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See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love

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How do we love in a time of rage? How do we fix a broken world while not breaking ourselves? Valarie Kaur—renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer—describes revolutionary love as the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead loo How do we love in a time of rage? How do we fix a broken world while not breaking ourselves? Valarie Kaur—renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer—describes revolutionary love as the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead look at others and say: You are part of me I do not yet know. Starting from that place of wonder, the world begins to change: It is a practice that can transform a relationship, a community, a culture, even a nation. Kaur takes readers through her own riveting journey—as a brown girl growing up in California farmland finding her place in the world; as a young adult galvanized by the murders of Sikhs after 9/11; as a law student fighting injustices in American prisons and on Guantánamo Bay; as an activist working with communities recovering from xenophobic attacks; and as a woman trying to heal from her own experiences with police violence and sexual assault. Drawing from the wisdom of sages, scientists, and activists, Kaur reclaims love as an active, public, and revolutionary force that creates new possibilities for ourselves, our communities, and our world. See No Stranger helps us imagine new ways of being with each other—and with ourselves—so that together we can begin to build the world we want to see.


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How do we love in a time of rage? How do we fix a broken world while not breaking ourselves? Valarie Kaur—renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer—describes revolutionary love as the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead loo How do we love in a time of rage? How do we fix a broken world while not breaking ourselves? Valarie Kaur—renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer—describes revolutionary love as the call of our time, a radical, joyful practice that extends in three directions: to others, to our opponents, and to ourselves. It enjoins us to see no stranger but instead look at others and say: You are part of me I do not yet know. Starting from that place of wonder, the world begins to change: It is a practice that can transform a relationship, a community, a culture, even a nation. Kaur takes readers through her own riveting journey—as a brown girl growing up in California farmland finding her place in the world; as a young adult galvanized by the murders of Sikhs after 9/11; as a law student fighting injustices in American prisons and on Guantánamo Bay; as an activist working with communities recovering from xenophobic attacks; and as a woman trying to heal from her own experiences with police violence and sexual assault. Drawing from the wisdom of sages, scientists, and activists, Kaur reclaims love as an active, public, and revolutionary force that creates new possibilities for ourselves, our communities, and our world. See No Stranger helps us imagine new ways of being with each other—and with ourselves—so that together we can begin to build the world we want to see.

30 review for See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    "We can have all the empathy in the world for a group of people and still participate in the structures and systems that oppress them." Stars cannot express the power of this book. "We can have all the empathy in the world for a group of people and still participate in the structures and systems that oppress them." Stars cannot express the power of this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Raymond

    One of the hardest things we can do as humans is to love our enemies. It’s one of those precepts that is easier said than done, but civil rights lawyer, activist, and filmmaker Valarie Kaur has given us a book that can help us to do this work. In See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, Kaur provides us a book that is part memoir and part how to manual on how to practice what she describes as “revolutionary love”. She defines revolutionary love as the active decisions humans One of the hardest things we can do as humans is to love our enemies. It’s one of those precepts that is easier said than done, but civil rights lawyer, activist, and filmmaker Valarie Kaur has given us a book that can help us to do this work. In See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, Kaur provides us a book that is part memoir and part how to manual on how to practice what she describes as “revolutionary love”. She defines revolutionary love as the active decisions humans make to wonder about others, our opponents, and ourselves. This act of wonder, she says, will help make the world a better place. Failing to wonder ultimately leads to violence against people who we consider the other. In her book, Kaur describes in vivid detail how many men in her own Sikh community were killed after 9/11 because ignorant, racist people assumed they were Muslim terrorists. She chronicles a must read account of the 2012 Oak Creek massacre, which was the most violent hate crime against Sikhs in American history. She is also frank about the verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse that was inflicted on her by the hands of men in her Sikh community. In this book she describes the steps she and the families of hate crime victims took to wonder about their transgressors. Ultimately she finds that there are no monsters in this world only wounded humans. Kaur’s writing is beautiful, there are so many quotes in here that are gems. I learned alot from this book especially as it relates to Sikhism, its origins, the significance of the turban, and even some shabads, sacred Sikh songs. This is a perfect book to read in our current moment. Many Americans are racially segregated by neighborhoods, houses of worship, politics, etc. This segregation results in alot of people being fearful of the other, which leads to the senseless killings of many people, especially people of color. Reading this book will help readers live out the words of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, who stated “I see no stranger. I see no enemy.” Kaur’s book gives us the tools to become warrior-sages in the never ending fight for equality for all people. Thanks to NetGalley, One World, and Valarie Kaur for a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. This review was first published here: https://medium.com/ballasts-for-the-m...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lorilin

