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The People's Inauguration

10 Days to Activate Revolutionary Love


January 22–31, 2021

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Day 2

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Teaching and practice with Valarie Kaur

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Today’s teaching and guided inquiry focus on being brave with our own grief and how to grieve with others. We’ll explore how sharing grief in the face of violence and injustice builds new relationships, creates deep solidarity, and gives us information for our role in the fight for justice.
Home Practice
1. Reach out to someone you know who is carrying grief and ask them how they are doing.
Your task is simply to listen. Resist any impulse to fix, and let there be silences. If you need words, you can say, “You are grieving, but you are not grieving alone. I am here with you.” Notice what it feels like in your body as you do this.

2. In your wisdom journal, reflect on what you learned from the grieving. What information did you gain about the person you grieved with? What did you learn about yourself?


Interview and live Q&A

with Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, and Najeeba Syeed: “Grieve”

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We all carry grief—it is impossible to live in this world without it. But our darkest moments of grief can become the thread that binds us to others. Those we grieve with, those we sit with and weep with, are ultimately those we organize with and advocate for. In this session, Valarie is joined by three transformative faith leaders from diverse spiritual traditions to discuss how grief has forged some of their deepest connections in life.

Moderated by: Melissa Ann Canlas, EdD

Session Highlights:
  • How is grieving an act of love?
  • How can the practice of wonder help us to love and grieve with others, even those we do not yet know?
  • Creating rituals for our own grief
  • The importance of showing up to grieve however we are able
Compass of Revolutionary Love
Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon

Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon

Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon is a minister and advocate for communal resistance to systemic injustice through the redemptive power of love. Her response in Ferguson to the killing of Michael Brown resulted in international recognition, and her work is featured in several documentaries and publications. She was appointed to the Ferguson Commission by Governor Jay Nixon and to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the White House by President Barack Obama. Rev. Blackmon is a recipient of the NAACP Rosa Parks Award, has been included on Ebony magazine’s Power 100 list, and was named one of 15 “faith leaders to watch in 2020” by the Center for American Progress. She is the proud mother of three adult children.

Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews

Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews

Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews (he/him/his) brings over 30 years of leadership experience—as a senior pastor, grassroots leader, psalmist, and community organizer—to his work as deputy director and chief faith officer for Faith in Action. He hosts the Prophetic Resistance podcast, engaging multifaith leaders about cultivating communities of belonging and sacred resistance to injustice. Rev. Mathews is president of the Alliance of Baptists, a progressive movement for justice and healing; coeditor of Trouble the Water: A Christian Resource for the Work of Racial Justice; senior fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York; and cofounder of Sympara, a multifaith/interspiritual community of practice.

Najeeba Syeed, JD

Najeeba Syeed, JD

Najeeba Syeed, JD, is associate professor of Muslim and interreligious studies at Chicago Theological Seminary. Recognized as a leader in peace-building and social justice-based research, Professor Syeed is a two-time recipient of the John Anson Ford Award for her work with interracial gang conflicts and reducing school violence. Her work has been the subject of news reports and documentaries, and in 2017 she received the Scholar-Activist Award from Auburn Seminary. With Heidi Hadsell, she coedited Critical Perspectives on Interreligious Education: Experiments in Empathy, and her new book, Sacred Resistance: Interfaith Rituals of Faith-Based Migration Activists, is forthcoming.

Melissa Ann Canlas, EdD

Melissa Ann Canlas, EdD (Moderator)

Melissa Ann Canlas, EdD, is the director of education at the Revolutionary Love Project and a full-time faculty member in the School of Education at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Canlas’s research and teaching focus on issues of educational equity and human rights. As a lifelong educator, Dr. Canlas believes that education should be directed toward learning to love and care for one another as we build systems where every person can live in wellness and dignity.

  • gail says:

    so glad i signed up for this…thank you

  • Shan Lavell says:

    Dear Valarie, I so appreciate you, beyond words. You inspire me to carry on with brave connectedness. Much love, Shan Lavell, West Kelowna, BC, Canada

  • Liz L says:

    So much richness! Thank you so much!!

