• Daryl Johnson (Subject Matter Expert – Domestic Terrorism)
• Professor Brian Levin (Subject Matter Expert – Hate Crimes)
• Katherine “Kathy” Cramer (Civic and Political Engagement; Urban and Rural Divide)
• Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss (Subject Matter Expert – Extremism and Youth Radicalization)
• TM Garret (German-born former Neo-Nazi and KKK Leader)
• Ryan Lo’Ree (former Neo-Nazi)
• Jesse Morton (former Al Qaeda Recruiter)
• Arno Michaelis (a former White Supremacist)
• Derek Barsaleau (a former White Nationalist)
• Dr. Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud (a Muslim father who forgave his son’s killer in the courtroom)
• O. Ricardo Pimentel (Author and Journalist)
• Dr. Jeffrey Jacobson (High School Student Chapters Liaison)
• Sheriff David Mahoney (Law Enforcement Officer)
Daryl Johnson (Subject Matter Expert – Domestic Terrorism)
Daryl Johnson is one of the foremost experts on domestic extremist groups in the US. Beginning his career as a civilian in the US Army, Johnson has held a number of government positions, most recently as senior analyst at the Department of Homeland Security. He is currently the founder of DT Analytics, a private consulting firm for law enforcement. He is also regularly cited, featured, or quoted in media covering domestic extremist groups in the US, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, National Public Radio, MSNBC, CNN, and NBC Nightly News, among many others. He is the author of “Hateland: A Long, Hard Look at America’s Extremist Heart” (Prometheus Books, 2019) and “Right-Wing Resurgence: How a Domestic Terrorism Threat Is Being Ignored” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012). Johnson is also a freelance writer for various media and civil rights organizations. In 2012, he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on hate crimes and the threat of domestic extremism.
Professor Brian Levin (Subject Matter Expert – Hate Crimes)
San Bernardino, CA
Criminologist and civil rights attorney Brian Levin is a professor of criminal justice and founding director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. He is the 2020 recipient of the annual Wang Family Excellence Award for outstanding scholarship in the entire CSU system – the largest in the nation.
Previously, Professor Levin served as Associate Director-Legal Affairs of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Klanwatch / Militia Task Force in Montgomery, Al.; as a corporate litigator and a New York City Police Officer in the 1980s. Mr. Levin is a graduate of Stanford Law School, where he was awarded the Block Civil Liberties Award. He received his bachelor’s degree with multiple honors in American History from the University of Pennsylvania.
A prominent analyst on hate and extremism worldwide, Levin has presented influential Supreme Court briefs and Congressional testimony and is frequently interviewed on TV and in newspapers. He has also given presentations to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Anti-Semitism, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, among others.
Katherine “Kathy” Cramer (Civic and Political Engagement; Urban and Rural Divide)
Kathy is the Natalie C. Holton Chair of Letters and Science and a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she has worked since 2000. She is known for her innovative approach to the study of public opinion, in which she uses methods like inviting herself into the conversations of groups of people to listen to the way they understand public affairs. She is the author of 3 books including the award-winning The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness and the Rise of Scott Walker. She is an inductee of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss (Subject Matter Expert – Extremism and Youth Radicalization) Washington, DC
Cynthia Miller-Idriss is an award-winning author and scholar of extremism and youth radicalization. She directs the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) in the Center for University Excellence (CUE) at the American University in Washington, DC, where she is also Professor in the School of Public Affairs and in the School of Education. Dr. Miller-Idriss is also Director of Strategy and Partnerships at the U.K.-based Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right and serves on the international advisory board of the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) in Oslo, Norway. She has testified before the U.S. Congress and has briefed the UN Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee on white supremacist extremism and white nationalist terrorism, and frequently serves as a keynote speaker and expert panelist on trends in white supremacist extremism to global academic and policy communities as well as staff and representatives in U.S. and international government agencies and embassies.
A globally-recognized expert on far right youth, Dr. Miller-Idriss is the author, co-author, or co-editor of six books, including Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right, forthcoming from Princeton University Press in fall 2020. In addition to her academic work, Miller-Idriss writes frequently for mainstream audiences, with recent by-lines in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CNN, The Hill, The Guardian, Le Monde, Salon, and more. She appears regularly in the media as an expert source and political commentator, most recently on Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, NBC’s Evening News with Lester Holt, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, NBC’s The Today Show, the UK’s BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed, France 24’s The Interview, Ireland’s The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk and in Austria’s DATUM Magazine.
