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Love Wins Over Hate

Stream now or tune in Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV + Friday, Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. on KPBS 2

Christian Picciolini with t-shirt that reads

Credit: Susan Polis Schutz / IronZealFilms

Above: Christian Picciolini with t-shirt that reads "Make Empathy Great Again."

In “Love Wins Over Hate,” celebrated filmmaker and writer Susan Polis Schutz (Iron Zeal Films) uncovers the origins and complexities of hatred in the United States and brings it out into the light for a moving story of healing that's needed now more than ever.

In a series of thoughtful interviews with former white supremacists and others who held extreme views, Susan explores how these people, who were filled with hate, bigotry and rage are able to change.

They find love and compassion with a greater appreciation for all humanity, regardless of race, faith, or sexual orientation, and they all go on to teach others how to love rather than hate.

This gripping film offers viewers a rare glimpse into the psychology of why people choose to hate and how they have overcome those passionate emotions.

This film doesn’t just explore how these subjects learn to love others, but also how to love themselves. In order to truly forgive themselves for the pain they’ve inflicted, the love comes through to heal those traumas and in turn bring that healing to the communities around them.

The film is currently available to stream on demand.

Love Wins Over Hate: Trailer

"Love Wins Over Hate" explores the personal transformations of six individuals who went from agents of anger and bigotry to advocates for empathy and inclusivity. In the documentary, former Neo-Nazi Shannon Foley Martinez discusses how easy it was to direct her unprocessed rage and self-hatred from a sexual assault into a movement rooted in hate. Other interviewees include former white supremacists.

Meet The Interviewees:

Chris Buckley of LaFayette, Georgia is an Afghanistan and Iraqi war veteran. When he returned from Afghanistan, he joined the Georgia White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan as an Imperial Nighthawk Arno Michaelis, a former white power skinhead and Dr. Heval Mohamed Kelli, a Kurdish Muslim refugee, were able to teach Chris the error of his ways and help bring him out of the movement. He gives motivational speeches, trying to spread awareness and educate the public about the dangers of white supremacist extremism. Chris now works with Dr. Kelli on a program called Hate Anonymous. Together they work to spread a message of love and healing. He also created a deradicalization program designed specifically with veterans in mind, but he also works with all manners of hate and extremist ideology.


Facebook: @parentsforpeace

Twitter: @parentsforpeace

Parents4Peace Support Helpline: (844) 49 PEACE

Photo credit: Susan Polis Schutz / IronZealFilms

Chris Buckley talks about life in the KKK and how he is now an advocate for diversity.

Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, a public speaker, author, peace advocate, and a former violent extremist. After leaving the hate movement he helped create, he began the painstaking process of making amends and rebuilding his life. Christian went on to earn 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 Award for producing an anti-hate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from extremism. He now leads the Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention and disengagement network. He has spoken all over the world, teaching all who are willing to learn about building greater peace through empathy and compassion. Christian chronicles his involvement and exit from the early American white-supremacist skinhead movement in his memoir, "White American Youth." He showcases his disengagement work in a second book, "BREAKING HATE: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism," published in February 2020 by Hachette Books.


Twitter: @FreeRadicalsOrg



Photo credit: Susan Polis Schutz / IronZealFilms

Christian Picciolini talks about his former life in the white power movement and his fight for change.

Timothy Zaal is a former racist skinhead and works as a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He has been the program facilitator of “From the Depths of Hate” for 17 years. This program is presented on a weekly basis to general audiences at the Museum of Tolerance. Additionally, he facilitates to educators, professional groups, and school groups both at the Museum of Tolerance and off-site. Some of Mr. Zaal’s past racialist/political associations include; Los Angeles area recruiter and propagandist for the White Aryan Resistance, and Co- founder and former Co-director of the Southern California Chapter of the Hammerskin Nation. His life has been portrayed in the book “Freaks and Revelations,” and in the 2014 Oscar nominated documentary short “Facing Fear.” Mr. Zaal has earned a degree in alcohol and drug counseling and works primarily for a postsecondary academic institution.

Websites: / /

Twitter: @tzh82hope

Photo credit: Susan Polis Schutz / IronZealFilms

Timothy Zaal talks about his violent past and the work he is doing to make amends.

Matthew Boger was the target of a brutal attack in a Los Angeles alley carried out by a group of Neo-Nazi skinheads. He now has the dual perspective of being a victim while also being capable of embarking on a journey of forgiveness and compassion. In early 2005, Boger made the life- changing decision to leave his high profile career as one of L.A.’s premier celebrity colorists and became the Museum of Tolerance’s Manager of Operations. In that same year, while working at the museum, he ended up in a chance meeting with former Neo-Nazi skinhead, Timothy Zaal. The two quickly discovered that Zaal had been one of the Neo-Nazis who had nearly killed Boger in the alley in West Hollywood 25 years previously. Through his program ‘Unlikely Allies’, presented at the Museum of Tolerance, the two embarked on a journey of forgiveness and reconciliation. Matthew also speaks outside the museum to students, law enforcement agencies Juvenile detention centers and prison inmates as well as Colleges and Universities. His goal is to “simply give them the information and hope they will realize that the power to change and forgive is within us all.”

"Facing Fear" Trailer

In this Oscar®-nominated documentary, the worlds of a former neo-Nazi and the gay victim of his senseless hate crime attack collide by chance 25 years after the incident that dramatically shaped both of their lives. They proceed to embark on a journey of forgiveness that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and fears, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration...and friendship.

