Dinner Meeting - Concluded  - 09.13.2017
While most Americans associate terrorism with the mass casualty attack of 9/11, the fact is that the most likely source of terrorist attacks within the United States is home-grown radicals inspired by either domestic, international, or global ideologies/causes and radicalized by their own personal experiences. These lone-wolf or inspirational terrorist arise when their own circumstances merge with a violent ideology to create violence. One half of combatting this phenomenon is reducing the influence and access of groups propagating violence ideologies, but the other, less discussed and developed half, is actively seeking to prevent individual radicalization within our own communities. Denver is no exception and this panel will link the broad challenge of preventing domestic based terrorism to efforts in our own community.
Christian Picciolini is an Emmy® Award-winning television producer, a prolific public speaker, a published author, and a reformed extremist. His work and life purpose are born of an ongoing and profound need to atone for a grisly past, and to make something of his time on this planet by contributing to the greater good. After leaving the violent far-right hate movement he was part of during his youth, he began the painstaking process of rebuilding his life. Christian earned a degree in International Relations from DePaul University, began his own global entertainment media firm, and was appointed a member of the Chicago Grammy Rock Music Committee and board member for the Chicago Intl. Movies and Music Festival. In 2016, Christian won an Emmy® Award for directing and producing ExitUSA's "There is life after hate" PSA, and has been nominated for four regional Emmy® Awards. He is an appointed United Nations-affiliated ambassador for iChangeNations and was honored with a National Statesman award. Christian is an associate for the USC Price 'Homegrown Violent Extremism' program and has worked as an adjunct professor at the college level. He contributed to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's and Jared Cohen's New York Times bestseller, The New Digital Age. Most notably, in 2009 he co-founded Life After Hate, a nonprofit helping people disengage from hate and violent extremism. In 2015, he published his memoirs, Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead.
Yoal Kidane Ghebremeskel is Co-Founder & Executive Director of Street Fraternity; a place of brotherhood and personal growth for urban young men here in Denver. Yoal holds a B.A. from the Joseph Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He is a 2003 Daniels Scholar from South High School, and an English Second Language Student. He has actively been engaged with the refugee Community in Colorado through volunteerism, work (e.g. African Community Center, Piton Foundation, etc.), and coaching soccer to former refugee and immigrant youth and young adults. He is a graduate of Leadership Denver Class of 2015.
Dr. Annie Miller is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Denver in the International Disaster Psychology Department and serves as Co-Director of the Colorado Resilience Collaborative. Her research and community-based efforts focus on supporting communities to reduce hate, discrimination, bias, and identity-based violence by developing protective factors locally and globally. Her research focuses on the effectiveness of networks and collaborations seeking to combat human trafficking, non-profit management, and capacity development at the community and network levels to end wicked problems. Dr. Miller formerly served as the Director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Miami University Hamilton. While leading the Center, she coauthored the Ohio Civic Health Index which identifies civic and community behaviors and policy changes that might effectively lead to enhanced civic participation. Annie holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in Public Affairs - Administration, Policy, Management, and Institutions in addition to an M.S. in Higher Education Administration and a M.A. in Political Science.