Life After Hate

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Life After Hate
Type Non-profit
Legal status 501(c)(3)
Headquarters 917 W. Washington Blvd., Suite 212, Chicago, IL 60607 USA
Christian Picciolini,Angela King, Antony McAleer, Frankie Meeink, Sammy Rangel,& Arno Michaelis
Website https://www.lifeafterhate.org/

Life After Hate is a nonprofit organization co-founded in 2011[1] by Christian Picciolini, a former neo-Nazi in Chicago, IL.[2] Its mission is to help people leave hate groups, particularly white supremacy groups.[1] In January 2017, the Obama administration awarded the group $400,000 as part of a grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Countering Violent Extremism Task Force.[3] However, DHS advisor Katharine Gorka and other aides of President Donald Trump decided to discontinue the grant in June 2017.[4][5][6] A crowdfunding campaign established after the 2017 Charlottesville attack has raised $429,500 to go towards the organization.[7][8]

History[edit]

Angela King is a Co-Founder and the Programs Director of Life After Hate. King is an ex-white supremacist who struggled to forgive herself after living years as a neo-nazi.[9] King was raised in Southern Florida by parents she describes as racist and homophobic. King joined hate groups in her early teens after being bullied throughout school and dealing with tensions at home. She found people welcomed her aggressive and violent tendencies. After eight years of being involved with extremist groups, she was imprisoned. In 1988, she was involved of a robbery of an adult video store. After fleeing to Chicago, IL, she was arrested in and brought back to Florida to the Federal Detention Center in Miami and sentenced in 1999 for five years.[9] King was transferred from the detention center, to a county jail, on the terms she would give up information on her former gang members. During her sentence, King met a Jamaican woman who was also imprisoned, who changed her mind about white supremacy. King was released in 2001, determined to begin a new life. After finding a blog entitled, "Life After Hate", she helped co-found the organization Life After Hate with blog creator Christian Picciolini. King alongside Picciolini joined with Antony McAleer, Frankie Meeink, Sammy Rangel,& Arno Michaelis to make a non-profit outreach group.[9][10] Today she is committed to help former neo-Nazis and extremists transition from a life of hate.

Christian Picciolini is a Co-Founder of Life After Hate, and prominent member in the ex-extremist community. Originally a Chicago native, Picciolini grew up in Blue Island, Illinois.[11][12] Picciolini was first introduced to Neo-nazi groups at the age of 14.[13] The idea of being involved with a big movement appealed to him, and Picciolini later recalled how becoming a skinhead gave him an identity and purpose. Seven years later, at the age of 22, he began to question his beliefs and membership.[11] After his wife and children left him and began interacting with people in the groups supremacists hated, he decided to change his life.[11][12][13] By 2009, he co-founded Life After Hate with the mission of helping former neo-Nazis like himself.

Programs[edit]

ExitUSA[edit]

ExitUSA is an organization that specializes in disengagement of individuals who were previously involved in hate groups and reintegrating them back into society as full functioning individuals that are capable of obtaining jobs and building healthy relationships within their communities. ExitUSA continues to use social media to help the ex-radicals deny their previous beliefs. “Asked about “the Trump effect,” Picciolini said the president’s election has emboldened the white supremacist movement. Calls to ExitUSA, a program through Life After Hate, have gone up from two or three per week before the election to 15-20 per week, he said."[14][15]

Formers Anonymous[edit]

Similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, this is a 12 step self-help program created by Sammy Rangel to help people deal and move on with violent pasts and racist actions.[15]

#WeCounterHate[edit]

In partnership with Possible, a company based in Seattle, Life After Hate created a social media business to spread messages of love to combat the hateful comments often displayed. The program uses computers that specialize in detecting hateful tweets. Once detected, #WeCounterHate sends a message to the author of the hateful tweet saying that a dollar will be donated to Life After Hate for every retweet that occurs. After the message is sent, many delete the original post and other will not share it.[15]