Arno Michaelis: In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Michaelis was a leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization, and lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion. Single parenthood, love for his daughter, and the forgiveness shown by people he once hated all helped to turn Arno’s life around. After spending over a decade as successful information technology consultant and entrepreneur, Arno is now a speaker, author of "My Life After Hate," co-author of "The Gift of Our Wounds," and is an educator working with Serve2Unite. Serve2Unite engages students creatively with a global network of peacemakers and mentors. Arno’s customizable keynotes and workshops leverage noble qualities of compassion, curiosity, and kindness to engage all human beings, building foundations for diversity appreciation and cultural agility. He also enjoys spending time with his daughter, art, music, and all forms of fearless creative expression, along with climbing things, being underwater, and the wonderful natural beauty of our planet Earth.

Websites: / serve2unite

Facebook: @parentsforpeace

Twitter: @parentsforpeace

Parents4Peace Support Helpline: (844) 49 PEACE

Photo credit: Susan Polis Schutz / IronZealFilms

Arno Michaelis talks about his former life as a white nationalist and his mission to combat hatred.

Timothy Kurek, a Nashville, Tennessee based Author/Storyteller, is tackling the front burner issues of our day. His unrestrained style of immersion lends a uniquely empathetic perspective, engaging his audience with empathy, humor, and refreshing candor. Having been raised in the strict confines of his conservative Christian upbringing, Timothy is now an ally of the LGBT community, working for equality all over the world. His first book “The Cross in the Closet” became an international best-seller, lauded by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu as, “A gift tous all.” Timothy’s next book, “Mile 0 And Other Stories,” will be released Christmas 2020, and he is currently working on the book based off his 2015 TEDx University of the Aegean talk, entitled, “Practicing Intentional Empathy: Relearning Civility in an Uncivilized Society”, which will be released Winter 2021.


Photo credit: Susan Polis Schutz / IronZealFilms

Timothy Kurek talks about his fundamentist Christian background and how he now is an advocate for gay rights.

Shannon Foley Martinez, a former violent white supremacist, has two decades of experience in developing community resource platforms aimed at inoculating individuals against violence and extremism. Foley Martinez now works as a consultant, speaker, and educator in the prevention & disruption of targeted identity violence and ideologies. She has worked with such organizations as the UN Office of Counter Terrorism, the National Counterterrorism Center, Department of Homeland Security, Hedayah, The Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, UN Women, Google, and Twitter. As the mother of seven children ages 22 down to 3, she feels passionately about building empowered, deeply connected families and communities.


Photo credit: Susan Polis Schutz / IronZealFilms

Shannon Foley Martinez talks about her former life as a white supremacist and her fight against racism.

Dr. Edith Eger: A native of Hungary, Edith Eva Eger was just 16 years old in 1944 when she experienced one of the worst evils the human race has ever known. As a Jewish person living in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, she and her family were sent to Auschwitz. Her parents lost their lives there. She and her sister survived the camp and the Death March from Poland to Austria. In 1949 she and her young family moved to the United States. In 1969 she received her degree in Psychology from the University of Texas, El Paso. Dr. Eger has a clinical practice in La Jolla, California where she uses her past as a powerful analogy to inspire people to reach their potential and shape their destinies. In the fall of 2017 at the age of 90, her memoir "The Choice, Embrace the Possible" was published. The award-winning book focuses on moving forward in light of hardship. The New York Times Book Review wrote: “Eger’s book is a triumph and should be read by all who care about both their inner freedom and the future of humanity.” Her second book, "The Gift, Twelve Lessons to Save your Life" will be released in September 2020.


The Reverend Nicole M. Garcia, MA LPC (she/her/hers) is the Pastor for Mission Development at Westview Church in Boulder CO. Pastor Nicole earned a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul MN and a Master of Arts in Counseling from CU Denver. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Colorado and continues to work as a therapist and clinical supervisor with the Umbrella Collective in Boulder. Pastor Nicole is currently serving as the president of the outside council of New Beginnings Worshipping Community, an ELCA congregation within the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. Pastor Nicole has been on the board of directors of several local, national, and international organizations and has been a keynote speaker, preacher, and has participated in panels concerning gender identity, sexual orientation, and faith.


Representative Leslie Herod was elected in 2016 as the first LGBTQ African American in the Colorado General Assembly. Since then, she has passed 68 bills, addressing criminal justice reform, mental health, addiction, youth homelessness, and civil rights protections. Some of her signature work includes: ending cash bail for minor offenses, de-felonizing drug possession, giving every Colorado newborn a $100 college kickstarter account, providing free menstrual hygiene products to inmates in Colorado’s prisons and jails and passing a comprehensive police accountability bill following the highly public murder of George Floyd, and the nationwide movement that followed. Herod is the Chair of the House Finance Committee, Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Chair of the Committee on Legal Services, and the Chair of the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus.


Nadeem Ibrahim is a partnership specialist and community organizer. Her professional portfolio includes being a Muslim community organizer, commissioner to the Denver Immigrant and Refugee Commission, partnership specialist for the US Census Bureau, and Congressional District IV Representative to the Colorado State Board of Health. She holds a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Oxford and Bachelors of Science in Public Health from CU Denver. She is very passionate about community organizing and works to ensure she does her part.

Photo credit: Susan Polis Schutz / IronZealFilms

Nadeen Ibrahim talks about her Muslim identity and her fight against prejudice.

Dr. Vickie M Mays is a Professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Letters and Sciences, as well as a Professor in the Department of Health Services at UCLA. She is also the Director of the UCLA Center on Research, Education, Training and Strategic Communication on Minority Health Disparities. She teaches courses on health status and health behaviors of racial and ethnic minority groups, research ethics in biomedical and behavioral research in racial/ethnic minority populations, research methods in minority research, as well as courses on social determinants of mental disorders and psychopathology. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and an M.S.P.H. in Health Services, with postdoctoral training in psychiatric epidemiology. She has received a number of awards including one for her lifetime research on women and HIV from AMFAR, a Women and Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association and several Distinguished Contributions for Research awards.



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