TM Garret (German-born former Neo-Nazi and KKK Leader)
TM Garret Schmid (born Achim Schmid) and publicly known as TM Garret, is a German-American Public Speaker, Human Rights Activist, Consultant, Author, Extremism Researcher, Interfaith Activist and founder of C.H.A.NG.E, a non-profit organization which engages in anti-racism and anti-violence campaigns, food drives, inter-faith work as well as an EXIT program which helps individuals leave extremist groups and ERASING THE HATE, a nationwide tattoo campaign that covers up racist and hate tattoos for free. He is also the organizer of the Memphis Peace Conference in 2018 and founder of “Share a Meal Pledge.” Before he started engaging in Civil Rights work, TM Garret was a White Supremacist in leading roles in Europe and the USA. He left this lifestyle and ideology for good in 2003.
Garret works closely with the Jewish as well as the Black Community. He is a campus speaker against antisemitism for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a member of the NAACP. He is also a US ambassador for EXIT Germany and an honorary board member of “We Are Many-United Against Hate.”
TM Garret has lectured at Harvard, Cornell, Dartmouth, Boston Law School, Vanderbilt, Hotchkiss, Pomona and many other schools and universities. In 2019 he spoke at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield on behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center as well as the City Hall in New York City. He was featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, Fox, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, VICE and VOX as well as the New York Magazine, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post and many other international major TV stations and outlets.
He is a radio personality and currently hosts ERASING THE HATE, a talk show on WKRA 92.7 FM The Change in Holly Springs, MS together with Pastor Ray Johnson. The show is syndicated on iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, PlayerFM and many other platforms.
Ryan Lo’Ree (former Neo-Nazi)
Swartz Creek, Michigan
Ryan Lo’Ree is the Program Director and Executive Board Member at Parallel Networks. Ryan was once a right-wing extremist with the Rollingwood Skins, a Michigan-based offshoot of the largest Nazi movement in the United States. While in the organization, he moved up the ranks quickly to become Vice President. In his role, he was responsible for mainstreaming hate groups on social media. To finance these efforts, Ryan found himself in trouble with the law. After Ryan’s incarceration, he went through a process of transformation and healing centered around trauma associated with sexual, physical and mental abuse he endured from male family members.
As part of his healing and deradicalization, Ryan went on to create the Team Revelation Mixed Martial Arts, a program utilized to prevent troubled youth from entering gang and extremist cultures. They offered mentorship, leadership, and self-discipline training. The program’s success led to a partnership with local juvenile probation offices in Genesee and Shiawassee County. The program would go on to keep over 100 children from entering the school to prison pipeline. Ryan would later enter the political arena where he ran for County Commissioner going after political corruption, racial and environmental justice in his hometown. Ryan has now helped to organize hundreds of justice rallies across the country, and his research has been centered around environmental impacts and their links to violent extremism. Ryan has also helped to pull dozens of former extremists out of hate groups in Michigan and abroad where he had the assistance of several organizations around the country and state. Ryan has helped to pass policy and proclamations in Flint and surrounding areas. He will now bring his expertise to Parallel Network, contributing to the organization’s work on combating polarization, structural injustice, racism, hate, and violent extremism.
Jesse Morton (former Al Qaeda Recruiter)
Jesse Morton was once a jihadist propagandist (then known as Younes Abdullah Muhammad) who ran Revolution Muslim, a New York City-based organization active in the 2000s and connected to a number of terrorism cases. He connected al-Qaeda’s ideology and transformed it for America, creating English language propaganda and collaborating with the most notorious jihadist preachers of that era. Morton deradicalized in 2011 and has worked since then to become a leading commentator, researcher and interventionist on jihadist, far-right and far-left extremism and reciprocal radicalization.
In 2018, Morton launched Parallel Networks, an organization he co-founded with Mitch Silber, the former NYPD official that monitored and ultimately incarcerated him. The initiative works to prevent and counter violent extremism and has been supported by the Counter Extremism Project. Parallel Networks consults on domestic and international projects with a particular concentration on the reintegration and rehabilitation of extremist offenders, foreign terrorist fighters and family members and those susceptible to radicalization in prison settings.
