November 10, 2021
With a heavy heart and mixed emotions, I am announcing the difficult decision to cease operations of Free Radicals Project at the end of 2021. Effective immediately, we will no longer accept new requests for our extremist disengagement support services. — Christian Picciolini, founder
The influx of requests for help over the last three years in the wake of numerous tragic events, along with the devastating effects of the lingering Covid-19 pandemic, have made it impossible to continue this important work in the self-funded manner I’ve primarily operated with since well before our official founding as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. While we’ve accepted some necessary and much-appreciated donations along the way, soliciting funds from the public or through government grants was never how I hoped to subsidize our mission.
As the Free Radicals Project dissolves, people will undoubtedly continue searching for help in leaving hate movements and it does weigh heavily on me that they won’t be able to access our assistance. As much as I wish a plethora of disengagement experts and infrastructure existed elsewhere, the reality is that there aren’t many organizations or people doing this work. My advice to people seeking such services is to talk directly to the trusted professionals that already exist in your community: licensed therapists, psychologists, teachers, school counselors, social workers, coaches, faith leaders, life coaches, parents, grandparents, and other loved ones. Be honest with them and ask for their assistance. Help is out there, and I’ve found it always “takes a village” to truly break hate. These folks are also the early prevention network we so desperately need to invest in right now, although many don’t yet realize their potential to help counter extremism before it ever takes hold. No amount of “deradicalization” will make enough of a necessary impact if we can’t proactively prevent people from becoming “radicalized.” Prevention and accountability are key.
I also recommend the resources listed here to better understand white supremacist movements and their ideologies and tactics, how to help combat racism and extremism, as well as where to turn for urgent help.
Thank you again to those who have supported me and the mission of Free Radicals Project over the years. Let’s continue to make good happen in our fight against hate and racism. We must defeat it at its core if we hope to succeed for future generations.