    I had never heard of Valarie Kaur before reading this memoir, but she is a renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer. She’s also incredibly thoughtful, insightful, and impressively understanding toward people who are different from her. It took me a while to finish See No Stranger because it is heavy—beautifully written and straight up breathtaking, no exaggeration—but, good grief, she covers some tough subjects. Not only does she discuss her personal experiences with racism and I had never heard of Valarie Kaur before reading this memoir, but she is a renowned Sikh activist, filmmaker, and civil rights lawyer. She’s also incredibly thoughtful, insightful, and impressively understanding toward people who are different from her. It took me a while to finish See No Stranger because it is heavy—beautifully written and straight up breathtaking, no exaggeration—but, good grief, she covers some tough subjects. Not only does she discuss her personal experiences with racism and sexual assault (she grew up with her Sikh family in the farmland of white-washed central California). But she also describes her years as a law student observing “life” at Guantánamo Bay and later fighting for prison reform, as well as her years as an activist helping communities recover from brutal acts of violence fueled by xenophobic prejudice. The deep level of hate she describes in this book is damn near unbearable to read, especially given our current political climate. But her message to stay open, to commit to an attitude of “wonder,” especially when interacting with people who are (often extremely) different from us is powerful. When she describes speaking to the guards at Guantánamo Bay, specifically to one guard who inconceivably complains that the prisoners have more freedom than he does, and then forcing herself to not shut down and judge, but instead ask questions to understand his point of view, was incredible. Inspirational. “You are a part of me that I don’t yet know” is a common refrain in this book. It’s a powerful reminder that hate only breeds more hate, but love and understanding are what make us feel light, connected, and free. With 38 days until the election, this is exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you to One World and Net Galley for the ARC!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book is extraordinary. Transformative. I will be buying my own copy because I need to mark it up. And reread it. Over and over. I recommend this most highly for anyone, especially anyone who wants to make the world a better place.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley There times when this book feels like it cannot decide what It wants to be, like it is trying to do too much. One level, it functions as a memoir, a very good one. On another level, it functions as a guide to dealing with those people – ones who disagree with you or who exhibit racism. On a third level, it is a discussion of Sikh belief and philosophy. Again, like the memoir, interesting. But there are times when the two book types mesh and times when they do not. F Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley There times when this book feels like it cannot decide what It wants to be, like it is trying to do too much. One level, it functions as a memoir, a very good one. On another level, it functions as a guide to dealing with those people – ones who disagree with you or who exhibit racism. On a third level, it is a discussion of Sikh belief and philosophy. Again, like the memoir, interesting. But there are times when the two book types mesh and times when they do not. For the most part, the memoir and philosophy work well together. In detailing the influence of her family and belief, of her experiences growing up and as an activist, the book is extremely good and enjoyable. It is especially moving when Kaur details the interactions with her cousin. The problems come when the philosophy and memoir go beyond family, when Kaur talks about her work with activist. The book would have benefited with more detail her movement, the finding of her, and even her decision to start one. There is also a strangeness about her descriptions of her interactions with soldiers at Gutanemo Bay and prison guards. Let me be clear, considering what Kaur was exposed to, her sense of distrust and wariness make sense. And she seems to be very honest in her accounts. But there is a sense of dismissal or of superiority in her reporting of the conversations. This sense does not occur when she engages a group of men who are voicing racist comments. It occurs when she wonders if a prison guard feels love, when the reporting of a prison guard who has PTSD is downplayed, when she realizes that the guard is just part of a system that he does not fully realized. If this was a more developed book about the movement or even a memoir there would have been self-actualization in these passages, there would have been something at least in addition to that superiority and dismissal feeling. That reservation aside, the book is engrossing. It is something you should read. Kaur’s philosophy and idea, the need to think with reaction other than anger is something that we need more of today. In particular, the sections on the coming to terms with the expectations of family and what the heart wants are good.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Rarely does a book come along that makes an impression on me as See No Stranger has. In the 1990s, several of M Scott Peck's books, including Different Drum (about building community) enabled me to re-imagine my life and begin a healing of my soul. Just a few years ago, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari presented a revolutionary overview of human history that enabled me to re-imagine humanity. Now in 2020 comes Valarie Kaur with See No Stranger to empower me to re-imagine my life as an activist (and wr Rarely does a book come along that makes an impression on me as See No Stranger has. In the 1990s, several of M Scott Peck's books, including Different Drum (about building community) enabled me to re-imagine my life and begin a healing of my soul. Just a few years ago, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari presented a revolutionary overview of human history that enabled me to re-imagine humanity. Now in 2020 comes Valarie Kaur with See No Stranger to empower me to re-imagine my life as an activist (and writer) who can make an immense difference to bring progressive change to the world. Well, my tiny corner of the world, anyway. Ms Kaur fearlessly makes herself vulnerable in the pages of her revealing and powerful memoir while simultaneously setting forth a new archetype of activist facing down every challenge with Revolutionary Love. I truly loved reading See No Stranger and can't wait to read it again on my Kindle for PC app so I can highlight the many passages I found deeply profound and immensely inspiring.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Some books are so perfectly in tune with their time that reading them feels almost spooky. As though the author has moved beyond our earthly struggles and found solutions from sources we have overlooked amidst our solitary pursuits. We were too busy not listening. Author Valarie Kaur took time off very intentionally and composed this book from myriad sources, her own lifelong journals and philosophy and religious texts. That her book will be published in the midst of COVID-19 and racial demonstr Some books are so perfectly in tune with their time that reading them feels almost spooky. As though the author has moved beyond our earthly struggles and found solutions from sources we have overlooked amidst our solitary pursuits. We were too busy not listening. Author Valarie Kaur took time off very intentionally and composed this book from myriad sources, her own lifelong journals and philosophy and religious texts. That her book will be published in the midst of COVID-19 and racial demonstrations that span the globe makes it unbelievably timely. I was moved, bothered, provoked, challenged and inspired by so much of her writing; I was also comforted beyond belief. I found hope within it when I needed it most. This is a book that should travel from reader to reader with love. I received my copy from from the publisher through NetGalley. Many thanks.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Blythe

