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Karen Armstrong Humanitarian Award 2023

Valarie Kaur

People You Should Know

Valarie Kaur

Valarie Kaur is a renowned civil rights leader, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, educator, innovator, and best-selling author of See No Stranger. She is the founder of the Revolutionary Love Project, where she leads a movement to reclaim love as a force for justice. Valarie burst into global consciousness when her Watch Night Service address went viral with 40 million views worldwide. Her question — “Is this the darkness of the tomb — or the darkness of the womb?” is now a mantra for people fighting for our future.

Valarie became an activist when a Sikh father and family friend Balbir Singh Sodhi was the first person murdered in hate violence in the aftermath of 9/11. For two decades, in his memory, Valarie led visionary campaigns to tell untold stories and change policy on issues ranging from hate crimes to solitary confinement to digital freedom. In 2021, she led the People’s Inauguration, inspiring millions of Americans to renew their role in building a healthy, multiracial democracy. Today, the Revolutionary Love Project equips communities with practical tools to transform the nation from inside out.

A Sikh thought leader and spiritual visionary, Valarie spoke at President Biden’s Inaugural Prayer Service. In Fall 2022, President Biden honored Valarie at the White House in the first-ever Uniters Ceremony, recognizing her as a prophetic leader whose work is healing America.

Valarie earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, and holds several honorary doctorates. She has created groundbreaking initiatives at the intersection of spirituality, storytelling, and social justice, including Groundswell Movement, Faithful Internet, and the Yale Visual Law Project. She speaks widely and has been a regular TV commentator on MSNBC and contributor to CNN, NPR, PBS, the Hill, and the Washington Post. Her debut book SEE NO STRANGER became a #1 LA Times bestseller and expands on her “blockbuster” TED talk.

Valarie’s vision is deeply inspired by her Sikh faith. A daughter of Punjabi farmers, Valarie grew up on the farmlands of California, where her family has lived for more than a century. Her grandfather gave her Sikh wisdom through stories and songs that showed the way of the sant-sipahi, sage-warrior. The sage loves; the warrior fights — it is a path of revolutionary love.
 

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