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Front Page - Friday, November 1, 2019

Ex-white power activist to address group

Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, a public speaker, author, peace advocate, and a former violent extremist. His memoir, White American Youth, tells of his involvement in and exit from the early American white-supremacist skinhead movement. He will speak Tuesday, Nov. 12 as part of the Mayor’s Council Against Hate. - Photograph provided

The Mayor’s Council Against Hate will welcome author and activist Christian Picciolini as guest speaker at its next public meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 5:30 p.m., at the Camp House.

Picciolini’s life since leaving the white power movement more than two decades ago has been dedicated to helping others overcome their own hate.

After leaving the movement he helped create during his youth in the 1980s and 1990s, he earned a degree in international relations from DePaul University and launched Goldmill Group, a counterextremism consulting and digital media firm. In 2016, he won an Emmy Award for producing an antihate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from extremism.

Picciolini’s involvement in, and exit from, the movement is chronicled in his memoir “White American Youth: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement – and How I Got Out.” His forthcoming book, “Breaking Hate: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism,” will be released in February 2020. His disengagement work is spotlighted in his MSNBC documentary series “Breaking Hate.’’

The Nov. 12 Council Against Hate event marks his first public appearance in Chattanooga.

“There are disturbing signs that hate continues to spread across the country, and that young people, in particular, are being targeted for recruitment by extremist groups, so Christian’s message of hope and reconciliation is particularly timely,” says Council Against Hate co-chair Alison Lebovitz.

“Christian speaks about these issues with a unique empathy and passion that is unshakable. We believe that what he has to say will resonate with anyone who seeks to build a more welcoming, peaceful and safe community for everyone.”

The event is free and open to the public, but registration cha.city/againsthate is strongly encouraged.

The Nov. 12 meeting will be preceded by a Nov. 6 panel discussion, “Covering Hate,” that the Council Against Hate is producing in conjunction with Public Relations Society of America Lookout.

As incidents of hate and violent extremism continue to increase across the United States and the southeast, in particular, journalists have a unique responsibility to keep the public informed by reporting fairly, thoroughly and accurately. These questions and others will be addressed in a conversation with news reporters and investigative journalists from Chattanooga, Atlanta, Memphis and Nashville.

“Covering Hate” will take place Wednesday, Nov. 6, 11:30 a.m., at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Tickets, information: http://cha.city/coveringhate.