Morton also leads Parallel Networks’ LightUponLight.Online project, a Counter Extremism Project subsidiary that has created an off and online ecosystem of holistic P/CVE programming that utilizes a unique transdisciplinary approach to combat polarization, hate and violent extremism in the American ambit. Light Upon Light programming works holistically to offer an antithetical sense of identity, purpose, and community to that which extremists offer their recruits.
Over past years, Jesse has served as a deradicalization interventionist in an array of capacities and has worked to pull over 100 individuals from an array of movements and ideologies out of extremism. He holds a bachelor’s degree in human service and master’s in international relations, Middle East studies and nonprofit management from Columbia University. He has published and presented at New America Foundation, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, United States Institute for Peace, Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Antidefamation League (ADL), CTC Sentinel, Lawfare, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, New York Post and other outlets. Morton was included in Foreign Policy Magazine’s 2017 ‘Global Thinkers’ listing, holds certificate licensure in substance-abuse and mental health counseling, is widely read in Islamic theology and has lectured at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Sunderland University in Casablanca, Morocco.
Arno Michaelis (a former White Supremacist)
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Arno Michaelis was a founding member of what went on to become the largest racist skinhead organization in the world, a reverend of a self-declared “Racial Holy War,” and lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion, which sold 20,000 CDs by the mid-nineties and is still popular with racists today. Single parenthood, love for his daughter and the forgiveness shown by the people he once hated all helped to turn Arno’s life around, bringing him to embrace diversity and practice gratitude for all life. Today, Arno is a speaker, author of “My Life After Hate” and very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development working with Serve2Unite.org. Arno enjoys spending time with his daughter, art, music, and all forms of fearless creative expression, along with climbing things, being under water, and the wonderful natural beauty of our planet Earth. Learn more at “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate”>
Derek Barsaleau (a former White Nationalist)
Fort Atkinson, WI
I am a long-time activist, although admittedly, I have not always been on this side of the fence. 20 years ago, I was a recruiter for the National Socialists of America as well as a member of the National Alliance and World Church of the Creator; all very large white nationalist groups at the time. I served as a liaison for numerous local groups up and down the East Coast from Boston, MA to Tampa Bay, FL where I expanded recruitment efforts with help of the internet and personal interactions.
In late 2001, I enlisted into the United States Army where a life-changing event planted a seed of doubt regarding everything I held to be true at the time. Near death, my life was saved at the last moment by my Black battle buddy. A person who was well aware of the beliefs I held. In that moment though, he was able to look past my twisted ideology and treat me as his brother in arms; an American just as he was. Stubbornly, I still held on to these beliefs for a few more years, but never totally disregarded the doubt that was planted, participating in neo-Nazi rallies as recent as 2004.
As I found myself lost for several years, I fell out of activism entirely as I began a search for who I truly was. An encounter with the person, who is now my wife, proved to be exactly what I needed, along with the birth of my 3 oldest children. My focus began to change from what I was reading in statistics and headlines to asking myself the hard question of “why?”
With the sudden rise of the now rebranded “alt-right” in 2016, coinciding with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, I found myself at a crossroads, mentally. It was here that I decided to use my organizational skills to form the Wisconsin Progressive Alliance. This group was dedicated to being the central hub for all progressive groups across the state of Wisconsin to combat social injustice, corruption in politics and racism. We have organized over two dozen state rallies, and marches, across the state in response to events happening all over the country. We also became a model for other organizations to follow including several Indivisible groups across the country. With the backing of the AFL-CIO and a few state and national legislators, the WPA were major drivers in the Blue Wave of 2018.
I left the WPA shortly after the mid-term elections to focus more on local issues, and my family life. This is when I met Laura at The Unity Project when she asked me to do a presentation with Dr. Ozalle Thoms regarding my experience with white nationalism. Since that time, I have made myself available, in as many ways as possible, to make Fort Atkinson a better place for all.
Through further debates and conversations with people, my wife included (we weren’t always on the same page when it came to racial issues), I have continued to grow and have become even more dedicated to the cause for equality. I can honestly say I am more dedicated to this cause than I ever was towards the previous. I strongly believe that the path forward is together, through unity.
