Christian Picciolini: Rebuilding With Universal Glue

Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, public speaker, author, peace advocate, and former violent extremist. After leaving the white-supremacist skinhead movement he was part of during the 1980s and 90s, Christian began the process of making amends and creating a new life. He went on to receive a degree in international relations from DePaul University and launched Goldmill Group, a counter-extremism consulting and digital media firm. In 2016, he won an Emmy for producing an anti-hate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from extremism and today he leads the Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention network. Since leaving the white-power movement, Christian has helped hundreds of individuals leave hate behind as well. Throughout this conversation we discuss self-forgiveness, redemption, combating misinformation, confronting racism, second chances, holding power accountable, and the universal glue that holds us all together.

Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, public speaker, author, peace advocate, and former violent extremist. After leaving the white-supremacist skinhead movement he was part of during the 1980s and 90s, Christian began the process of making amends and creating a new life. He went on to receive a degree in international relations from DePaul University and launched Goldmill Group, a counter-extremism consulting and digital media firm. In 2016, he won an Emmy for producing an anti-hate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from extremism and today he leads the Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention network. Since leaving the white-power movement, Christian has helped hundreds of individuals leave hate behind as well.

Throughout this conversation we discuss self-forgiveness, redemption, combating misinformation, confronting racism, second chances, holding power accountable, and the universal glue that holds us all together.

Christian has written about his involvement with and exit from organized hate in his memoir, White American Youth, and he’s the featured subject in season 3 of WBEZ’s “Motive” podcast. He unpacks his disengagement work further in his 2020 book, Breaking Hate: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism, as well as in the MSNBC documentary series of the same name. Christian hosts the “F*** Your Racist History” podcast, a scripted history show that tells America's hidden, overlooked, and unknown racist origin stories. Christian’s message of peace through empathy and compassion has taken him all over the world and we’re honored to share his story here.

Full show notes and a downloadable are available at empoweredhumanacademy.com/44—and you can watch the conversation on YouTube here! And if you want to take an even deeper dive, we've also recorded a subscribers-only bonus episode (available only via Apple Podcasts) where we digest the conversation's themes and swap art recommendations—it's a lot of fun.

Keep the conversation going...

Table Question: What is your current litmus test for determining truth?

Journal Prompt: Describe the kind of world that you want to help build. What does it look like, what does it feel like?

Action Step: Reflect on how you might help dismantle the “othering” that you see in your specific ecosystem and circle of influence.
Further exploration:
Learn more about Christian’s work: christianpicciolini.com
Follow Christian on Twitter: @cpicciolini
This is a production of Lightward, Inc.

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