With the violence in Charlottesville Virginia and a divide in Memphis taking center stage, one Mid-South man is working to remove hate from people’s lives.
He is working to de-radicalize people as part of the Life After Hate campaign.
“I see Nazi’s and racists. That’s what I see” said T.M. Garret as he reflected on the events from Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. “I see torches and they march. It looks like Germany in 1933. That actually scares me.”
Garett has a personal connection to the imagery that he says frightens him.
In a sit-down interview with Local 24, the German immigrant candidly explained his past.
“I was a right wing extremist,” he said. “I turned into a racist. I’ve been a skin head. I was involved with the KKK overseas.”
Garret said he’s since left that life behind. Moving to the United States, he knows calls Horn Lake, Mississippi home. He’s been married to an American.
Today his extremist tattoos are gone.
” I now call myself a liberal, humanitarian, and a philanthropist,” he said.
Th 41-year-old is an Ambassador for Life After Hate. Working with the nonprofits ExitGermany and ExitUSA Garret works to help people walk away from hate and racism.
ExitUSA.org’s website states, “If you’re ready to leave hate and violence behind, we’re here to support you. At ExitUSA, we are dedicated to helping individuals leave the white power movement and start building a new life, just like we did.”
Garret takes that core mission to help reach out to people on social media.
“When I can see somebody has doubts I reach out to them,” he said. “I start a conversation and we see if we can offer them alternatives, not immediate political alternatives but human alternatives.”
And in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virgina Garret says he’s already talking to a dozen of people online.
“It’s draining,” he said. “They often fire back with hateful things but if I can pull them out a little bit then I’ve already won and it was worth it.”
For more information on the following organizations click the links below.
Life After Hate