“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
In 2011, former members of the American violent far-right extremist movement created the non-profit Life After Hate. Having disavowed a culture of racism and prejudice, the organization works to help other individuals leave lives of violence and hate. As they would openly attest, they felt they needed to “counter the seeds they had once planted.” In the time since, Life After Hate has helped countless individuals to transform their lives and supported institutions to understand the causes of intolerance. Through their personal experience, they have developed an understanding of what draws individuals to extremists groups as well as what pulls them out. They have become the catalyst for change of an incredible magnitude.
In January 2017, the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration awarded Life After Hate a $400,000 grant to support their efforts. As part of the Countering Violent Extremism Program, they were the only recipients to focus entirely on fighting white supremacy.
However, once Trump took office, the grant was revoked despite reports from the FBI reiterating the threat of domestic extremist groups. When questioned, the Department of Homeland Security stated they were prioritizing organizations that worked directly with law enforcement and targeted radical Islam.
To counter the movement we witnessed in Charlottesville as well as the views of extremist individuals including our current administration, it is critical that we support organizations teaching love and tolerance. - Maureen Post
Support Life After Hate by visiting: https://www.lifeafterhate.org/donate
Photo Credit : John-Paul Henry via Unsplash