M97 INDIA ABROAD, JUNE 2013
For using her
camera and law
degree as her
wisdom from her
heritage; and for
being a soldier
for the Sikh
Valarie Kaur has become a modern-day warrior for civil rights and interfaith engagement in America.
Valarie Kaur may or may not share with a visitor the dark chocolates she often offers friends, but she will certain- ly share stories of her fight for justice that has taken her to super max prisons, her trip to Guantanamo, and
her cross country travel soon after 9/11 that
eventually led to the landmark documentary on
prejudice and crime, Divided We Fall.
This slender, tall and delicately framed woman who lives in a modest home near Yale
in Connecticut — where she conducts a workshop on using film and dramatic stories to illuminate the fight for justice — readily discusses
her fighting instincts and her tenacity.
Nothing seems to deter her, not even an injury inflicted allegedly by New York police officers while filming a protest at the Republic
National Convention that hurt her physically
for several years and still afflicts her with
A third-generation Sikh American who grew
Armed with a law degree and a film camera as her ‘sword and
shield,’ Valarie Kaur is bringing the community’s many faiths
into the mainstream narrative.
The winner of the India Abroad Gopal Raju Award for
Community Service 2012, in conversation with Arthur J Pais.
up in a farming town in California, Valarie has
degrees from three of America’s most prominent universities: Stanford (international
affairs and religion); Harvard (theology); Yale
In her early 30s. Valarie, who shares a home
with her filmmaker and activist husband Sharat
Raju and their dog Shadi, has become a warrior
on many fronts, bringing together people of dif-
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