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Amy Chua, Author, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Diana L. Eck, Professor, Harvard University
Harold Koh, Former Dean, Yale Law School
Lawrence Lessig, Professor, Harvard Law School
Philip Zimbardo, Author, The Lucifer Effect
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Valarie Kaur is a seasoned activist, civil rights lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, media commentator, educator, entrepreneur, and Sikh interfaith leader. Her new venture, the Revolutionary Love Project at the University of Southern California, champions the ethic of love in an era of rage. Latest at @valariekaur.
Kaur (pronounced “Core”) has made award-winning films and led national campaigns on civil rights for 15 years. Her activism focuses on hate crimes, racism and profiling, gun violence, immigration, solitary confinement, LGBTQI equality, and Internet freedom. She is the founder of Groundswell Movement, America’s largest multifaith online organizing community of 300,000+ known for “dynamically strengthening faith-based organizing in the 21st century.” She also founded the Yale Visual Law Project where she trained students at Yale Law School to make films that change policy. Kaur recently served as the Media and Justice Fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, where she co-founded Faithful Internet to equip faith leaders in the fight for Internet freedom. Now as the Scholar-in-Residence at Middle Collegiate Church and Senior Fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary, she speakers on #RevolutionaryLove as a public ethic — a political and moral response to injustice and wellspring for social action.
Education. Kaur earned undergraduate degrees in religion and international relations at Stanford University, a master’s degree in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School where she was a Harvard Presidential Scholar, and a JD at Yale Law School, where she was a Knight Law and Media Fellow and Visiting Fellow at the Information Society Project.
Television, Print, and Stage. Kaur has been a regular television commentator on MSNBC and opinion contributor to CNN, NPR, PBS, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Hill and The New York Times. She has addressed audiences at the White House, Pentagon, the United Nations, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and on more than 250 U.S. college campuses. She has also traveled with the U.S. State Department as a keynote speaker throughout Burma, aiding its transition from dictatorship into democracy. In 2016, she became a co-creator and keynote speaker of the Together Tour in 6 U.S. cities.
Films. Kaur’s first film Divided We Fall (2008) with director Sharat Raju toured in 200 U.S. cities, won a dozen international awards, and became known as the go-to documentary on post-9/11 hate crimes. The Divided We Fall Campaign inspired dialogues on 100+ campuses and communities in the 2008 and 2016 election seasons. Since then, Kaur and Raju have continued to make documentary films together on social justice issues: Alienation (2011), a short film, follows families swept up in immigration raids; Stigma (2011), a short film, chronicles youth encounters with stop-and-frisks; The Worst of the Worst: Portrait of a Supermax (2012), a documentary on the practice of solitary confinement, helped win policy change in Connecticut and is now used by activists around the country; and Oak Creek: In Memorium (2012), a viral short film on the 2012 mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, helped the Sikh community win historic federal policy change on hate crimes. In 2016, Kaur and Raju created Seva Productions to support entertainment and social justice projects.
“In this culture of snapshots and sound bytes, we are starved for stories, real stories, personal authentic voices that lay claim to who we are as Americans. My hope is that this film tells a rich and complex story about the impact of fear and division in America and abroad. The story is about the struggle for recognition. It is an American struggle, the struggle for human dignity. In a nation and world where divisions abound, this message is important now more than ever.”
Sharat Raju has won more than twenty awards as a filmmaker since graduating with honors from The American Film Institute’s renowned directing program. His Masters Thesis film, American Made, quickly became an international phenomenon as it tore through the film festival circuit in 2004-05, winning awards at Tribeca Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, AFI Fest, and from BAFTA. American Made aired on PBS’s Emmy Award-winning program “Independent Lens” from 2006-2010.
Sharat followed up his thesis short by directing and producing Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath, a five-year project that reunited the core team from his thesis film.
In 2007 Sharat was selected as a Film Independent Directing Fellow and then earned a spot in ABC Network’s prestigious Director’s Guild of America Directing Fellowship through 2009. He spent time learning to direct episodic television by shadowing on the sets of Desperate Housewives, Cavemen, October Road, Boston Legal, Greek, and Samantha Who. In 2010, he was invited to the Berlinale Talent Campus as an up-and-coming filmmaker from the US.
Sharat’s most recent film Worker Drone launched in April 2011 as an episode of “FutureStates” – a PBS-funded science fiction anthology series – that he wrote, directed, edited, and co-produced. Worker Drone explores the consequences of outsourcing war and the video-gaming of modern conflict.
Originally from Chicago and a graduate of the University of Michigan, Sharat lives in New Haven, Connecticut where he serves as a Visiting Fellow at the Yale Visual Law Project – an initiative he helped found at Yale Law School that trains students in the art of visual advocacy. He helped shoot, edit, and produce two films, Alienation and Stigma – both of which deal with legal aspects of racial profiling in immigration and in stop-and-frisk practices in Black and Latino neighborhoods of New York City.
Sharat began his career as an assistant to legendary casting director Mali Finn, learning performance and directing while working on a variety films including The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, and 8 Mile.
“This film has been a labor of love, a grassroots project from start to finish. We crashed on friends’ couches while filming on the road, slept on the floor of the editing room for the better part of nine months, worked with a volunteer production staff of friends – all in the name of making sure we could tell this story. It was incredible feat to make and I’m very moved to know that we didn’t just finish it, but people enjoy and have been using the film for good. I couldn’t be more grateful.”