Sammy Rangel is an author, social worker, peace activist, speaker, trainer and father. His autobiography, "Fourbears: The Myths of Forgiveness," chronicles his life from the physical and sexual abuse he endured as a child to his path of self-destruction that culminated in a 15 1/2-year prison sentence. In 2012, Sammy founded Formers Anonymous, a national self-help group based on the 12-step model for people addicted to street life and violence. In May 2015, he participated in the TEDxDanubia Conference: Balance On the Edge held in Budapest, where he spoke about the power of forgiveness.
In 2017, he was honored in a special tribute to Everyday Heroes in the Global Campaign Against Violent Extremism. Sammy holds a Master of Social Work from Loyola University-Chicago. He previously served as a program director for a youth outreach program in his hometown of Racine for 16 years. He is also a second-degree black belt, practices mixed martial arts, and is a singer on a Native American drum.
Angela King’s expertise in disengagement and de-radicalization from violent extremism stems from her personal experience as a disenfranchised, bullied youth who was recruited by neo-Nazi skinheads. She quickly ascended in
leadership within the violent far-right extremist movement, where she
developed woman-centric propaganda and forged ties to some of the world's
most violent far-right extremist organizations. Following her arrest and
incarceration in 1998 for her part in an armed robbery of a Jewish-owned
store, Angela earned an early release from prison and rejected her former life
of hate. For nearly two decades, she has been a prominent public speaker and
consultant who has received recognition and awards from the Holocaust
Documentation and Education Center and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL),
among others, for her tireless work to counter violent extremism, reduce
prejudice and build communities of justice. She received a Master of Arts in
Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on inequality in U.S. social systems from
the University of Central Florida in 2009.
Director of Communications
Dimitrios Kalantzis is a trained journalist with 10 years of experience in print and digital news. He has won numerous state AP awards for both his individual and collaborative work. Most recently he was the managing editor of a daily newspaper located in a part of the country that partisan news outlets have been trying to understand since 2016. In the beginning of his journalism career, Dimitri helped launch a hyperlocal news site where he would eventually write the site’s most-read story; it was was about the Westboro Baptist Church’s tour of Chicago where they protested among other things, a progressive synagogue for installing a woman rabbi. Before becoming a journalist, Dimitri spent four years working at a group home for at-risk teenagers in Chicago. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in English, Dimitri has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting. He believes that our greatest achievements come in the pursuit of truth and justice.
Research Analyst/Case Manager, ExitUSA
Bradley J. Galloway was a fixture in the North American right-wing extremist movement for 13 years and was the president of a racist skinhead gang for five of those years. It is these lived experiences that play a role in his work in combating violent extremism. In addition to his work with Life After Hate, Brad is also a Research and Intervention Specialist at the Organization for Prevention of Violence (OPV), and is a fourth-year undergraduate student in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). He is a Research Assistant on a number of projects that are funded by Public Safety Canada and the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS). Brad has also served as a consultant for Google, Moonshot CVE, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), among others. His primary research interests include right-wing extremism and terrorism, preventing and countering violent extremism, and the roles of former extremists in combating violent extremism.
Program Supervisor, ExitUSA
Brett Jacobson is a licensed social worker in Illinois with case management and
mental health counseling experience in the prison system. His desire to help
people springs from his time in the Illinois Army National Guard while on a deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom. After witnessing the aftermath of sectarian violence and small children begging for food and water in the harsh Iraqi desert, Brett knew his purpose was to help ease suffering in the world. When he returned home after that 12-month deployment, Brett went back to Northern Illinois University where he worked on organizing several events around religious dialogue. He went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in psychology, sociology, and philosophy. In order start his family, Brett spent three years working in the manufacturing sector and as a stay-at-home dad before going back to get his master’s degree in social work. For the last five years, he has worked in Illinois Department of Corrections at the Sheridan Correctional Center as a case manager and then supervisor for Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC). With TASC he helped inmates prepare for reentry back into society. Before joining Life After Hate, Brett was a Mental Health Professional providing both group and individual psychotherapy inside the Sheridan Correctional Center.
Outreach Specialist, ExitUSA
At the age of 16, Lauren Manning lost her father, whom she was extremely close to. By 17, she was a disaffected youth who, feeling like she was lacking structure at home, joined the white supremacist sub-culture of violent far-right extremism. After graduating high school, Lauren was homeless and made a half-hearted attempt to leave the hate group she’d joined. After being savagely beaten by fellow gang members, Lauren joined an even larger hate group. In 2012, Lauren’s disengagement from the violent far-right and sobriety came on the heels of the murder of another member and close friend. It was then that she made the conscious decision to disentangle her identity from violent far-right extremism. Lauren serves as a public speaker, and mentor for those disengaging from violent extremism. In her spare time, she can be found zip lining, bungee jumping, or seeking out the next thrill.
Training Consultant, ExitUSA
Robert Örell, an expert in the field of violent extremism prevention, was instrumental in helping us expand ExitUSA to the program it is today. Robert served as the program Director for ExitUSA and lead the team for more than three year. He helped develop the framework for the online Exit consultations and trained the staff in digital exit work. Before he joined Life After Hate, Robert spent 15 years helping people disengage from political extremism and criminal gangs. He helped launch several other Exit programs in Europe, including in his native Sweden. Robert is a member of the European Commission’s Radicalization Awareness Network, where he co-chairs the working group RAN Exit. In April 2016, Robert was a guest speaker at a TEDx event, where he presented, A Way Out From Violent Extremism.