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Christian Picciolini

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Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, a public speaker, author, peace advocate, and a former violent extremist.

 After leaving the hate movement he helped create during his youth in the 1980s and 90s, he began the painstaking process of making amends and rebuilding his life. Christian earned a degree in international relations from DePaul University and launched Goldmill Group, a digital media and counter-extremism consulting firm. In 2016, he won an Emmy Award for directing and producing an anti-hate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from violence-based extremist groups. Christian’s life since leaving the white-supremacist movement over two decades ago has been dedicated to helping others overcome hate through such organizations as Life After Hate and ExitUSA. He now leads the Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention and disengagement platform, helping people exit hate movements and other violent ideologies. He has spoken all over the world, including on the TEDx stage, sharing his unique and extensive knowledge, teaching all who are willing to learn about building greater peace through empathy and compassion. Christian’s involvement in, and exit from, the early American white power skinhead movement is chronicled in his memoir WHITE AMERICAN YOUTH: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out (Hachette, 2018).

Christian is a frequent commentator and focus of national and international media platforms such as MSNBC, CNN, 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News, CBS Face the Nation, CBC, Vice, Washington Post, NY Times, Vox, Rolling Stone Magazine, GQ, Time Magazine, BBC, NPR, Glenn Beck, PBS, DemocracyNow!, CSPAN, and others. He has also appeared as a guest on shows by Sarah Silverman, Samantha Bee, Adam Carolla, Mitch Albom, and many more.

 
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Video/media

TEDxMileHigh: At 14, Christian Picciolini went from naïve teenager to white supremacist -- and soon, the leader of the first neo-Nazi skinhead gang in the United States. How was he radicalized, and how did he ultimately get out of the movement?

Sarah sits down with former white power leader Christian Picciolini to talk about his moment of change and his current work as a peace advocate.

Author, speaker, television producer, and reformed extremist Christian Picciolini (Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead) discusses his work as co-founder Life After Hate, a nonprofit helping people disengage from hate and violent extremism.