Peace Prayer Day, our annual celebration of Peace, held during Summer Solstice at Ram Das Puri was again a special time. Each year, we gather to do yoga, meditate, chant, perform the Sacred Healing Walk, watch various performances, and pray for peace. One of the highlights each year is the guest speaker, someone we honor with the Siri Singh Sahib Award for Social Justice. This year’s honoree, Christian Picciolini, as did previous recipients, had a very inspiring message.
The co-founder of Life After Hate, Christian told the story of his personal transformation, from a neo-Nazi skinhead to someone committed to helping people escape from violent extremist groups. He talked about what led him to join the white supremacy movement and why he ultimately rejected it and has worked towards helping others to leave similar movements. He mentioned that people don’t necessarily join these movements because they believe the ideology, but rather they are typically seeking 3 basic human needs – Identity, Community and Purpose. Christian doesn’t debate ideology with extremists. He finds the root cause of why they join these movements and works with that. He has had lots of success with this approach.
Christian’s story and his work are proof that people can change and that love and compassion can triumph over hate.
Satwant Singh Khalsa
Executive Director SSSC