Author, activist will bridge divides with 'revolutionary love' at next Talking Together event

Valarie Kaur, filmmaker, civil rights activist and author, will discuss how "revolutionary love" can bridge divides at the next Talking Together event, Thursday, February 23, at the Eberhard Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

"See No Stranger: An Evening with Valarie Kaur" runs from 6:30-9 p.m. RSVP for the free event online

Talking Together is a yearlong series of discussions and workshops coordinated by four campus entities: Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse, Kaufman Interfaith Institute, Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, and WGVU Public Media.

Valarie Kaur speaks with a microphone
Valarie Kaur, filmmaker, civil rights activist and author, will discuss how 'revolutionary love' can bridge divides at the next Talking Together event on February 23.
Image credit - courtesy photo

Kyle Kooyers, associate director of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute, said when organizers initially began planning the series, Kaur's name was brought up because of her work to bridge divides.

"As a frequent media presence, author and filmmaker, Valarie draws upon her background, beliefs and lived experiences to draw people towards one another," Kooyers said. "Even in our disagreements or frustrations with 'the other,' we want people to feel Valarie's invitation to revolutionary love, seeing those across the table or across the aisle as a part of ourselves, no longer as strangers."

Kaur's book, "See No Stranger: A Memoir & Manifesto of Revolutionary Love," recounts her own experiences with hatred and intolerance as a Sikh growing up in California. A friend of Kaur's family, whom she called uncle, was murdered after 9/11. In the book, she reclaims love as an active, public and revolutionary force that creates new possibilities.

There are two remaining Talking Together events. Lisa Perhamus, director of the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse and associate professor of educational foundations, said the momentum to strengthen community through conversation is building from past events.

"I am both energized by the tremendous level of engagement and participation that we have seen at our monthly events and reminded of how much work there is yet to be done in creating a culture of conversation," Perhamus said. "The evening with Valarie Kaur offers our campus and local communities an opportunity to collectively reflect upon an often overlooked element of conversation: the role of love."


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