Former White Supremacist Now Friends with Son of Man Killed at Oak Creek Gurdwara

"I'm here today because people I claimed to hate had the courage to set an example of humanity for me....

Whoopi Goldberg introduces former white supremacist Arno Michaelis who candidly talks about being a figure for hatred and what turned him around. He explains that it was the very people he hated who helped him, "I'm here today because people I claimed to hate had the courage to set an example of humanity for me. A Jewish boss, a lesbian supervisor, black and Latino co-workers treated me with kindness when I least deserved it but when I needed it most. It really demonstrated how much better life could be if I could shed this self-imposed narrative of hatred that I assumed as my identity." 

Michaelis goes on to explain his mind set and what lead him to accept his isolated ideas. 

Though he had already known he had to get out of this lifestyle it was one more trauma that was the final trigger for him. The race motivated mass shooting at Oak Creek where a white supremacist killed 6 Sikhs in a gurdwara, "The man who committed that atrocity was in many ways exactly who I used to be. He was in a white power band, he was part of the same skin head gang that I had helped to found. When I see pictures of him, I see myself. It's an incredibly uncomfortable feeling to have yourself, as the worst that you've ever been, staring you back in the face. This is someone who took the lives of of people's fathers, someone's mother, took the life of a grandfather... The last person murdered that day was a man named Satwant Singh Kaleka. He was the founder of the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and he fought the gunman with a butter knife and he was shot five times before he fell... Satwant Singh's eldest son, Pardeep Kaleka, reached out to me a couple months after the shooting..." 

Arno's interview is below in this video. In the second video below Pardeep Kaleka joins the conversation to explain why he reached out to Michaelis.    

Watch the amazing video below where Pardeep Kaleka talks about what compassion means to him, "Originally when I told people that I'm going to invite a white supremacist out for dinner and I was going to talk to him, everybody was like, 'You've lost your mind. You must being going through something, are you ok?' " He goes on to say, "Right now our relationship is like a genuine brotherhood, we hang out almost every day. He watches our kids, he baby-sits, he comes over to the house without knocking sometimes..." Arno chimes in, "I call him mom 'mom'." and adds that his mother is sometimes concerned for Arno's safety. 

Watch the rest of the interview of these courageous and unique men.     

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