Revolutionary Love Project Founder to Keynote Annual Meeting
By Tiffany Vail
Associate Conference Minister for Communications
Valarie Kaur, founder of the Revolutionary Love Project, will be the keynote speaker at the first Annual Meeting of the new Together As One Conference, to be held Nov. 1 and 2 in Worcester, MA.
Kaur is a Sikh racial justice activist, civil rights lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, educator and author of Revolutionary Love. Kaur sees love as a public ethic and shared practice to be used in the fight for social justice. She believes “the way we make change is just as important as the change we make.”
The Center for American Progress named Kaur “a standout figure in the world of interfaith organizing and activism.”
The Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences have held two joint Annual Meetings in 2017 and 2018. This will be the first Annual Meeting of a united, new Conference, assuming its formation is approved by the UCC’s national gathering, General Synod, in June. (Together As One is the provisional name of the new conference; a task team is looking into how to determine a permanent name. Updates from the Together As One Board of Directors can be found here.)
The Annual Meeting will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2, at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. Kaur is scheduled to speak on Saturday morning.
“Valarie Kaur is a dynamic and passionate activist who brings a commitment to making love a public ethic,” said Connecticut Conference Minister The Rev. Kent. Siladi. “In these days of division and brokenness she models another way through her many gifts and talents. She is a bridge builder, a truth teller and someone whose core message aligns with the vision of the Together As One conference. ”
Rhode Island Interim Conference Minister The Rev. Marilyn Kendrix agreed.
"Her belief that Love can create revolutionary change walks hand in hand with our hope for our new Together, As One Conference," Kendrix said. "Making God’s love and justice real is at the core of who we are and who we hope to be, together."
The Rev. Don Remick, Transitional Interim Conference Minister in Massachusetts, said he learned as a Marriage Enrichment leader years ago that "love is a decision."
"Love is more than a feeling that can change by day or by mood. Love is a choice,” Remick said. “Valarie Kaur, in her astute observation of life, takes this to the next level as she invites us into ‘Revolutionary Love’ as a way of living in the world. Her keen insights and engaging style will echo the heart of impact we hope to have as we become Together As One.”
Watch Kaur's Ted talk, and read more about her in the biography below the video:
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 is a member of the California Bar.