CWU News

Life After Hate Co-Founder to Speak on Counteracting Extremist Movements

Author and activist Sammy Rangel, executive director and co-founder of Life After Hate, will share his personal story and provide strategies for dealing with extremist movements at 6 p.m. on February 22 in the Student Union and Recreation Center Ballroom on the Central Washington University campus.

Rangel, who authored Fourbears: The Myths of Forgiveness, will discuss counteracting extremist movements through compassion, and changing how we see hateful, harmful or destructive behaviors. His experiences compelled him to join with other former members of the American violent far-right extremist movement to establish Life After Hate, an organization with insights into extremist and hate groups.

A self-described former gang member and "street punk," Rangel, who was abused as a child, spent most of his early years in mental institutions, foster homes, and detention homes. He became a member of the Maniac Latin Disciples gang and spent time in prison.

His journey from gang member to anti-violence activist, which he recounts in his book, began after he entered a drug rehabilitation program and began to take stock of his life, including wanting to be a better father to his two children.

Rangel, who has shared his story in venues across the country, including a TED Talk in 2015, returned to school and obtained a BSW in Social Work at Carthage College and MS in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago.

He is also the founder of Formers Anonymous, a group dedicated to building a network of self-lead and self-contained support groups for those having an attachment or addiction to violent or criminal behavior (so-called Street Life lifestyles).

In addition to his public appearance, Rangel will also lead "Strategies for Combating Hate" workshops for CWU faculty, staff, and students.

The event, which is co-sponsored by the CWU Center for Diversity and Social Justice, Student Involvement, Campus Activities, Social Justice and Human Rights Dialogues, the Africana and Black Studies Program and Not in Our Kittco, is free and open to the public. The latter recommended the Life After Hate program to campus administrators.

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,