Christian Picciolini is an award winning television producer, peace advocate, and a former violent extremist. After leaving the Neo Nazi skinhead movement that he helped to create in Chicago in the 1980s and 90s, he began the painstaking process of making amends and rebuilding his life. In 2016 he won an Emmy award for producing an anti hate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from extremism.
Julia wanted to talk to Christian about redemption and forgiveness: As someone who has himself done bad things, what makes him now worthy of being loved? And what about the men he works with - violent extremists who, in Christians words, are simply children with emotional potholes needing to be filled. Once he reaches them and they decide to leave the hate movements they're a part of, do they deserve forgiveness from society too?
Christian's life since leaving the white power movement over two decades ago has been dedicated to helping others overcome their own hate. He now leads The Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention and disengagement network.
His involvement in, and exit from, the early American white supremacist skinhead movement is chronicled in his memoir, White American Youth.
His latest book Breaking Hate: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism was released in February, 2020. His disengagement work is also spotlighted in his MSNBC documentary series, Breaking Hate.
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