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.
A former organizer for the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), Tony McAleer served as a skinhead recruiter, proprietor of Canadian Liberty Net (a computer operated voice messaging center), and manager of the racist rock band, Odin’s Law. Tony was eventually found to have contravened Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act that prohibits the dissemination of messages likely to expose groups to hatred by telephone. Tony's love for his children led him on a spiritual journey of personal transformation. Financial hardship and the harsh realities of single parenthood brought him to a place of compassion and forgiveness. Tony has spent the past six years as principal of McAleer & Associates Wealth Management and traveling as a motivational speaker. He is a former executive director of Life After Hate.
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.
Frank Meeink became a SkinHead at 13. By 18 he was roaming the country as a SkinHead leader and Neo-Nazi recruiter, with gangs that would beat people indiscriminately. In Illinois he had his own cable-access TV show, "The Reich." He was finally arrested and convicted of kidnapping and beating a member of a rival SkinHead gang. While in prison he befriended men he used to think he hated, men of different races. After being released from prison, Meeink tried to rejoin his old skinhead pals but couldn't bring himself to hate those whom he now knew to be his friends. Now a noted speaker, author and founder of Harmony Through Hockey, Frank's life stands for tolerance, diversity and mutual understanding in racial, political and all aspects of society.
Program Director, ExitUSA
Robert Örell has spent more than 15 years with ExitSweden, helping people disengage from political extremism and criminal gangs. He is also a social worker, speaker, and expert on radicalization, disengagement, and intervention. Robert has organized international conferences and workshops, and has been an adviser on setting up Exit organizations in several countries. He 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.
Director of Development
Shelley Smart is a resource development and management professional with more than 15 years of experience in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors. She has extensive experience securing sustained, diverse support for global and U.S.-based efforts to foster meaningful positive change. Immediately prior to joining the Life After Hate team, Shelley oversaw fundraising and grants management for a multi-million dollar portfolio of global human rights and health programs. She received a Master of Arts in International Affairs from The George Washington University, and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.