Interfaith activist Valarie Kaur to speak at CSB about 'Millennials and a Life of Meaning'

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August 19, 2014

Valarie Kaur, cited by the Center for American Progress as "a standout figure in the world of interfaith organizing and activism," will present "Millennials and a Life of Meaning: Walking the Path of Spiritually Grounded Service" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, in Room 204 of the Gorecki Center at the College of Saint Benedict.

The lecture, jointly sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and Intercultural and International Student Services at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, is free and open to the public.

"Our generation has come of age in the shadow of devastation: 9/11, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a great recession, and daily news of violence in our nation and around the globe," said Kaur.  "And yet in the palm of our hands we hold the power to organize, tell our stories, and call for a more just world."

Kaur said that through storytelling and reflection at CSB she will explore "what happens when Millennials walk the path of spiritually grounded service — online and on the ground."

An award-winning filmmaker and lawyer, Kaur is the founder of Groundswell, a non-profit multifaith initiative at Auburn Seminary in New York that combines storytelling and advocacy to mobilize faith communities for social justice.  She has led campaigns on hate crimes, gun violence, racial profiling, immigration detention, and solitary confinement.

Kaur earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, where she founded the Yale Visual Law Project to train students in the art of storytelling for social change.

A frequent political contributor on MSNBC to the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, Kaur's opinion essays have appeared on CNN, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post.

In 2012 Kaur received the India Abroad Award for Community Service and in 2013 the Center for American Progress listed her among "13 progressive faith leaders to watch."

Also in 2013 Kaur was named by Audrey Magazine as one of "eight Asian American women of influence" and she delivered the baccalaureate address for Stanford University.

Melissa Harris-Perry has called Kaur "one of the most exceptional speakers and thinkers I have ever heard."