Revolutionary Love in Public Discourse

We shared your love and solidarity in Christchurch

One year ago, in the aftermath of the mass shootings inside mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, we partnered with Auburn Seminary’s digital platform Groundswell Movement and collected more than 13,000 messages expressing our shared grief and moral outrage. Thousands of people in the United States and around the world joined together and pledged to stand up for each other and to call out hate in all its forms. This is the story of what happened next.

Dear Friends,

My name is Amy Olrick, and I work with Valarie Kaur and our team at the Revolutionary Love Project. I also live in New Zealand, and today we remember one of the darkest days in this country’s history.

On March 15, 2019, during Friday prayers, a white supremacist gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch. He killed 51 people and injured 49 more. In the wake of the tragedy, thousands of you sent in messages, prayers, and letters of love and solidarity for the Muslim community.

A few months after the shooting, Mustafa Farouk, the president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, invited us to a meeting of the Waikato Muslim Association in Hamilton, New Zealand. We compiled the messages into a book, and one Sunday night, I was welcomed into a room crowded with people and invited to speak. I read curiosity on people’s faces, along with understandable wariness. As an American, my presence there was certainly a reminder of the exported hate that had fueled the recent violence.

I told the community members that I was there on behalf of all of us, then I explained our letter project and began reading our collective pledge and some of your personal messages out loud:

To the Muslim families of New Zealand:

We mourn with you in the aftermath of this horrific white supremacist mass shooting and act of terrorism. You are not alone. We stand with you. We weep with you. We will not forget your loved ones. In their name, we pledge to rise up against white supremacy — in our institutions, on our streets, online, in our homes, and in our own hearts.

I mourn and grieve the losses and horrendous tragedy and join you in solidarity to rise up against all forms of hatred and white supremacy.
— Jennifer

An attack on any one of us is an attack on all of us. My deepest sympathies to the affected families & the country of New Zealand.
— Justine

In solidarity of compassion and grief at this time. Offering my commitment to peace making and nonviolence as core community values.
 Tony

As a minority person in America, every day that I live is a fight against racism and white supremacy.
— LaVania

As a Jew and child of Abraham, my heart is broken at the slaughter of my cousins.
— Karen

We are with you.
 Robert

As a Christian, I believe in loving everyone because we are all God’s children. We cannot stand for hatred. Praying for all those touched by this horrible tragedy, and sending love and support.
— Hilary

An attack on one member of the human family is an attack on all. We must stand together in the face of hate and terrorism.
— Claire

From the other side of the globe, heartbroken for the hate that our national leadership foments, standing with you in grieving and solidarity.
— Nancy

I handed the book to Mustafa and closed with these words:

“On one dark day in Christchurch, a gunman blinded by hate sought to steal all of our humanity. Your community’s was a physical taking—he stole the lives of your beloveds. He sought to dehumanize the rest of us by planting seeds of fear and division so deep that he would rip us apart. He, and white supremacists like him, want us to be too scared or silent to act. He wanted us to forget that we belong to each other. That we are always stronger together.

Your community’s leadership, your love, and your steadfastness in the face of this trauma have offered us a different invitation. You have welcomed us in, and by allowing the people of the United States and the world to mourn with you, you have made us all stronger. Thank you for letting us join our heartbreak with your own. If we stand together, hate and violence will never be stronger than revolutionary love. This book is a small part of the love that so many around the world have for you. We hope you will accept as a symbol that will never stop working to create a world in which all of our children can live in peace, without fear.”

The atmosphere of the room changed as I spoke. As I read your messages out loud, I saw wonder and incredulity on people’s faces. In the eyes of the women, I saw tears that matched my own.

Mustafa accepted our book and promised to take it Christchurch and share it with the mosques and communities there. On behalf of FIANZ, he later sent us this message:

Assalamu Alaikum – May Peace be with you.

On behalf of the Muslims of New Zealand, and our national umbrella organization, The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), I wish to thank The Revolutionary Love Project organization and its volunteers and supporters for the 13,000 messages of love and solidarity for Muslim families in New Zealand that you collected and compiled into a book and handed to us almost a year ago.

