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Former Skinhead Befriends Sikh Temple Member
OAK CREEK---A former neo-nazi befriends a member of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and now the duo is working together to combat hate.
The former skinhead Arno Michaelis joined Pardeep Kaleka whose father was murdered by white supremacist musician, Wade Page in the Oak Creek Sikh Temple Shooting.
They took the stage at the Cudahy High School Auditorium with a mission, "Transform tragedy and horror into a learning and growth experience," says Michaelis.
Michaelis told students about his destructive decisions as a skinhead and his days in a white power band where he'd encourage people to murder. "Wade Page was a white power skin head. He was also in a band. He was who I was."
An encounter with a stranger helped him leave behind his violent ways. One day a cashier noticed his tattoo of a swastika and said, "I know that's not who you are; you are a better person than that," recalls Michaelis. "It was random acts of kindness by strangers that helped to set me on this much more healthy and constructive path in my life," he says.
Kaleka and Michaelis ask the students to be the positive change in someone's life. "They need to reach out to people they might see suffering. If they see the problem of bullying happening around them. They need to understand that. That problem could escalate into other problems," says Kaleka.