The Levine Center to End Hate was proud to welcome Pardeep Kaleka and Arno Michaelis on a special evening in November 2019 to lead our launch event, “Why Do We Hate? A Community Conversation”. The two men are co-authors of The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate.
Before a sold-out crowd that included a diverse audience of high school and college students and adults from across the area, the two men spoke of their unique friendship and their work for peace. It was an evening of inspiration and a fitting kick-off for our efforts to unite the greater Rochester community in overcoming hate through education, dialogue, and positive action.
WHY DO WE
MEET THE FACILITATORS
Pardeep is a hate and violence prevention senior advisor and the co-director of Not In Our Town, a de-radicalization and trauma specialist with Parents4Peace, assisting individuals offramp from violent ideologies. He serves as a lecturer on Peace Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
In August 2012, Pardeep Kaleka lost his father at a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. With six people dead and four wounded it was the worst race-based attack in the U.S. since the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 in Montgomery, Alabama. In the wake of his father’s murder in the attack, Kaleka has become a powerful voice against hate crime and violence.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Arno Michaelis was a leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization, a reverend of a self-declared Racial Holy War, and lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion, which sold 20,000 CDs by the mid-nineties and is still popular with racists today. Single parenthood, love for his daughter, and the forgiveness shown by people he once hated all helped to turn Arno’s life around, bringing him to embrace diversity and practice gratitude for all life. After spending over a decade as successful information technology consultant and entrepreneur, Arno is now a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, co-author of The Gift of Our Wounds, and very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development as an educator working with Serve 2 Unite.