Arno Michaelis completely blew my mind with the scope of his wisdom and awareness. I don’t think I have ever encountered someone with such a wide arc of transformation, going from Neo-Nazi to Buddhist pilgrim. Funny, articulate and inspired Arno was a fascinating person to connect with here. What an amazing man. Oh, and he also has a fabulous sense of humor too.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, Arno Michaelis was a founding member of a notorious worldwide racist skinhead organization, a reverend of a self-declared racial holy war, and front man 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. Author of My Life After Hate, Arno travels extensively and is very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development, in an effort to counter the cycle of violence he once perpetuated.
Hate consumed seven years of Arno’s life, and during that time, he saw close friends murdered, and others incarcerated. Fueled by rage, Arno harmed innocent people, his family, and himself.
In a glorious twist of irony, it was people who Arno claimed to hate — a Jewish boss, a Lesbian supervisor, Black and Latino coworkers – who treated Arno with kindness when he least deserved it and helped guide Arno towards a complete transformation. Altered by these examples of humanity so bravely demonstrated, he left hate groups behind in 1994 to begin a new chapter in his life.
Today he helps to run Serve 2 Unite, an organization founded in response to the August 5, 2012 Sikh Temple shooting in which a white power skinhead (who was a part of the gang Arno was a founding member of) murdered six people because he told himself a story that made him feel threatened by their culture and the color of their skin. Serve 2 Unite has inspired tens of thousands of students to cherish a common human identity while adopting service as a purpose.
Since Arno went public with his story in 2010, he’s had the honor of speaking worldwide, to audiences from Abu Dhabi to Silicon Valley, at colleges and universities, and in churches, mosques, synagogues, Gurdwaras, and Buddhist centers. He’s spoken to employees at Google and Facebook, and thousands of students from public grade schools to Harvard University.
Arno has been actively speaking on numerous major TV programs, discussing the alt-right and hate groups, providing a keen and astute understanding of what drives hate, and the tools we all have to combat it.
Arno is available to keynote and for workshops.