  • Alma Kristensen says:

    We are all one! What we think and do does affect ourselves and everyone and everything around us.

  • Christine Ashley says:

    Thank you for a soul-stirring evening

  • Josephine Grey says:

    beautiful. thank you. very important and timely.

  • Jostine says:

    Thank you so much for today’s sharing on Grieve. Listening in on today’s session helped me to connect deeper with grief.

    Lots to reflect on and process. One of the key takeaways I received is the permission to be okay with just sitting in silence and just BE with the person who is grieving. I’m someone who doesn’t know what to do to help someone who is grieving, mainly because I don’t know the right words to say. Hearing the words, “If you don’t know what to say, just don’t say anything. It’s okay to sit in silence and just BE,” is powerful.

    For all of us who are grieving right now, I send my love and prayers.

  • John White says:

    This was so wonder full. Working as a chaplain in the 90’s taught me so much about love and the deep blessing and honor it is to be invited into the sacred space of grief. Valarie, you continue to amaze me… Thank you, and every guest today. Heroes in the work of transforming the world through the work of transforming minds and hearts towards love. 🙏🏼😊

  • Trish says:

    Only tonight did it start to feel like a stay with and join push…. vs be present now with…..
    Maybe because sharing genuine grief too hard to move so quickly to bubbly stay around….
    Not sure

  • Jill English says:

    I am hoping there is a way that we can have “notes” somehow on some of the major points of each speaker this evening. I could not process and take notes fast enough but would like to have something to go back to for reflection.

  • Joan Baustian says:

    We are called today to grieve the loss of several…to have one funeral after the other…and we cannot grieve together. We are a Catholic group of Sisters. Grieve with us.

  • Sharon Fisher says:

    I am deeply drawn to being present for collective grieving so that we can also be present for collective resilience.

  • Eileen says:


  • Kelly Pennington says:

    Holding hands

  • Lauri says:


  • Sharon Fisher says:

    opened widely

  • star livingstone says:

    dammed up

  • star livingstone says:

    When my mother died, a suicide in 1978, I understood and lamented the absence of the old tradition of bereaved people to wear mourning for a year. There was no place to put my grief after the first week of loss.

  • Caryl says:

    Why can’t I see this from the beginning?

  • marijo says:

    I am interested in learning more about actual ritual practices within a community context. Can you share examples of this at some time during our 10 days together? I know Joanna Macy has shared much in this regard, also, Maladoma Some.

  • Laurie says:

    I loved the talk and gained so much insight and tools about grieving. As a Jewish person I would have been happy if Jewish grief rituals were mentioned as they are so close to what Valerie was describing as holy grief work. There is also tremendous anti semitism and many of those stories are also not told.

    • Posi says:

      I agree Laurire, thank you for expressing our grief rituals….we, as Jews have our ritual of shiva to sit with our grief and to have our loved ones around us to grieve with us.

  • Kay says:

    Thank you Valerie for remembering who we need to be for our brothers and sister! I love your delivery a d have viewed your you tube talks. You are a gift!

  • Sarah Gish says:

    Am I missing something? It’s 7:20pm CDT and I don’t see a livestream…

  • Calisse says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s stories about loss and grief (why does that expression always seem to come forth switched around. . . “Grief and Loss”, when usually, doesn’t the loss happen first? Anyway, I too am grieving not being able to click into the Q&A on Grief. Good Grief! 😉

  • Debra says:

    I can’t get access to the interview. The player goes for 4 seconds and stops. I’m in PST zone and it’s now just after 5pm. any one else having problem like this?

    • Calisse says:

      Me too, Debra. . . I double-checked my time-zone accuracy with the “Time-Zone Checker” and I certainly am correct, here in Aurora, CO, that it’s currently 6:18, and the interview should be 18 minutes in. . .

  • Veronica says:

    Thank You

  • Julie says:

    Thank you for the teachings
    So moved
    I am not sure how to enter the live streem, I just cried thank you, need too..

