In the final days of President Obama’s days in the White House, the Department of Homeland Security awarded a $400,000 grant to the Life After Hate nonprofit, an organization dedicated to helping members of violent right-wing organizations leave their groups and “begin the process of deradicalization.” From their website:
Life After Hate, Inc., a 501(c)(3) U.S. nonprofit, was created in 2011 by former members of the American violent far-right extremist movement. Through powerful stories of transformation and unique insight gleaned from decades of experience, we serve to inspire, educate, guide, and counsel.
Whether working with individuals who wish to leave a life of hate and violence or helping organizations (community, educational, civic, government, etc.) grappling with the causes of intolerance and racism, Life After Hate works to counter the seeds of hate we once planted. Through personal experience and highly unique skill sets, we have developed a sophisticated understanding about what draws individuals to extremist groups and, equally important, why they leave. Compassion is the opposite of judgment and we understand the roles compassion and empathy play in healing individuals and communities.
These services are critically important to stemming the threat of right-wing extremism. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security released a report based on surveys from police departments nationwide saying domestic extremism posed as great or more of a threat than foreign terrorism.
The $400,000 grant for Life After Hate was part of a $10 million program that was halted by Donald Trump soon after he took office. Politico reports the program has been re-started, but one grant has been removed:
SCOOP: The Department of Homeland Security is restarting a stalled $10-million grant program for “Countering Violent Extremism” this morning. Life After Hate, a group dedicated to deradicalizing neo-Nazis and stopping white extremism, was slated to get $400,000 in the final days of the Obama administration (http://bit.ly/2sxsh6x) before the program was halted for review, but the Trump administration dropped them from the new grant list that’s getting announced today.
The group has seen a twenty-fold increase in requests for help since Election Day “from people looking to disengage or bystanders/family members looking for help from someone they know,” the organization’s founder Christian Picciolini told us.