As we approach the anniversary of the Christchurch shootings and as we make arrangements in major cities of New Zealand to remember the horrendous event and those who were immediately impacted, I just want to take this moment to reach out to those who stood side by side with us during the difficult moment in the immediate aftermath of the shootings. The Revolutionary Love Project organization is one we will never forget.

I want you to know that your messages of aroha are helping the victims in Christchurch with their healing process and will remain forever a reminder that there are overwhelmingly more people in this world that choose love and humanity over hate. Following the Christchurch event, our country experienced strong connectivity between all her various ethnicities and religions, going forward, it is this experience we are trying to strengthen in New Zealand and export to the rest of the world. We hope The Revolutionary Love Project will help us with this goal.

May God Almighty Grant all of you who sent those messages and the rest of us and our communities and countries safety, peace, happiness and prosperity.

Thank you. Yours sincerely,
Dr Mustafa Farouk President FIANZ

 

To all of those who wrote and expressed solidarity—your message was heard and felt, and your voice mattered. My colleagues and I are very grateful to be in this work with you.

In a time of fear and disconnection, may this story offer an example of the connection that is possible across great distances. Together we can find ways to build a world where we see no stranger, transformed by revolutionary love.

In Chardi Kala,
Amy, Valarie, and the Revolutionary Love Project Team


Join America Ferrera, Rev. William Barber, Debra Messing and more as we rise up in Revolutionary Love

Dear Friends,

Happy Valentine's Day! We just released THIS one minute video featuring some of the voices in our movement reading our Declaration of Revolutionary Love —

Click here to WATCH the video on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

We invite you to SHARE this video on social media today. You can also share why you are inspired by this declaration and how you put Revolutionary Love into practice. We are showing up on Twitter for a "Heartstorm" at 9am PT / Noon ET and throughout the day. Sample posts below! Use the hashtag #reclaimlove so that we can amplify you!

When you post, you will join a broad coalition of activists, artists, and faith leaders who are exercising their voices in this movement, including those featured in this video — America Ferrera, Rev. William Barber, Ani DiFranco, Sister Simone Campbell, Carmen Perez, Debra Messing, Parker Palmer, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Brian McLaren, Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Rev. Michael-Ray Matthews, Sally Kohn, Tem Blessed, Deepa Iyer, and more.

The video directs folks to www.reclaimlove.us — and shows people how to put love into action. We've already generated hundreds of cards and letters to some of the people in the country who most need our solidarity. If you haven't sent a card yet, click here.

Together we are reclaiming love as a force for social justice! Tag us at @revloveproject @valariekaur so that we can thank you! And may you feel surrounded by love today, in all the forms that it comes.

- Valarie, Amy, Elizabeth, Melissa, Julianna and the Fellows of the Revolutionary Love Project

 

Spread the Word!

Let's flood social media today! Use a sample post below, or write your own with the hashtag #reclaimlove. We are showing up on Twitter for a "Heartstorm" at 9am PT / Noon ET and throughout the day. Find more sample posts and images in this toolkit.

I'm so proud to join @valariekaur @AmericaFerrera @RevDrBarber & a powerful coalition of activists, artists, faith leaders rising up to #ReclaimLove as a force for justice on #ValentinesDay. Sign the declaration to join us! www.reclaimlove.us @WeAreLoveArmy @RevLoveProject

Click to Tweet

Our movement  is only as strong as our solidarity is deep. Sign the declaration & recommit to #revolutionarylove as a force for social justice. Then send a #Valentine to some of those who most need our love & solidarity right now. Info here: ReclaimLove.us #ReclaimLove 

Click to Tweet

“Love is the choice to enter into labor—for others, our opponents & ourselves. In the face of the fires of injustice, I've seen labors of love deliver us. In this era of enormous rage, #revolutionarylove is the call of our times.” @valariekaur #ReclaimLove ReclaimLove.us

Click to Tweet
 

Sample Posts for Facebook and Instagram:

Happy #ValentinesDay! I am so excited to join THIS broad coalition of artists, activists, and faith leaders who are making a declaration of Revolutionary Love. We are making a vow to ground our lives and our social justice work in the ethic of love. Here's how to join us: www.reclaimlove.us. #ReclaimLove #LoveArmy #ValentinesDay