  • Thuy says:

    Thanks for sharing your powerful story, Valerie. Deep breaths in this grieving process, yet I love the idea of knowing one another and loving through knowing someone else’s grief. Actually, I left a FB message for someone who was in grief. After sending that message, I felt more connected and could feel his pain by imagining my own. Once again, deep breaths. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the live interview and Q&A loaded as it only shows 5 sec. on the video.

  • MARK S EKDAHL says:

    Thank you. I grieve the repeated public humiliations I experienced in public school. Deep wounds.

  • Tammy says:

    I am grieving the loss of my son. How do I share my grief with others when the ones I love are isolating during the pandemic?

  • Nicole says:

    Thank you for this. I woke with grief today. There is the feeling of wanting to avoid it and wanting to fix it in another . I feel the importance of this step being willing to sit with grief in our journey.

  • Monique Dion says:

    I believe that in these times turbulent time we are being challenged to become united as one. The energy we breathe is universal. Can we make that leap together? I feel deeply moved and touched to witness this revolutionary love movement from Quebec, Canada.

  • Ariann says:

    This is the 3rd day I have been unable to access the blog or the videos. I have used different browsers and refreshing.

    • Janet says:

      I am struggling with this as well. The only work around that I have found is to register everyday, which is frustrating!

  • Brenda says:

    Beautiful, thank you; this is much needed to help promote empathy.

  • A Niagara says:

    Just very human, connected, beautiful.

    On another note, I imagined that Jews were left out because we are hidden and less directly targeted unless we wear a kippah or tallis, wig, etc. But even then, we are white and maybe more “accepted”. LGBTQ 2+ can also be white and hidden but still will have more discrimination in everyday life possibly. I was curious and thought these things, but also still felt a bit curious and uncomfortable about what the speaker and Sounds True think about jews.


    I welcome my grief because it will lead to action, and that makes me smile through my tears. I am ready to heal, be in community with others and to do the work of reconciliation.

  • Linda says:

    I opened up the floodgates and sobbed and sobbed today. I have always had a difficult time crying, being vulnerable, letting go. I have often skipped grief and jumped into rage and anger. This was a beautiful, safe, loving, warm, kind, and inclusive experience. Thank you Valarie. Despite the zoom fatigue, I felt as if you were talking directly to me. My heart opens up. I grieve with you and so many oppressed peoples of our world.

  • Sue K. says:

    Thank you, Valarie, for your inspiration, your sharing of your own grief, and for encouraging us to find our own grief in sharing with others. THANK YOU.

  • Bryan says:

    The presentation on grief exposed some guilt I had buried. In the past when someone died, perhaps aided by a lifestyle choice, I reacted
    with: “Well, we knew that was gonna happen.” That certainly is not sharing grief. As I have matured, I find myself better able to relate to those left behind. This has made me a more loving and happy person.

  • Claudia says:

    my heart breaks open ….

  • Len Novak says:

    As I took in this incredible presentation, I recalled Sukie Colgrave’s “By Way Of Pain”. and a weekend in front of a fire as I read and felt many feelings. My experiences of intense grief and pain have typically been dealt with solo. That Valarie expanded my awareness, validating and encouraging feelings as I wept. was a rare and extremely powerful experience. I am very grateful for her presence and to all involved in this wonderful endeavor.

  • Hana says:

    I wish it would be broader. You just talk to our hearts. Grief is not just in the US. I am from Israel. We all need to learn to grieve together.

  • Susan L says:

    All I can say at this moment from the deepest place in my being is THANK YOU

  • elisa says:

    Your story is so sad, such loss. And you are so right that it was not widely covered, and I heard nothing but vague rumors or statements that there has been abuse against Muslims. Nothing about Siks. The personal story brings heart to heart, human to human, cracks the silence. Thank you for sharing.

  • Sarah says:

    i am sitting with my reaction to last night. is there curiosity about me, a white woman? when reference is made to indigenous wisdom and elders is there a place to remember that we ALL have to work to remember those ancient ways of our own people as we respect the ancient ways of others?
    am i truly welcome, with respect, in this circle?

