‘United Against Hate’ event’s guest speakers include former KKK leader and former white nationalist
McFarland High School chapter of an anti-hate nonprofit's event features people who de-radicalized from hate groups.
The We Are Many – United Against Hate movement is not about “us vs. them” — just take a look at two of the names on the guest speaker list at one of the nonprofit’s local chapter’s upcoming events: TM Garret, a former Neo-Nazi and former KKK leader, and Derek Barsaleau, a former white nationalist. Both will speak on Jan. 6 in an effort to stop the spread of the very thing they used to perpetrate: hate.
The event is organized by the statewide, non-partisan movement founded by Masood Akhtar, We Are Many – United Against Hate, which has been recognized nationally. The nonprofit has high school student-led chapters dedicated to changing culture and instilling respect inside schools.
“Our biggest goal is [expanding] communication and understanding differences,” says Anne Nichols, McFarland High School associate principal and district equity coordinator. “We try to create an environment where we don’t have to agree, but we can at least respect each other.”
The McFarland High School chapter was founded in 2018 as a way to promote empathy. Along with in-school initiatives, this high school chapter puts on an event once a year, like the one on Thursday.
“We want students to make sure that they know every perspective, and that they’re educated enough to make their own decisions on what they believe is right and wrong,” says Hannah Rounds, student ambassador for United Against Hate and a senior at McFarland High School. “There’s always a time to learn more.”
Attorney General Josh Kaul will join the event as a guest speaker alongside other domestic hate experts. Three guests at the end of the event have each been de-radicalized from a hate group, and will tell stories of how hate impacted their life.
“The [guests at the end] go to show that people can change, and things are not absolute,” Nichols says.”We have to realize that if we’re gonna make change, we have to talk to each other and listen.”
The Jan. 6 event is free and open to the public in-person at McFarland High School, or through a live-stream on the district website.
About TM Garret
TM Garret, is a German American who was a white supremacist with leadership roles in Europe and America. He left this lifestyle and ideology for good in 2003, and turned to public speaking and activism.
He has founded C.H.A.NG.E. a nonprofit organization that engages in anti-racism and anti-violence campaigns, an EXIT program which helps individuals leave extremist groups and ERASING THE HATE, a nationwide tattoo campaign that covers up racist and hate tattoos for free.
About Derek Barsaleau
Barsaleau was a recruiter for the National Socialists of America, as well as a member of the National Alliance and World Church of the Creator; both very large white nationalist groups. However, after a life changing experience in the United States Army where he was saved by his “Black battle buddy,” a seed of doubt was planted, and he turned away from the lifestyle in 2004.
He formed the Wisconsin Progressive Alliance in 2016 with the goal to create a hub that combats social injustice, corruption in politics and racism. Since 2018, Barsaleau has made himself available for conversations and debate that help make Fort Atkinson and Wisconsin a better place for all.
Register for the event by clicking here.
Check out a flyer with more information by clicking here.
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