Notable Events[edit]

Charlottesville[edit]

When Picciolini was asked for his opinion on the 2017 Charlottesville attack, he said it did not surprise him because he was aware that many extremist groups were actively growing underground. He went on to explain that most extremist do not join the group because they believe in the same ideology, it is just an excuse to act out in anger because they are searching for other human needs to be satisfied.[16]

Grant Repeal[edit]

During the Obama administration, Life After Hate was awarded a $400,000 grant to combat extremist groups. The grant was revoked by the Trump administration due to what homeland security explained as a normal review process. An individual close to the Trump administration however reported that the grant was rescinded based on twitter post made by Christian Picciolini regarding President Trump.[17]

Colin Kaepernick Donation[edit]

Colin Kaepernick donated $50,000 to Life After Hate in early January 2018.[18]

Interviewing Picciolini[edit]

In 2017, Picciolini was interviewed by The Chronicle of Higher Education. He explained his past living as a white supremacist. The discussion exemplifies how young minds, especially in college, should examine unjust/uncommon situations. Picciolini expresses that there is a fine line between visually seeing something and taking an action on what you've seen. Picciolini reassured the interviewer that it is essential to take everything into perspective before drawing a conclusion.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "About," Life After Hate. Retrieved August 15, 2017
  2. ^ Otwell, Rachel (February 27, 2017), "Ex Neo-Nazi Sheds Light On Alt-Right & 'Life After Hate'," NPR. Retrieved August 15, 2017
  3. ^ Schulberg, Jessica (August 15, 2017), "Controversial Trump Aide Katharine Gorka Helped End Funding For Group That Fights White Supremacy," Huffington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2017
  4. ^ Otterson, Joe (August 15, 2017). "Sam Bee Looks to Aid Reformed Neo-Nazi Group Life After Hate in Wake of Charlottesville". Variety.com. Retrieved August 28, 2017. 
  5. ^ Rozsa, Mathew. "Trump's Department of Homeland Security is defunding an anti-Nazi program". 
  6. ^ Nixon, Ron; Sullivan, Eileen (15 August 2017). "Revocation of Grants to Help Fight Hate Under New Scrutiny After Charlottesville". New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  7. ^ "Public Good". publicgood.com. Retrieved 2017-09-19. 
  8. ^ Pashman, Manya Brachear. "Fight against extremism for former neo-Nazi from Chicago ramps up after Trump, Charlottesville". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2017-09-19. 
  9. ^ a b c Bates, Claire (2017-08-29). "I was a neo-Nazi. Then I fell in love with a black woman". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-04-19. 
  10. ^ "Providing A Way Forward From Hate - The Story Exchange". thestoryexchange.org. Retrieved 2018-03-08. 
  11. ^ a b c "A Former Neo-Nazi Explains Why Hate Drew Him In — And How He Got Out". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-03-08. 
  12. ^ a b Davich, Jerry. "Life After Hate: Former white supremacist recalls recruiting in NWI". Post-Tribune. Retrieved 2018-03-08. 
  13. ^ a b "Recovering from Hate — NOVA Next | PBS". NOVA Next. 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2018-04-04. 
  14. ^ "Life After Hate". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2018-03-08. 
  15. ^ a b c McClure, Jewels. "No more hate". The Observer. Retrieved 2018-03-22. 
  16. ^ Nixon, Ron; Sullivan, Eileen (2017-08-15). "Revocation of Grants to Help Fight Hate Under New Scrutiny After Charlottesville". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-08. 
  17. ^ "Life After Hate co-founder says grant rescinded by Trump administration". Retrieved 2018-03-22. 
  18. ^ Thompson, Phil (August 10, 2017). "Chicago activists rally behind Colin Kaepernick". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-05-16. 
  19. ^ "A Former Neo-Nazi Lays Bare the Campus Strategy of White Supremacists". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2018-03-11. Retrieved 2018-05-01. 

External links[edit]