    Restorative and transformative. Enlightening and comforting. I wish every American who strives to love in this broken world could absorb the wisdom in these pages.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alissa

    I was on maternity leave in Hong Kong bonding with my newly adopted toddler daughter during the winter of 2016 when I first encountered the work of civil rights activist Valarie Kaur. This period of time, you may recall, was a particularly interesting one to be an American diplomat overseas, as our presidential election results had just shocked the world; it was also an interesting time to find my footing as the single mother of a child of a different ethnicity - and U.S. immigration status - th I was on maternity leave in Hong Kong bonding with my newly adopted toddler daughter during the winter of 2016 when I first encountered the work of civil rights activist Valarie Kaur. This period of time, you may recall, was a particularly interesting one to be an American diplomat overseas, as our presidential election results had just shocked the world; it was also an interesting time to find my footing as the single mother of a child of a different ethnicity - and U.S. immigration status - than my own. Prior to this time in my life, I’d fleetingly recognized my own privilege, but now I felt an overwhelming surge of love for someone who would never know some of the privileges I’d been raised to carelessly expect and enjoy. I felt breathless with anxiety for my small family’s future as I clicked on a video clip virally circulating on my Facebook page that winter. In the six-minute clip, Kaur spoke eloquently to a Protestant church’s packed congregation of the challenges faced when raising brown bodies in a country where racism continues to thrive. I felt suddenly renewed with energy as she asked her audience to ponder, “Is this the darkness of the tomb, or of the womb?... What if our America has yet to be born?” Kaur’s central hypothesis was - rather than watching the end of our nation’s history unfold, as so many feared at that unsettling time - perhaps we were living in a transitory period where Americans could utilize the tools of revolutionary love to manifest an America truly capable of providing hope and prosperity for all its inhabitants. Valarie Kaur’s See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love (416 pp. One World, $28.00) begins with a dedication: “This book is for anyone who feels breathless. Maybe moving through this world, in your body, is enough to make you feel constriction in your chest… Your breathlessness is a sign of your bravery. It means you are awake to what’s happening right now: The World is in transition.” She goes on to describe her philosophy of Revolutionary Love as “the choice to enter into wonder and labor for others, for opponents, and for ourselves in order to transform the world around us. It is not a formal code or prescription but an orientation to life that is personal and political and rooted in joy. Loving only ourselves is escapism; loving only our opponents is self-loathing; loving only others is ineffective. All three practices together make love revolutionary, and revolutionary love can only be practiced in community.” See No Stranger is, on its face, a memoir, describing Kaur’s background steeped in the Sikh faith on her family’s farm in California. Her world, along with so many others’, was rocked on September 11th, 2001, and she found a path towards healing through her study of U.S. constitutional law and her work with Guantanamo Bay detainees. But it is her descriptions of motherhood and its impact on her worldview that resonate most deeply with me. While describing her pregnancies, she raises infinitely larger questions regarding our society’s founding principles. “If we see the story of America as one long labor, then we have… a series of expansions and contractions, and each turn through the cycle brings us closer to what is being born… Transition is the most painful and dangerous stage, but it’s also where we begin to see what comes into the space we open up.” I cannot recommend this book enough for those struggling to find their voice and role in confronting both the challenges and opportunities facing our country in this moment. One of the great joys of my summer has been helping folks find the right book to begin their antiracism work. I hope this title speaks to you and other members of your family, and that after reading it, you strive to work to strengthen our community in any positive direction you are capable of as we move towards a brighter future for all our neighbors. This title is available at Salisbury’s independent bookstore, South Main Book Company, located at 110 S. Main St. Call 704-630-9788 or email [email protected] to confirm store hours and events. Alissa Redmond is the owner of this store. You may purchase a copy from the store buy clicking on this link: https://bookshop.org/a/36/9780525509097