    • Judy Govatos says:

      Oh, Sarah, yes, you are welcome. I am thinking for my Irish relatives who came here to escape the potato famine in the late 1800’s. There were signs up in store fronts. No Blacks, No Irish.
      We really are all in this together. Please know your are respected and welcome. Grief is an equal opportunity practice. Come one. Come all.

      • Tricia says:

        Thank you for speaking the inclusivity. I too am white, a woman of Irish decent, also dealing with pain rooted in the consequences of a youth culture as a 71 year old with lots of energy yet to serve. All have been traumatized in some way. If we allow ourselves to go there, we can offer compassion born from the grief experienced. The source may differ, but the pain isn’t. Feels wonderful to feel safe to share. Gracias.

    • VALARI J TAYLOR says:

      As an African American I don’t have my ancestral history, it is something I will have to explore by going to African someday to learn of my history. All I know is that I had a grandfather or a grandmother that was brought here hundreds of years ago of whom I am apart of. I applaude those that know their history because I do not.

  • Jen Brennan says:

    I am with you Valerie. Thank you for your teaching.

  • Honey Joy Massey says:

    There was no mention of the increase of acts of anti-Semitism. This bothered me very much as the largest rise in hate crimes has been directed toward Jews.. I could not accept the fact that many ethic, religious , groups were mentioned but nothing about Jews.

    • Mogur says:

      I hear your issue. For my own edification is the “largest rise in hate crimes…is directed toward Jews” a world wide phenomenon? I agree this may be true in parts of the US but I did not know that it is true in all the world.
      Please forgive me for not knowing.

    • Shan Lavell says:

      Yes for Jews !
      And Yes for children in government funded care. Not counted. High mortality rates and poor health outcomes in adulthood, if they get that far. As Valarie said “how do we solve a problem we are not even measuring?”. My solution is attachment economics. Attachment or relationship is the remedy, grieving together, and creating the conditions for human growth in securely attached families, that will fuel a new global economy. Thank you to Tami and Valarie for offering this free of charge! Seeding a love revolution that is also an economic revolution in the making.

  • kris randal says:

    I can not view or hear any of the speakers and their presentations, I can only do so with Valarie Kaur’s introduction videos. How do I access them? I also see a recording of the Q & A of speakers that begins at 5 pm PST, but no way to access each speaker of the day. The same thing happened on the first day/yesterday. Please provide some guidance.

    Thank you,

    Kris Randal

  • CD says:

    Is there a way to share this Day 2 talk with a larger audience (not signed up)? It is so valuable! I am a white cis bisexual woman, but I have (thankfully distant in lineage and space) family members who still don’t even believe that white supremacy exists. It agrieves me deeply! I don’t know that I can make a difference, yet I continue to try one conversation at a time, as long as I can remain grounded and not fall into anger, despair, or the very discounting vitriole that I hear around me. Thank you in advance for speaking to this…

    • james says:

      CD -You are doing the hard work. That of confronting those in your close circle and attempting to show them a different way of seeing. I applaud your courage as you do this work. One idea to help them see is through stories. I suggest you share with them some of the stories that others have shared so they can ‘see:” others as you have come to experience them.. James

  • Bonny Hopwood says:

    Maybe it’s just my ineptitude with technology but so far I can only see bios on the speakers. Is there actual content? How do I access the content? Looking forward to the content but I sure can’t find it. Help!?

    • Jan says:

      It doesn’t start until 8pm. Maybe they will send out another email.

      • Sherri says:

        I was able to access the teaching video at the top of the page when I pressed the white, triangular play button in the middle of the box where it says “Grieve.” The interview is the second video on the page that goes live at 5pm Pacific.

    • Sherri says:

      I clicked on the play arrow on the video and listened to Valarie’s teaching. It’s beautiful.

    • Lani says:

      Me too. The play button doesn’t lead to the Q&A and I’m very interested.

  • >

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