Leaders in the fight against extremism sit down with former Mayor of Charlottesville, Mike Signer, to discuss ways to combat the threat posed by white supremacy and other forms of hatred.
Overcoming Extremism: Episode 4 -- Amy Spitalnick
Amy Spitalnick is the Executive Director of Integrity First for America. Along with her colleagues, the noted lawyers Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn, she has been spearheading another lawsuit against some of the same militia groups who invaded Charlottesville, but this time it’s for monetary damages on behalf of plaintiffs who were badly injured and it's based on a set of laws that were passed to deal with the KU Klux Klan’s reign of terror. The interview explores a groundbreaking attempt to use the rule of law to stop extremism in its tracks and to force these violent forces to be held to account for their acts in a public court of law.
Overcoming Extremism: Episode 11 -- Ifeoma Ozoma
Overcoming extremism is going to require leadership from not only the public sector but from the private sector as well, and especially from tech companies. Ifeoma Ozoma is the public policy and social impact manager at Pinterest, the very popular internet platform. Pinterest has decided to do everything they can to make their platform safe for all their users. Safe from hate, safe from dangerous medical misinformation and safe from extremism. In the process, Ifeoma herself has been targeted by extremists. But that hasn’t stopped her work, or Pinterest’s. As you’ll hear, this company’s work against extremism doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes protocols, teams, follow through, and help from users.
Overcoming Extremism: Episode 10 -- Alvin Edwards and Sarah Ruger
In this episode, we turn to another set of democratic institutions: faith-based organizations and alliances. Alvin Edwards is not only a former mayor of Charlottesville; he is the pastor of Charlottesville’s largest African American church and he founded the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, which includes Charlottesville synagogue, Catholic church, and mosque. As you’ll hear him describe, the collective played a significant role in designing the community response to the alt-right invasions of 2017 and afterward. Sarah Ruger runs Free Expression programs at the Charles Koch Institute. It has been surprising to some that this podcast includes a partnership between organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, the Ford Foundation and conservative organizations like the Charles Koch Institute. She speaks about the power of alliances in working against extremism, and what brought the libertarian Koch Institute to this cause.
Overcoming Extremism: Episode 9 -- Samar Ali
Samar Ali is a Muslim-American attorney who grew up in Tennessee. She worked as a White House Fellow, where she designed counter-terrorist protocols focused on radicalization. But after she moved back to Tennessee to work for the governor, she became the target of a vicious smear campaign to frame her as a potential terrorist who would impose Sharia law and shut down the Jack Daniels distillery. All of it was obviously false. Instead of becoming a victim, she chose to engage with her attackers. And she saw an opportunity to flip the script. She founded Millions of Conversations, an organization that creates connections between marginalized and mainstream groups, through conversations that stop “othering” and create a more inclusive society.
Overcoming Extremism: Episode 8 -- Andy Berke
In 2015, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, attacked two military recruiting centers in the city, killing five people. The terrorist attack shocked the nation. In 2019, the city’s mayor, Andy Berke, announced a new “Mayor’s Council against Hate” that would include task forces working on action items in seven different specific areas, including the city's public university and the public school, the police department and the business sector. Along the way, the city has innovated in other ways, for instance, in teaching their police to build bridges to marginalized populations who could be radicalized. As a Jewish mayor of a Southern city he has also been the target of vicious attacks, but as you’ll hear in the interview, they have only strengthened his resolve to fight for democratic values.
Overcoming Extremism: Episode 7 -- Jesse Arreguin
Jesse Arreguin was a progressive activist in Berkeley California, before serving on the City Council. In 2015, he defeated seven other candidates, to become at the age of 32, the youngest mayor in Berkeley’s history. He was mayor in 2017, the year seven violent extremist events occurred in Berkeley, featuring extreme clashes between the far right and far left. The events shone a national spotlight in a city so famous for the Free Speech Movement of the 1960’s on the problem of extremism and the challenges of balancing freedom of speech with public safety. In this interview, Arreguin talks about how the city learned to handle these events and his own controversial proposals to deem anti-fascist “Antifa” activists as a gang.
It’s funny the only thing haters can do is rate it one star. You’re only showing us how useless and powerless you are in our society.
The World As It Is - Not As You Might Like To Imagine It
I too am puzzled by the barely literate comments which attempt to justify a one star rating for this excellent set of podcasts. If you don’t want to hear from a mole who burrowed inside some of the biggest, most influential and violent hate groups in America and Norway, then by all means, don’t listen. If you don’t want to hear the best and brightest ideas as to how we might overcome this malignancy on the body politic, then by all means, don’t listen to these podcasts. If you’re a white supremacist, a homophobe, a misogynist, an anti-Semite, and/or an Islamophobe then by all means PLEASE listen to these podcasts, over and over again.
Informative, well produced
Not sure why some give this a terrible rating, unless they’re from the scary groups described in the podcast. For those not living in an alternate universe of fear, hate and delusion, it’s a good podcast!