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This excellent, worth-reading book helps us gain understanding of the two diametrically opposed camps within our country. It also suggests reasons and avenues to open dialogue. The underlying theme is we cannot begin to repair and move on unless we mitigate our individual dislike, anger or hate toward others...and even add empathy and respect for those we don’t understand. And we all need to remember to take care of ourselves. I’m so glad Ms. Kaur wrote this book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Wow! I do not usually read books with a heavy philosophical bent, but I really loved this book. I was given an ARC by Random House One World and received it about a week or two into the my state's stay at home order but didn't immediately pick it up. I finally started it yesterday and got about 50 pages to the end before I finally tore myself away to go to sleep - I didn't anticipate it being so hard to put down! Kaur's synthesis of her own traumatic experiences and those she has witnessed throu Wow! I do not usually read books with a heavy philosophical bent, but I really loved this book. I was given an ARC by Random House One World and received it about a week or two into the my state's stay at home order but didn't immediately pick it up. I finally started it yesterday and got about 50 pages to the end before I finally tore myself away to go to sleep - I didn't anticipate it being so hard to put down! Kaur's synthesis of her own traumatic experiences and those she has witnessed through her healing process of coming to revolutionary love was really thought-provoking and accessible. As my professional work is with people who are trauma survivors, it's given me a new lens to think about my own approach, what I hope for, and how I can talk to people about how we process what has happened to them. In the broader context of living in the USA, I'm also feeling reinvigorated about fighting for the things I believe in and connecting with others to do so.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jewyamarie

    I would highly recommend this book. The only reason it is not 5 is due every so often I would lose connection to her writing style. However, that does not really affect that this book really stretched me by giving me ideas to think about that I had not previously considered, a glimpse into a faith that I knew nothing about, and a wake up to historical events in our country and their ramifications. Valarie Kaur is smart, impressive, bold, brave, and unbelievably kind and loving. I have been great I would highly recommend this book. The only reason it is not 5 is due every so often I would lose connection to her writing style. However, that does not really affect that this book really stretched me by giving me ideas to think about that I had not previously considered, a glimpse into a faith that I knew nothing about, and a wake up to historical events in our country and their ramifications. Valarie Kaur is smart, impressive, bold, brave, and unbelievably kind and loving. I have been greatly challenged by her book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jacquelyn Fusco

