while along life’s pathways with Valarie Kaur, to be inspired by her wisdom born from a life lived deeply, and to be called to action in the spirit of a revolutionary love that she so powerfully embodies. Now through this memoir and manifesto others can share in her journey and be inspired by her teachings. Valarie is a midwife to the movement for more peaceful and just societies. By sharing her story with us in See No Stranger, she invites us to see in our own lives and in our relationships with one another that “laboring in love is how we birth the world to come.”
— The Rev. Victor Kazanjian, Executive Director, URI – the United Religions Initiative