Founded in September 2016 by the civil-rights lawyer, filmmaker, and Sikh interfaith leader Valarie Kaur, the Revolutionary Love Project (RLP) is a volunteer-run initiative based at the University of Southern California. Committed to “fight[ing] for social justice through the ethic of love,” RLP employs “protest, music, dance, and direct action” strategies designed to combat what it describes as “hate”—most notably that of Republican President Donald Trump. Following Trump’s election victory in November 2016, RLP participated in a number of anti-Trump protests—both before and after his January 2017 inauguration. Some examples:
- In October 2016, RLP took part in a six-city tour where “visionaries” Valarie Kaur, Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Glennon Doyle Melton, and Seane Corne articulated a “message of Revolutionary Love” to persuade voters to support Democrat Hillary Clinton over Mr. Trump in the upcoming election.
- In the days just prior to the November 2016 election, RLP conducted a Get Out the Vote Campaign that generated 45,000+ calls to Muslim American homes in the all-important swing state of Florida, exhorting eligible Islamic voters—who traditionally support Democrats by overwhelming margins—to go to the polls.
- On February 14, 2017, RLP joined forces with such entities as One Billion Rising, the Women’s March on Washington, Love Army, and Moms Rising, to help lead a “Day of Action” that generated thousands of events across the U.S. and around the world. RLP members, for their part, contacted lawmakers with hundreds of phone calls and “revolutionary love letters.”
- On March 8, 2017, RLP participated in an International Women’s Day demonstration intended to protest President Trump’s alleged misogyny by “tak[ing] the day off from paid and unpaid labor, avoid[ing] shopping for one day (with the exception for small, women- and minority-owned businesses), and/or wear[ing] red in solidarity.”
In the early weeks of the Trump administration, RLP denounced the new president for having: (a) “signed a cascade of executive orders that threaten the safety and lives of hundreds of thousands of people—refugees, immigrants, Muslims, the indigenous, Black people, and all working people in need of healthcare”; (b) closed our borders to all refugees and also immigrants from seven primarily Muslim countries—a de facto Muslim ban”; (c) “directed our government to construct a wall on our southern border, punish sanctuary cities, facilitate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and construct pipelines across the sacred lands of indigenous people”; (d) “escalated a rape culture and threatened the rights of women on every front”; and (e) “signaled [that] there is more to come, including curtailing LGBTQI rights and rolling back voting rights.” In an effort to “change [the] culture of normalization that makes these policies possible,” RLP exhorts “people of faith and moral conscience” to “rise up in an army of moral resistance rooted in love.”
In an effort to undermine President Trump’s ability to advance his political agenda, RLP has circulated an online petition aimed at drawing attention to the plight of “the most vulnerable [people] within marginalized communities” who “are in harm’s way” because of Trump’s purportedly destructive policies. Among the notables who have signed their names to the petition’s pledge “to engage in moral resistance throughout this administration” are Kimberle Crenshaw, Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Van Jones, Rev. Otis Moss III, Melissa Harris-Perry, Linda Sarsour, and Opal Tometi.
In February 2017, RLP distributed a script titled “#NoBanNoWallNoRaids Talking Points for Congressional Townhalls,” to help activists denounce President Trump’s immigration policies at town halls and other public appearances which were being held that month by Republican Members of Congress. Among the talking points in this script were the following:
- “I am particularly concerned about the Administration’s efforts to target and criminalize immigrants, refugees, and people entering our country from Muslim-majority countries.”
- “Trump’s executive orders to deport undocumented immigrants, to punish so-called sanctuary cities for defending the Constitution, to ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries, and to shut the door on refugees all have one thing in common: they are rooted in hate, bigotry and a desire to instill fear rather than promote unity. We call this xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia.”
- “Each of these executive orders is based on the false premise that immigrants pose a threat to us. They are hateful attacks not only on those newly arriving or seeking entry into the U.S. but to those of us, including U.S. citizens, who have raised families here, paid taxes for years and who have made enormous sacrifices and contributions.”
- “The policy changes called for in the executive orders are extremist, costly and ineffective, and they will not make us safer. They have wreaked havoc and confusion in airports across the globe and at home, in our schools, workplaces, and backyards.”
- “We are witnessing a massive militarization of our deportation force, and a supersizing of interior and border patrol agents. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids are occurring in homes and workplaces, and the climate of fear as a result of rumored and reported raids are paralyzing our communities.”
- “Parents are afraid to send their children to school. Pregnant mothers are afraid to get basic nutrition assistance and prenatal care. We are separating families, hurting our economy and targeting the most vulnerable, without accountability from our federal government that is causing this devastation.”
Moreover, the RLP document instructed activists to demand that their congressional representatives “forcefully condemn” the Trump agenda. It also provided contact information for activists from two immigrant-rights organizations heavily financed by billionaire George Soros—the National Immigration Law Center and the Center for Social Inclusion.