    I can't say enough good things about this book. I want everyone to read it. It is so good on so many levels: activism manual, history of the years since 2000, memoir, primer on the sikh religion, self-help book. Valarie Kaur is an inspiration and she shows me that it is possible to be powerful and make change even if you have suffered from panic attacks and impostor syndrome. Maybe I should have gone to law school too. I'm 31, but I still want to be like Valarie Kaur when I grow up. I can't say enough good things about this book. I want everyone to read it. It is so good on so many levels: activism manual, history of the years since 2000, memoir, primer on the sikh religion, self-help book. Valarie Kaur is an inspiration and she shows me that it is possible to be powerful and make change even if you have suffered from panic attacks and impostor syndrome. Maybe I should have gone to law school too. I'm 31, but I still want to be like Valarie Kaur when I grow up.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Park

    A powerful read, part memoir and part guide of how to deal with hurt, trauma, anger and rage along with finding the way to seeing others who have harmed us with love, understanding and as part of our own family. Definitely a tough idea in this heated time of social justice issues taking center stage and seeing all the ugliness that still exists. It’s work that will last a lifetime.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hillary Watson

    I feel almost silly giving this book 5 stars, how could I possibly express the worth of this book with such a simple rating system? I loved every page of this book. The author has truly discovered something amazing in her process of revolutionary love. "You are a part of me that I do not yet know". For so much of my life, I have been oblivious to parts of the world that I do not yet know. I am grateful to the author for opening her world to me and introducing a new perspective. This book has bee I feel almost silly giving this book 5 stars, how could I possibly express the worth of this book with such a simple rating system? I loved every page of this book. The author has truly discovered something amazing in her process of revolutionary love. "You are a part of me that I do not yet know". For so much of my life, I have been oblivious to parts of the world that I do not yet know. I am grateful to the author for opening her world to me and introducing a new perspective. This book has been one of many that have inspired my "wonder". What a wonderful thing to wonder. And of course I have to mention the analogy of love as a sweet labor. This resonated with me and gave me hope, especially the hope that maybe one day our country can finally live up to what it's always meant to have been.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Konrad Mueller

    Read this, everybody. This book was balm for my soul. Over the last 4 years I’ve watched myself steadily turn inwards in the face of trauma and brokenness. Reading this book returned me to a part of myself that had been muted and numbed. Kaur calls us to cultivate wonder and empathy, to listen and grieve with our neighbor, to lean into love as a sweet labor. Reading this was an entirely restorative experience, and I cannot recommend it enough.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura De Palma

    Exceptional; life-giving.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    “The future is dark. But what if this darkness is not our tomb, but our womb?” I absolutely loved this book. I had no idea what or who it was about when I started it, but Valarie Kaur’s story covers so much. Sikh-American communities, 9/11, the anti-war movement, intergenerational trauma, divine rage, hate violence and state violence, self-doubt and love for self, naming white supremacy, reimagining the criminal justice system, healing from sexual assault, the injustice of Guantanamo Bay, the rol “The future is dark. But what if this darkness is not our tomb, but our womb?” I absolutely loved this book. I had no idea what or who it was about when I started it, but Valarie Kaur’s story covers so much. Sikh-American communities, 9/11, the anti-war movement, intergenerational trauma, divine rage, hate violence and state violence, self-doubt and love for self, naming white supremacy, reimagining the criminal justice system, healing from sexual assault, the injustice of Guantanamo Bay, the role of faith traditions in social justice movements, connecting with your body, building solidarity, gun violence and the Oak Creek shooting, understanding the circle of listening, breathing through labor. There are hundreds of truths in this book that I would like to incorporate into my own life. And while I wish I took better notes, I needed this message so desperately today that I just couldn’t stop. I will definitely read this again, with a pen and paper for sure. But here is one quote that gives me hope and helps me feel grounded: “If we take a linear view of history, then we are sliding backward. But if we see the story of America as one long labor, then we have a different view. Progress during birthing labor is cyclical, not linear. It is a series of expansions and contractions and each turn through the cycle brings us closer to what is being born. I see this pattern through US history. .... The labor is ongoing, the injustice relentless. But each time people organized, each turn through the cycle, opened a little more space for equality and justice. It also created ancestral memory. We carry the memory of movements that came before us. Like the body in labor, we have gained more embodied knowledge about what to do when the crises come, even when the crises are unprecedented. We can still turn to the wisdom of our ancestors for how to labor, to wonder, to grieve, to fight, to rage, to listen, to reimagine, to breathe, and to push, and to find the bravery we need for transition. It is our task to innovate and apply these practices in the new reality we find ourselves in.” The wisdom in this book is astounding, and it gives me hope and determination to build patterns in my own life for sustainable activism and revolutionary love.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Essential reading. What do I say? The country is a mess. But some of us know we have to be part of the healing. If this sounds like you, read this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Mueller

