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Life After Hate & ExitUSA

Helping individuals move away from a life of hate and violence.

There are currently 930 active hate groups in the United States, the majority of which are white supremacy groups. This number is up from 300 groups just 15 years ago and shows no signs of slowing down. gravitytank partnered with EPIC (Engaging Philanthropy, Inspiring Creatives) to help Life After Hate, an organization dedicated to educating the public on hate groups, define their future and stop hate groups from growing. Over the course of 6 weeks, gravitytank helped Life After Hate create a new organization called ExitUSA, focused on helping individuals leave white supremacy groups and build a better life.

UNDERSTANDING THE PULL OF HATE GROUPS

In our research, we heard first hand accounts we never could have imagined from individuals we never thought we would talk to. We heard stories of botched bombings, ATF standoffs, and life or death turning points that caused these former white nationalists to start a new life. One resounding truth we heard was that ideology isn’t the main reason people join hate groups. The majority were pulled in during their early teenage years at a time when they were feeling isolated from their peers and family. Once the group takes hold, the individual becomes so dependent, addicted, and insular it is hard to pull them out.

Client

Life After Hate

Industry

Non-Profit

Featured Outcomes

Full brand identity

Provocative launch campaign

SOLVING NEEDS WITHOUT ATTACKING IDEOLOGY

Because so many anti-hate organizations try to attack their ideology, many individuals who want to leave these hate groups feel they can’t turn to these organizations for help and instead decide to stay. Leaving a group takes more than raw willpower; hate groups instill a sense of dependency in their members. These people have given everything to the group–community, job, and, in some cases, their body–which makes it impossible to leave successfully.


In order to help individuals in hate groups exit, organizations have to focus on the practical side–help them find a new job, a new place to live, and tattoo removal. This is the focus of ExitUSA: engaging individuals who want to leave hate groups by leading them to a future where they are self-sufficient.

gravitytank helped ExitUSA develop a 5-year roadmap with a series of service concepts around partnering with employment training organizations and other community services to deal with these practical concerns.

“It was impressive from a creative perspective but the level of depth, detail and research and understanding that was apparent blew me away. I got the feeling you got us and understood where we were coming from...”
— Tony McAleer, Executive Director, Life After Hate

A FAMILIAR APPROACH IN AN UNFAMILIAR SPACE

Life After Hate tasked gravitytank with creating a brand identity and launch campaign for ExitUSA. We immersed ourselves in some of the most common hate groups’ visual communication strategies to understand what appeals to hate group members. We then applied our learnings to create an identity for ExitUSA that would resonate with individuals in white power organizations. Using the visual audit of hate groups and anti-hate organizations, we developed a brand that combined the bold and contrasting look of hate groups with the contemporary design language of a forward-thinking organization.


We not only considered the aesthetics choices that come along with belonging to a white power organization, but also the mental state of these individuals. Former members describe hate groups as paranoid. In order to put their minds at ease, we created a landing page that has a “quick escape” to allow member to quickly close the ExitUSA website to reduce the risk that someone might find out they’re thinking about leaving the organization.

PLANTING SEEDS

Creating an organization with a compelling brand identity was only half the battle; the real challenge is trying to attract those who are considering leaving hate groups to ExitUSA. Given the insular and cult-like nature of hate groups, we had to determine the most effective communication strategy for ExitUSA. We focused our outreach on planting small seeds of doubt in the ideology of hate groups in order to expose the irony of their beliefs and actions. This manifested in a variety of ways, including counter-narrative video ads on social media and thought-provoking imagery in the campaign design.

A BRIGHTER FUTURE

gravitytank is honored to have worked with ExitUSA, the first organization of its type launch in the United States. With a newly-created brand identity, campaign strategy, outreach landing page, and a roadmap for the future, ExitUSA is ready to start de-radicalizing members of the white supremacy movement and help individuals get their lives back on track.

“For people like EPIC and yourself, the project and contribution doesn't end the day of the wrap up. Your contribution and fruit of your labor will go out for years. You find out you had an effect on one person and they've had an effect on another person. It's amazing how it spreads. ”
— Tony McAleer, Executive Director, Life After Hate

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