The world seems to have gone mad some days, doesn’t it? Every day there is more news about hate crime, murder, terrorism and prejudice. It can make us fearful and feel alone. It can make us feel impotent, unable to see a future without it. It can also make us angry, so angry we act out against each other, returning the hate we feel directed toward us whether that is real or perceived. Social media, as much as I love it, can amplify these issues and spread rumors and hateful rhetoric.
We do have a choice, though. We are not forced to respond in a mindless way, we can be aware of how we are affected by these things and choose to be mindful of how we treat others and what is real and what is not real.
My guest this week is Arno Michaelis, a man who saw the truth in himself and decided to change. He has dedicated his life to helping others do the same.
In the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, Arno was a founding member of what went on to become the largest racist skinhead organization on Earth, a reverend of a self-declared “Racial Holy War,” and lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion, which is still popular with racists today.
But single parenthood, love for his daughter, and the forgiveness shown by the people he once hated helped to turn Arno’s life around, bringing him to embrace diversity and practice gratitude for all life. Today Arno is a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, and very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development working with Serve 2 Unite to foster student leaders who build inclusive, compassionate, nonviolent climates in their schools and surrounding communities. We do this by introducing students to global mentors who inspire them to create service-learning projects and share their work with the world through the arts.
Please join me this week to learn how compassion for others in our own communities can create a culture of respect and trust. Together we can create change.