The Martin Luther King Jr. Society of Saint Michael’s College in Vermont hosted speaker Arno Michaelis, author of My Life After Hate. Michaelis was brought to campus to share his story and educate the campus on hate and how to combat it. Michaelis is a former member of a white power skinhead group and front man for the hate band Centurion. Michaelis re-called the chain of events that led him to this lifestyle, including his childhood and desire to be hated, that drew him to become a neo-Nazi. Growing up with an alcoholic father, living in a miserable home environment, pushing everyone that loved him away, becoming a school bully, street fighting, vandalism and alcohol, were all significant factors that lead him to white supremacy. According to Michaelis, hate became his perpetual state of mind and he received this immense high when people hated him.
The turning point for Michaelis was an encounter with one of his coworkers. Michaelis recalls; “I was this miserable, pathetic, hungover fool, and I’m starving… and one of the black guys at work was sitting down, and he has his lunch… and he’s got a sandwich that he’s cut in half, and he sees me there in the corner and he’s like ‘hey, skinhead, you want half this sandwich?” Michaelis recalls how it was the kindness of those who forced him to face his own hypocrisy that led to him to be freed from hate. Michaelis now works with “the organization Serve 2 Unite, which is dedicated to helping young people create inclusive, safe, and peaceful communities. He travels across the country sharing his story in an effort to combat the kind of hate he once spread.”
To read more about Arno Michaelis’s speech, please view Saint Michael’s College news.