    Certain, few books have the power of returning me to myself and this was one of them. A powerful, practically memoir reminding me that rage and joy, wonder and doubt can all live side by side on the journey of love. I couldn’t recommend this book more!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Butler

    Thank you to Gillian for recommending this. It was a wonderful and amazing book and I'm telling all my friends about it. She has figured out a lot of pieces about healing from trauma, building networks for the long haul, and loving our opponents as we change the world. Thank you to Gillian for recommending this. It was a wonderful and amazing book and I'm telling all my friends about it. She has figured out a lot of pieces about healing from trauma, building networks for the long haul, and loving our opponents as we change the world.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    Valarie Kaur’s ‘See No Stranger’ is a fascinating, life affirming, poetically written memoir and call to action for us all. She is a Sikh American woman that has devoted her life to care and action as an activist, civil rights lawyer, and filmmaker. Kaur’s ethos is to “see no stranger” and to wonder about everyone, showing them compassion, even if their words and/or actions are filled with hate. Hatred often comes from a place of pain or loss. She details the hate speech and violent actions suff Valarie Kaur’s ‘See No Stranger’ is a fascinating, life affirming, poetically written memoir and call to action for us all. She is a Sikh American woman that has devoted her life to care and action as an activist, civil rights lawyer, and filmmaker. Kaur’s ethos is to “see no stranger” and to wonder about everyone, showing them compassion, even if their words and/or actions are filled with hate. Hatred often comes from a place of pain or loss. She details the hate speech and violent actions suffered by so many due to skyrocketing Islamophobia and bigotry in the US following the 9/11 attacks. Kaur recounted stunning acts of forgiveness by individuals and a focus on building community following brutal hate crimes. Kaur uses birth as a metaphor for activists and encourages them to push and breathe and repeat the process. This will give us endurance in activism. My one complaint is that the book seemed a little longer than it needed to be and some of the chapters were a bit meandering. The audiobook was wonderful as Kaur sings the Sikh devotional poems that are interspersed throughout the text. Valarie Kaur’s openness, vulnerability, and strength are absolutely inspiring and I will try harder to embody these characteristics in my own life. Thank you NetGalley and One World/Random House Publishing Group for providing this ARC.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Gardner

    I am a person who leads with my head; I find comfort in the intellectual and academic realms of the struggle for justice. To a fault. But in See No Stranger, Valarie Kaur cuts straight to the heart and the body – specifically, the womb – as the foundation for her framework of revolutionary love as the sword and the shield needed to stay in the work of fighting for a better world. Through her deeply honest and beautiful storytelling, I found myself letting go of what I was thinking and effortless I am a person who leads with my head; I find comfort in the intellectual and academic realms of the struggle for justice. To a fault. But in See No Stranger, Valarie Kaur cuts straight to the heart and the body – specifically, the womb – as the foundation for her framework of revolutionary love as the sword and the shield needed to stay in the work of fighting for a better world. Through her deeply honest and beautiful storytelling, I found myself letting go of what I was thinking and effortlessly tuning into my breath and my feelings. I felt a quiet tear on my cheek as she described her relationship with her grandfather in his final days or her love for her son in his first days - and I breathed and pushed through the pages when she related the many battles for justice that have been a part of her journey, from healing and reckoning in the wake of the murder of six Sikh men and women in 2012 at the Oak Creek gurdwara to the fight for police and prison accountability in New Haven. From chapter to chapter, I felt like I was on the journey with her, watching from afar. Building inspiration along the way. Kaur shares about the Sikh concept of chardi kala, which she explains is translated as “relentless optimism,” a central aspect of Sikh faith. She deepens our understanding by describing it as “a state of joyfulness inside the struggle – an energy that keeps us in motion, a breathing that keeps us laboring, even inside the pain of labor… Sometimes we receive the gift of our labor. Sometimes we do not. But it does not matter. Because when we labor in love, labor is not only a means but an end in itself.” Labor in love. This, for me, was probably the most powerful gift I took away from this cornucopia of spiritual, emotional, and practical wisdom in our struggle for justice. As a teacher and school leader, I have continually struggled to achieve a balance between the energy I give to teaching and the space I hold for self and wellness. But these forces do not have to be in opposition. There can be integration. This is what it means to labor in love. This current moment weights heavily on our shoulders. At any moment, it feels like I could crumple and surrender. But the idea of laboring in love gives strength and hope. Kaur poses the question, “Is this the darkness of the tomb or the darkness of the womb?” I don’t think we know yet. But See No Stranger is like a bright star that illuminates the direction I believe we want to walk in.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Content Sabina

