SPRING 2017 LOCAL DIALOGUE SERIES : TRANSFORMING THIS MOMENT
Protecting Civil Rights, Promoting Civic Engagement — Bridging Our Divides
While the post-election period has been a time of deep uncertainty for vulnerable communities across the U.S., it has also been a moment of intense mobilization. Concerned citizens and groups are galvanized for positive change and are rallying together to protect the rights of their neighbors. In this context, Critical Connections and the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding are launching the 'Transforming This Moment' series with two distinct tracks: Protecting Civil Rights, Promoting Civic Engagement and Bridging Our Divides. Join us in 2017 as we learn more about emerging threats to civil rights and liberties, deepen our capacity to overcome enduring racial, religious, class and culture divides, understand the ability of our institutions to protect targeted communities, and explore the transformative role we all can play during challenging times.
UPCOMING PROGRAMS IN THIS SERIES:
This event is part of our Transforming This Moment: Bridging Our Divides dialogue and speaker series.
UNDERSTANDING THE RESURGENCE OF WHITE POWER: A CONVERSATION WITH A FORMER WHITE SUPREMACIST
Tuesday, April 4th
Flywheel Arts Collective
43 Main St,
Easthampton, MA, 01027
SPEAKER: Christian Picciolini, founder of Life After Hate
With hate crimes and bias-related incidents on the rise, there is growing concern surrounding the resurgence of white supremcist groups around the country. To understand how these organizations operate, their recruitment strategies, and the factors that have contributed to their proliferation, please join us for a community conversation with Mr. Christian Picciolini, a former white supremacist and the co-founder of Life After Hate. Mr. Picciolini will also share his experience of radicalization, as well as insights about the current socio-political context.
Christian Picciolini was born and raised on the south side of Chicago in a working-class neighborhood called Blue Island, the birthplace of the American white power skinhead movement. At 14 years old, Picciolini became entrenched in the first neo-Nazi skinhead gang in the United States. From violence to weapons, Picciolini immersed himself in the racist skinhead culture at an early age and quickly became one of the movement’s most respected leaders and musical influencers.
After leaving the violent far-right hate movement he was part of during his youth, he began the painstaking process of rebuilding his life. Christian earned a degree in International Relations from DePaul University, began his own global entertainment media firm, and was appointed a member of the Chicago Grammy Rock Music Committee and board member for the Chicago Intl. Movies and Music Festival.
In 2016, Christian won an Emmy® Award for directing and producing ExitUSA's "There is life after hate" PSA, and has been nominated for four regional Emmy® Awards. He is an appointed United Nations-affiliated ambassador for iChangeNations and was honored with a National Statesman award. Christian is an associate for the USC Price 'Homegrown Violent Extremism' program and has worked as an adjunct professor at the college level. He contributed to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's and Jared Cohen's New York Times bestseller, The New Digital Age.
Most notably, in 2009 he co-founded Life After Hate, a nonprofit helping people disengage from hate and violent extremism.
In 2015, he published his memoirs, Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead.