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Shannon Foley Martinez


Shannon Foley Martinez is a reformed neo-Nazi, white-power skinhead who now speaks professionally.

Shannon Foley Martinez is the Program Manager for the recently launched Free Radicals Project.  She has also partnered with the Institute For Strategic Dialogue and Gen Next, as the US Regional Coordinator for the Against Violence and Extremism Network (AVE) helping other former and current violence-based extremists disengage and work through their transition out of violent and hate-based groups, as well as providing community and law enforcement education and training for the intervention and prevention of violence-based, radical extremism.  A victim of sexual assault at age 14 and never quite able to meet her parent's expectations, Martinez sought out other angry teens. By 16 she was a skinhead spouting white supremacist rhetoric, giving stiff-armed Nazi salutes and tagging public property with swastikas. Fortified by the love of an adopted family, Martinez left the skinheads behind, and today is committed to devoting the rest of her life to helping dismantle the culture of white supremacy, as well as helping others find their way to the other side of a life of hate. Martinez's story has been featured on news media all over the world, including Megyn Kelly TODAY, NBC's "Left Field," the Atlanta Journal Constitution, an Associated Press feature story and video, Marie Claire Magazine, an Al Jazeera video that currently has over a million views, and GPB’s “On Second Thought”.  She has been a commentator on CNN and HLN, as well as been a panelist and speaker throughout the world, for organizations such as CPRLV (Center for the Prevention of the Radicalization Leading to Violence), UNWomen, Hedayah, and the UN General Assembly. 

She is currently living in Northeast Georgia and raising her seven children.



Recent years have seen rising political extremism in both Europe and the United States, from Neo-Nazi rallies in Charlottesville to ISIS jihadists in Brussels.

One of the hardest challenges facing counterterrorism officials is what to do with the thousands of extremists who, for a variety of reasons, decide to step back from the battlefield.

Shannon Martinez, a volunteer with antifascist nonprofit Life After Hate, looks back on her time as a white supremacist.

Shannon Martinez, an Athens mother and former skin-head, discusses how she became involved and how she got out of the group.

Christian Picciolini, a former white supremacist and author of the new book "White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement - and How I Got Out" reunited with Shannon Martinez, another former supremacist, on Megyn Kelly TODAY to discuss how youth fall prey to joining hate groups, and what community leaders and parents can do to lead them away from a life of hate.