    I wrote her a love letter on my medium page - Sabina Writes. She’s incredible. This manifesto is beautiful and it makes me proud to be Punjabi. To think of love as an act of defiance in times of abject hate reclaims the value and healing that is so desperate to be stolen. What can they do if you choose not to hate in return, but instead wonder about them? Not just telling, Valarie shows how this is possible and provides examples of her own life. I’ve admired her for years, and now I will forever I wrote her a love letter on my medium page - Sabina Writes. She’s incredible. This manifesto is beautiful and it makes me proud to be Punjabi. To think of love as an act of defiance in times of abject hate reclaims the value and healing that is so desperate to be stolen. What can they do if you choose not to hate in return, but instead wonder about them? Not just telling, Valarie shows how this is possible and provides examples of her own life. I’ve admired her for years, and now I will forever.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Christian

    There is a reason I chose “See No Stranger” as my first book of the new year: It would offer a challenge that I did not think I was, nor am, ready for but one I desperately need. I knew that it would be a challenge; but that it would offer insight, and tips, and hope for living in a world wracked by social violence, emotional violence, and physical violence. The fact that I finished this book days after an attempted coup, instigated by a man who perpetuates every vile, racist, bigotted, and hate There is a reason I chose “See No Stranger” as my first book of the new year: It would offer a challenge that I did not think I was, nor am, ready for but one I desperately need. I knew that it would be a challenge; but that it would offer insight, and tips, and hope for living in a world wracked by social violence, emotional violence, and physical violence. The fact that I finished this book days after an attempted coup, instigated by a man who perpetuates every vile, racist, bigotted, and hateful oppression I oppose stretches me and continually opens my own awareness to the desperate thirst which we have for true justice in this country; in this world. Reading through the stories of those harmed and killed by the hateful systems here in the United States had me in tears nearly as often as Valarie Kaur’s encouragement did as she imagines and re-imagines a future for all that does not include hate. I did not think that I could go back and forth from tears of sadness for those beaten, murderd, and oppressed by a racist, white supremacist system and tears of hope from the stories and words of those continuing to persevere. I did not expect that by the end of the book I could muster even the slightest bit of empathy for anyone perpetuating violence; for anyone whose actions are intended to bring pain and death to those whom they view as subhuman. While I am not now ready to love those intentionally engaging in violence, I believe that Mrs. Kaur has lit a fire within me to try. While I am not ready to love white supremacists as they continue to spread violence and hatred for some perceived wrong, I am a little closer every moment. I want to be a man who has the strength to love those who wrong our world with their hatred; I want to be a man who has the peace to love those who wrong our world with their vitriol, and I think that this memoir is the first step toward that. It offers challenge, and humanization. It offers love, and hope, and a deep call to justice which we can only achieve together as we stand against systems designed and intended to hurt, to break, and to divide. I cannot more highly recommend this book as both critique of our world, and deep seated prophetic call to action to make our world a better, more loving place.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dana DesJardins

