After Capitol attack, former extremists redouble their fight against the far-right
The terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob of far-right extremists, white supremacists, QAnon conspiracy cultists, and rank-and-file Republicans was a chilling reminder of just how many Americans now buy into disinformation and the torrents of grievance, resentment, hate, and racial scapegoating that have been flooding right-wing media for years.
But for groups like Life After Hate, an organization of former hate group members who have been working in the trenches for years to de-radicalize violent extremists, it was also a reminder that now more than ever we need to stay focused and continue working to counter the politics of hate and disinformation with a politics of empathy and hope.
“To those who watched in horror, we are right there with you,” Life After Hate said in a statement after the attack. “But do not give up hope. There are many dedicated individuals and institutions committed to ending violent extremism. We’ve stood in solidarity with them for the last 10 years. This attack is not a setback to that great work, but an affirmation.”
If you’re planning to address the Capitol riots and the rise of violent extremism in your classes or other educational work as this dangerous situation continues to unfold, we urge you to check out the critically acclaimed documentary Healing from Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation, which just today was nominated for a prestigious Social Impact Media (SIMA) Award in the Best Documentary Feature category.
Directed by Peter Hutchison, the film tells the inspiring story of former skinheads and neo-Nazis who are now working on the front lines in groups like Life After Hate to help violent extremists “connect with humanity and lead compassionate lives.”
Healing from Hate is at once a stunning documentation of violent extremism and a remarkable educational tool for identifying, understanding, and addressing the structural conditions, cultural beliefs, and political ideas that breed hate and racial animus.
The film is now available via streaming, on DVD, and for virtual screenings, and can be watched through your university on the Kanopy streaming platform. To see if your university subscribes to Kanopy, click here.
Praise for Healing From Hate
“Healing From Hate is a powerful educational tool, much needed at this moment in our nation’s history. It makes visible both the urgency of the threat of domestic extremists and the hopeful and healing power of empathy to overcome the disease of hatred.”
— Beverly Tatum | Author of Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
“Healing From Hate is a well-filmed, no-holds-barred, raw masterpiece defining the causes and solutions for America’s ugliest disease: racism. The information and testimonies revealed are stronger than written case studies in any psychology book. A must-see for both victims and perpetrators of hate.”
— Daryl Davis | Activist and Author of Klan-destine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan
“Healing From Hate is a must-see film for every American regardless of their politics. It promises to spark the type of collective soul searching our nation desperately needs in these divisive times, illustrating that deep listening and compassion represent the ultimate antidote to the poison of hate.”
— Adam Hodges | Author, When Words Trump Politics: Resisting a Hostile Regime of Language
“Goes beyond a shallow understanding of white supremacists as ‘bad’ people to explore the circumstances that draw them into these ideologies. A very useful teaching resource.”
— Dr. Raka Shome | Professor of Communication, Villanova University