“In the face of the fires of injustice, I have seen labors of love deliver us. Revolutionary Love is the choice to enter into labor — for others who do not look like us, for our opponents who hurt us, and for ourselves. In this era of enormous rage, when the fires are burning all around us, I believe that #revolutionarylove is the call of our times.” - Valarie Kaur www.ReclaimLove.us #ReclaimLove #LoveArmy #ValentinesDay

Today we #ReclaimLove as a force for justice! Thousands of us are sending cards of love and solidarity to children separated at the border, recently released prisoners, climate refugees and people recovering from opioid addiction. Our heartfelt words hold the power to spark real human connection — to see one another as family, honor our collective pain, and call forth our enduring strength. Want to send a revolutionary #Valentine too? Go to: www.reclaimlove.us. #ValentinesDay #RevolutionaryLove #LoveArmy

Click to share the campaign on Facebook
 

 

Above are some of the cards we are sending out today! Sending a card is a simple act, but it can mean so much to someone who is suffering. A little bit of love, in the form of a note, can spark the human connections that save us. That’s why we’re writing cards to put love into action, and we hope you will too. We have already begun to send a flood of love notes to some of the people who most need to feel our support and solidarity right now -- people impacted by mass incarceration, the opioid crisis, climate disasters, and family separation at the U.S. border with Mexico. We will collect and sort the notes and deliver them into the hands of someone who needs your solidarity. We invite you to gather with your friends, family, students, and children to write cards together. We deliver any card sent between now and March 14th.

Get all the info you need to write your card
 

 

If you are looking for a meaningful Valentine's gift for your sweetheart or friend today, please consider giving them a #Beloved200 membership — your beloved will receive special invitations and sneak previews into our work AND a beautiful postcard with original art. Make a $15 monthly donation in their name here.

Click to join the Beloved 200


#RevolutionaryLove on Rosh Hashanah

Rabbi Diane Eliot at Torah of Awakening in Berkeley chants Valarie Kaur’s TEDTalk as part of its #RoshHashanah (New Year’s) service. Rabbi Diane opens with, “It’s important to listen to our contemporary prophets, and especially our women prophets.”

We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the beauty of this holy gift!

Watch the service now >>


Michelle Alexander's Revolutionary River

Thank you to our sister Michelle Alexander for lifting up the birthing metaphor of our movement: We are a nation still waiting to be born. That means that resistance alone will not deliver us. We must be the midwives of a more just and welcoming world. Read her brilliant and inspired NYT op-ed that echoes and amplifies the call of#RevolutionaryLove:

"A new nation is struggling to be born, a multiracial, multiethnic, multifaith, egalitarian democracy in which every life and every voice truly matters."

Read the New York Times article now >>


Seattle University's Gender Justice Center

Scenes from a Revolutionary Love community board at Seattle University!

See the post >>


The hard work of becoming anti-racist

Thoughts from @emilyrvballard, image via @wildmysticwoman

"Nothing can save us from the hard work of becoming anti-racist.
___
Not yoga classes. Not thoughts and prayers. Not that-not-for-profit-is-sending-my-$25-and-that’s-good. Not shit talking Trump around the water cooler. Not respecting rap.
___
This work will force us to let go of people who no longer understand us and don’t want to understand why. It will force us to change our spending habits. It will invite us tell our children about Emmett Till and the wrong thinking that led to his murder and how no, they don’t need to fear for their young lives - not because things have changed, but because they are white and their whiteness protects them. This work will ask us to sit with them while they cry about this new knowledge. And it will ask us, after a few minutes have passed, to gently let them know that the pain they’re feeling right now is necessary so they can understand. And how it’s the tiniest fraction of the agony people of color have lived with for centuries.
___
Anything that makes us feel *good* about becoming anti-racist is performative; this shit hurts because it’s supposed to and because it needs to.
___
Revolutionary love is boundaried. It is loud and it is clear. Revolutionary love does not settle for what you’re willing to give - it tells you what it expects. Revolutionary love makes you better, but not before it tells you to grow the fuck up and heal your wounds because it’s got shit to do and it’s not waiting around for you. Revolutionary love is the tough love you think you hate and eventually realize you need.
___
It’s time for all of us to decide what we stand for. And we must remember: not deciding is a decision.