Joy is an Act of Moral Resistance — Your Holiday Treasure Chest

The government shuts down upon threats of a wall. A child dies in the custody of U.S. officials at the border. The President orders sudden troop withdrawals that provoke global instability. All this took place in the last week alone.

Some may see the holidays as a time to retreat from the cascade of crises facing our nation and world.

We choose to see the holidays not as a time to try to escape but as an opportunity to ground ourselves in joy. Joy returns us to everything that is good and beautiful and worth fighting for. Joy gives us the energy to continue our labors to make a viable life and more just world. Joy comes when we draw our attention to the present moment — a child’s laughter, a neighbor’s cookies, a lit candle. In a time such as this, joy is an act of moral resistance.

We believe that it is always possible to find joy, even in the midst of grief and outrage, when we come together in community. Just a few days ago, our friend Rev. Katharine Henderson delivered the messages of love and support that many of you sent to the families of the Tree of Life Synagogue in the wake of the mass shooting by a white supremacist. We had collected these letters alongside our partners Auburn Seminary, the Sikh Coalition, and the Sikh community of Pittsburgh. They were delivered at an interfaith gathering in the form of a book that you can read here. Communities like these show us that it is possible to claim life and joy, even in the face of hate.

So this week, we send you a song, a sermon, and a piece of news that invite you to open your hearts to allthe demands of love — grief, outrage, and joy. May these sources provide nourishment during this holiday. We will be here on the other side to continue the labor with you. #BreatheAndPush

– Amy, Melissa, Julianna, Elizabeth, and the Revolutionary Love Team


Watch our beloved sister and partner Ari Afsar perform “We Won’t Sleep” with her Hamilton co-star at TEDx. The song is an anthem of Revolutionary Love — a full-throated call to joy and resilience in the movement. You can also catch a glimpse of the song at the Chicago Women’s March here.

“We won’t sleep. They’ll try to get us. We goin’ reach. We’ll reach out for love. We won’t sleep. Not till it’s over. Even with the blurry eyes, baby we won’t compromise.”



WATCH/READ/LISTEN to the most powerful sermon we have heard this year by our prophetic sister Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR Los Angeles:

“These are trying times, but we must not let exhaustion or cynicism dull our senses. Our history has taught us: either you work to dismantle oppressive systems, or your inaction becomes the mortar that sustains them. Together we must build America anew: fierce, fair, and full of promise, equipped to hold us in all our diversity, complexity and beauty.”


This article in The Nation shares fierce wisdom from our friend and sister Rev. Traci Blackmon who joined more than 300 faith and moral leaders at the border last week to mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rev. Blackmon tells Jesus’ story as a way to bear witness to cruelty at the border and declares “love knows no borders.”

“In an extraordinarily powerful speech near the end of the two-and-a-half-hour service, the Rev. Traci Blackmon, a St. Louis–based minister with the United Church of Christ and a steering-committee member on the Poor People’s Campaign, talked of how the “brown-skinned Jesus, seeking refuge in a foreign land,” would not have been admitted into Trump’s America. How ‘his family might have been greeted with tear gas or rubber bullets, or, worse yet, he might have been taken from his mother’s arms.’ Blackmon told the gathering that they were ‘compelled to show up and guide this country to our moral selves. When laws are co-opted for greed and political gain, and used as weapons of disenfranchisement, then people of faith and of moral character are compelled to resist in the interest of preserving our humanity.'”


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America Ferrera & John Paul Lederach — Your Holiday Treasure Chest

“We have all felt the long loneliness, and we have learned that the only solution is love.”

– Dorothy Day

The long loneliness. A longing for home that eludes us, for a world that is not yet but somehow still must be. Sometimes the longing can feel like a heavy burden. But what if we imagine this longing as a flame that flickers within each of us, calling us together and toward each other, even when (especially when) the world feels dark? 

Dear Friends,

This week, we draw inspiration from two people whose light in the world ignites new stories and new ways of being — actress and activist America Ferrera and celebrated peace-builder John Paul Lederach.

Listen to America Ferrera and John Paul Lederach in a conversation that stretches our imagination and helps us see social change in generational terms. 

Interviewed by the masterful Krista Tippett for her On Being podcast, America Ferrera describes her childhood spirituality as “groping in the darkness,” an approach that has served her well at this time in our nation. “We’re trying to push something new into the world,” she says. “We’re trying to bring something through that’s never been brought through, and it’s hard. And we have to continually remind ourselves that our discomfort and our grappling is not a sign of failure. It’s a sign that we’re living at the edge of our imaginations.”

John Paul Lederach then introduces us to the concept of the 200-year present. He asks, “Who was the oldest person who held you? Think of them, then calculate back to their birthdate. And then think about the youngest member of your extended family and imagine that they will live a long life… You were held and touched, and you will touch the lives, of people that cover a 200-year present.

Might the spaciousness in these ideas help us keep laboring in the dark? We invite you to listen to their full conversation and let us know what you think!

– Amy, Melissa, Julianna, Elizabeth, and the Revolutionary Love Team

P.S. Keep scrolling down for more ways to breathe and push with us this week, including standing with migrant families at the border in a week of action called “Love Knows No Borders,” happening now.



America Ferrera’s new book American Like Me is a stunning collection of stories of artists, activists, and culture-makers who reflect on life between cultures. In them, we see glimpses of the new America longing to be born — multicultural, multiracial, multifaith and rooted in a revolutionary love. 

If you have a story about growing up in America between cultures, share it on Instagram with the hashtag #americanlikeme Make sure to tag @americaferrera — she’s sending a signed copy to her 10 favorites!
More info here.

“We are the kids with no key chains, daughters carrying histories in the gaps of our teeth. We are the sons of parents who don’t speak of the past, inheritors of warrior’s blood and mad bargaining skills. We are the grandchildren of survival: legacies delivered from genocide, colonization, and enslavement. We are the slayers of ‘impossible.’ We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors’ dreams wearing the weight of their sacrifice on our backs. Our love is radical; our unstraightened hair, a tiny revolution. We are here to survive, to thrive, to live. We connect to our roots clumsily, unknowingly, unceasingly. We call ourselves ‘American’ enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all. We take fragments of what was broken, severed, or lost in history, and we create whole selves, new families, and better futures. We live as citizens of a country that does not always claim us or even see us, and yet, we continue to build, to create, and to compel it toward its promise.” — America Ferrera



This week, more than 100 faith leaders are taking part in a nonviolent direct action at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California. You can join them at the border — or at a solidarity event near you. Together we are calling for humane policies that respect the dignity of all.




We are over halfway to our goal of partnering with 200 people to become monthly donors and pledge $15/month to sustain our work. Thank you! Our donors receive a thank you gift + will be the first to learn about the work we produce before it’s released. If you haven’t yet donated, please click here to join us!


The Revolutionary Love Project envisions a world where love is a public ethic and shared practice in our lives and politics. We generate stories, tools, and thought leadership to equip people to practice the ethic of love in the fight for social justice.


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#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 >>

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.