Dr. Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud (a Muslim father who forgave his son’s killer in the courtroom)
St. Louis, MO and Bangkok, Thailand
Dr. Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud was born and raised on a small rice farm in a village in Central Thailand. His first call to teaching came as a 7-year-old boy, when the principal of his village school asked him to teach his 1st grade class. He attended middle and high school in a suburb of Bangkok, and attended Teacher College and attained his higher teaching certification from there. He came to the USA for higher education, where he completed his BA from the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, his Masters from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, and his Doctorate degree in Education Administration from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He was also the first international student to attain his Education Specialist (Ed.S) Degree in Education Administration from Truman State University. While attaining his doctorate degree, Dr. Abdul-Munim married his colleague, Dr. Linda-Jamilah Kolocotronis®, who had accepted Islam at the time. Allah (swt) blessed them with 6 boys Mashaa Allah. He has been an Islamic School principal for 31 years, promoting Islamic education for the love of Allah (swt) and His Perfect Deen, Al-Islam in 7 different Islamic schools throughout the United States. Alhamdulillah.
Abdul shocked a courtroom in Kentucky with everybody in tears, including the judge when he forgave and hugged a man who killed his son. Abdul said on the witness stand that forgiveness is the greatest gift of charity in Islam. On April 19, 2015, our son Salahuddin was murdered. The court-hearing and sentencing took place on November 7, 2017. See the powerful video story>
O. Ricardo Pimentel (Author and Journalist) Milwaukee, WI
O. Ricardo Pimentel was most recently the editorial page editor of the San Antonio Express-News, retiring in June 2019. He has held a variety of editing and reporting positions for newspapers in California and Arizona. He is the former executive editor of the San Bernardino County Sun, managing editor at the Tucson Citizen and Stockton Record and was a either a reporter or held an editing position for the Sun, the Fresno Bee, the San Diego Union and the Sacramento Bee. He covered Congress and federal agencies for McClatchy newspapers in Washington D.C. and was a nationally syndicated columnist with the Arizona Republic in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ricardo has written two novels, House with Two Doors (1997) and Voices from the River (2001), both published by Bilingual Review Press. He is the son of Mexican immigrants.
He is the former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, a former board member of the California Chicano News Media Association, the California Society of Newspaper Editors and the Associated Press Managing Editor’s association. He was the UNITY Conference for Journalists of Color programming co-chair in 2004. He has been a Pulitzer judge for journalism entries four times.
Dr. Jeffrey Jacobson (High School Student Chapters Liaison) Monona, WI
Jeff Jacobson spent 38 years in rural Wisconsin secondary schools as a teacher, principal, and district administrator. Jacobson grew up in the Trempealeau County community of Blair, WI. Career stops included serving as a teacher at Augusta Jr./Sr. High School, as principal of Crandon Jr./Sr. High School, Plymouth Comprehensive High School, and Platteville High School, and as the district administrator of the Dodgeville School District. In each of these rural settings, Jacobson has come to appreciate the diversity within and between those who live, work, and build community.
Jeff is currently the Chairman of the Friends of Mwangaza, a non-profit charitable organization that raises funds to support teacher training, women’s rights advocacy, and community health in the East African nation of Tanzania. He has presented internationally at the Fulbright Sponsored International Seminar on School Leadership in Brasilia, Brazil. Additionally, he has served on the WIAA Advisory Board, the Wisconsin School Music Association Board of Directors and was a contributor to the origination of a school principal’s certification program at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville.
Jacobson earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he also served as the President of the Education Administration Student Organization and was recognized as an Outstanding Young Alumni by the School of Education.
Sheriff David Mahoney (Law Enforcement Officer) Madison, WI
Sheriff Mahoney is the President of the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA). Sheriff Mahoney is serving his fourth term as Dane County Sheriff and is retiring in May. He was first elected in Nov. 2006 to become the 52nd Dane County Sheriff. Sheriff Mahoney has been a professional law enforcement officer for 41 years and has extensive experience in labor management, having served twelve years as a local, state, and national labor executive officer.
Sheriff Mahoney has a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Mount Senario College. He is a graduate of the 92nd National Sheriff’s Institute Executive Level Management Course sponsored by the NSA and National Institute of Corrections. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy for Executive Management and the FBI National Executive Institute (NEI) for Executive Management sponsored by the US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
David and his wife, Kathleen, have two adult sons, Patrick and Sean.