    Famous for asking if the darkness under the Trump administration was that of the tomb or the womb, Valarie Kaur anchors her activism in the Sikh faith and daily acts of kindness like deep listening. "In any given moment, each of us has a role in the labor of revolutionary love." Kaur created a healing approach to advocacy through personal pain and immense witness. She is equally adept at showing up with a megaphone or a legal precedent, having prosecuted a case at Guantanamo, pioneered policing Famous for asking if the darkness under the Trump administration was that of the tomb or the womb, Valarie Kaur anchors her activism in the Sikh faith and daily acts of kindness like deep listening. "In any given moment, each of us has a role in the labor of revolutionary love." Kaur created a healing approach to advocacy through personal pain and immense witness. She is equally adept at showing up with a megaphone or a legal precedent, having prosecuted a case at Guantanamo, pioneered policing and carceral reform, and made films documenting both victims and perpetrators of hate crimes. Yet she brings love and joy to the struggle, asserting, "Loving ourselves is frontline social justice work." Her chapter titles outline her imperatives: "Wonder, Grieve, Fight, Rage," etc., reminding us that in any birth process, first we have to breathe, and then we push. About a mass shooting of worshippers, she writes damningly, "After Oak Creek in 2012, our nation could have named white nationalist violence a national and global threat and poured resources into fighting to protect our communities. We could have held tech companies accountable for the rapid spread of hate and misinformation on social media platforms. We could have passed strong laws that prohibited racial profiling and created task forces ..." Reading this one day after insurrectionists breached the Capitol with Confederate flags, it is hard to remain hopeful. Nonetheless, Kaur believes we can "reimagine the institutions of power that [order] the world." She concludes, "If we do this right, [our children] will inherit not our fear but bravery born of joy."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    The writing of Valerie Kaufman is very convincing. Despite all of the negativity in her life-the racial slurs and the bullying-she had a loving family as a child in Clovis, California. Especially important was her Grandfather who taught her to persevere with friends and strangers. Her life is an uplifting story with many examples of the revolutionary love that she advocates. At times a little esoteric, but mostly practical and down-to-earth, her book creates a philosophy of allowing love for all The writing of Valerie Kaufman is very convincing. Despite all of the negativity in her life-the racial slurs and the bullying-she had a loving family as a child in Clovis, California. Especially important was her Grandfather who taught her to persevere with friends and strangers. Her life is an uplifting story with many examples of the revolutionary love that she advocates. At times a little esoteric, but mostly practical and down-to-earth, her book creates a philosophy of allowing love for all people. The skeptic in me just cannot do that. I certainly appreciate receiving this ARC from One World books and Goodreads.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Greene

    WOW. WOW. WOW. I am blown away by this memoir full of both uplifting and tragic stories, as well as challenging and inspirational messages. The magic for me is the reminder of the beauty, resiliency, strength, courage, and passion of the human spirit told so authentically and vulnerably. Plus, an introduction to the Sikh religion so lovely that I can't wait to continue to learn more and glean from their wisdom. This will remain on my bedside for years. A MUST READ and MUST SHARE book. WOW. WOW. WOW. I am blown away by this memoir full of both uplifting and tragic stories, as well as challenging and inspirational messages. The magic for me is the reminder of the beauty, resiliency, strength, courage, and passion of the human spirit told so authentically and vulnerably. Plus, an introduction to the Sikh religion so lovely that I can't wait to continue to learn more and glean from their wisdom. This will remain on my bedside for years. A MUST READ and MUST SHARE book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    "All that you touch you Change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change. —Octavia E. Butler" This intensely personal memoir is breathtakingly inspirational. Kaur has lived and loved through many of the worst experiences possible, and yet she continues to push for wonder, to breathe in joy, to listen and rage for grief. Her lens, both literal and figurative, provides an important perspective on the work that we need to do together in America. There is work to be done pers "All that you touch you Change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change. —Octavia E. Butler" This intensely personal memoir is breathtakingly inspirational. Kaur has lived and loved through many of the worst experiences possible, and yet she continues to push for wonder, to breathe in joy, to listen and rage for grief. Her lens, both literal and figurative, provides an important perspective on the work that we need to do together in America. There is work to be done personally and socially and economically and it will require all of us learning the skills of revolutionary love to learn to love ourselves and one another.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Leonard

    This is an amazing read. From the margins, Valarie has insights than many of us simply don't have access to. The book is an honest and open story of what it means to break as human being and what it might take to reconnect with ourselves, our community and even our opponents. This is a must read - particularly in the times we find ourselves living in right now. This is an amazing read. From the margins, Valarie has insights than many of us simply don't have access to. The book is an honest and open story of what it means to break as human being and what it might take to reconnect with ourselves, our community and even our opponents. This is a must read - particularly in the times we find ourselves living in right now.

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