Shannon Foley Martinez
There was a time when Shannon Foley Martinez and I would never have been able to sit down and have a conversation. She embraced white supremacy. I am black. I have often wanted to speak frankly with someone who has openly expressed hatred for African Americans, or for that matter, hatred for anyone. In September of this year, I got my chance.
I interviewed Shannon as part of a larger video project Lorelle Media is producing about how to counter violent extremism. When we sat down for the podcast interview, my questions came pouring out. Little did I know, my emotions would, too, as I made a split second decision during the interview to share something intensely personal. My story about being “the other”.
Shannon listened to me. I listened to her. Listening is where it begins in the quest to put an end to the “othering” that has overtaken our society and is tearing at the fabric of our democracy, not to mention what makes us human. Shannon’s journey from dysfunction to despair to dehumanization of others — and herself — is a lesson for us all. Healing from hate is possible.