Valarie Kaur

Filmmaker, Storyteller, and Advocate

An eloquent voice promoting racial understanding and religious inclusion.

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Valarie Kaur is an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights advocate, and interfaith leader who centers her work around the power of storytelling. She is the founder of Groundswell at Auburn Seminary, a non-profit initiative with 100,000 members that equips people of faith with the technological tools for social change. As a fellow at the Information Society Project of Yale Law School, she founded the Yale Visual Law Project where she makes films on legal issues.

Valarie has produced a number of critically acclaimed documentary films, beginning with Divided We Fall (2008), the first feature documentary on post-9/11 racism in America, which toured in 200 U.S. cities and received a dozen international awards. Subsequent films have responded to hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, marriage equality, and solitary confinement.

Valarie has been called “a standout figure in the world of interfaith organizing and activism” and “one of the most exceptional speakers and thinkers” of her generation. The Center for American Progress lists her among 13 national faith leaders to watch. In 2013, she was named one of eight Asian-American women of influence, won a Person of the Year award by India Abroad, and delivered the Baccalaureate address for Stanford University.

Valarie is a frequent political contributor on MSNBC to the Melissa Harris-Perry Show. Her opinion essays regularly appear on CNN, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post. Her essays appear in several books and journals including My Neighbor’s Faith (2012), Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership (2011), Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts (2011), The National Institute of Military Justice’s Reports from Guantanamo Vol II (2010), and Civil Rights in Wartime (2010). She is Associate Editor of the 2011 volume in Dave Egger’s Voice of Witness series, Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post-9/11 Injustice.


Valarie tailors each presentation to the needs of her audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest her range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Speaking brilliantly on the issues of race, religion, gender, and power, Valarie offers guidance for any organization committed to supporting diversity and to healing the wounds caused by hate, fear, and ignorance. Her presentation topics include:

Religious Pluralism

Guantánamo Detentions

Immigrants Rights

Racial Profiling

Hate Crimes

Gender Oppression

Women’s Spirituality

The Sikh Religion

Generational Trends

Progressive Lawyering


Stanford 2013 Baccalaureate Ceremony

Standing Up for Justice

One Year Anniversary of Oak Creek | Groundswell


A college forum series:
Dear Eric — Just wanted to let you know what a HUGE success Valarie Kaur was! She connected with students in a way few speakers can, spoke on their level and had their undivided attention whether at the Q&A, the dinner or her presentation! She had a swarm after her event and ended up sitting on the floor of the reception with about 30 students and talking for another hour. It was awesome!