Women’s History Month Spotlight: Valarie Kaur
Born in Clovis, California, and raised in the United States to parents of Indian origin, Valarie Kaur grew up practicing the Sikh faith. Kaur earned bachelor’s degrees in international relations and religion from Stanford University. She also holds a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School and a JD from Yale Law School.
Kaur began her career as a documentary filmmaker. Her documentaries focus mainly on social causes. As a well-known social activist, Kaur has made documentaries on gun violence prevention in America, detention of immigrants, prevention of racial discrimination and neutrality of internet. Her first film, Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath, was released in 2008 and was based on the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. She rose to fame when the documentary won several awards including Outstanding International Documentary (ReelWorld Film Festival) and Audience Choice: Best Documentary (Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles). Shown in almost 200 US cities, the documentary continues to impress audiences.
Other documentaries created by Kaur include Alienation, which documents immigration detention in the US; short film Stigma about police policies in the US; and short film The Worst of the Worst: Portrait of Supermax, which is based on the life of prisoners. In 2012, Kaur document the mass shooting at the Gurdwara in Wisconsin in the short film Oak Creek: In Memoriam.
Honored in 2013 by the Center for American Progress as one of “13 Progressive Faith Leaders to Watch,” Kaur continues to advocate faith-based initiatives and issues. Her latest initiative, the Revolutionary Love Project at the University of Southern California, champions the ethic of love in an era of rage. A seasoned orator, Kaur speaks about #RevolutionaryLove as a public ethic — a political and moral response to injustice and wellspring for social action.
Based in Los Angeles with her husband and young son, Kaur is an interfaith leader who will likely inspire all generations for years to come.