Revolutionary love is the call of our times. 

“If you cringe when people say love is the answer — I do too. I’m a lawyer.”

Valarie Kaur closes the TEDWomen conference with a blockbuster talk about the revolutionary power of love, the “sweet labor” of actively working to make the world better, to hear each others’ stories, to help us see no one as a stranger. This struggle became personal to her when she gave birth to a son “in a time white nationalists call their great awakening, when far right-wing movements are on the rise around the globe, when hate crimes against Muslims and Sikhs are the highest they have been since 9/11. My son is growing up a little brown boy in a nation more dangerous for him than the one I was given. I will not be able to protect him when others see his body as a terrorist.

How can we begin to live in this world, how can we find the strength to make change? Do like the midwife says: Breathe. Then … push.

Is this darkness the darkness of the tomb
— or of the womb?

The question went viral and 30 million people joined us to watch and wonder about a nation waiting to be born.

One year later, the question still burns bright. In the last year, we have lost so much — in hate crimes and mass shootings, detentions and deportations, bans and border walls, assaults on the free press and the courts, and policies that provoke violence abroad and at home. 

In the darkest moments of the year, I have tasted ash in my mouth.

Yet at the same time, we have seen millions of people rising up in the streets and online to march, protest, and organize on a scale we’ve never before seen. Together we are laboring with communities in the fire, creating pockets of revolutionary love in our cities, classrooms, homes, and in the small venues of our lives.

There are times it feels like we are birthing a new future. Labor requires pain – and love.