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Frank Meeink: From Hate to Harmony

Feb. 22, 2013

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Former skinhead Frank Meeink will speak to Kutztown students about his road to recovery on Feb. 28, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the McFarland Student Union building room 218 (the Multipurpose room).

Under the influence of his cousin, who was a member of the white supremacy movement, Meeink became a skinhead when he was just 13. By 16, he was an infamous neo-Nazi gang leader on the East Coast and channeled his hate-filled opinions through a cable-access television show called "Reich." He landed in an Illinois prison when he was 18, after he abducted and assaulted a rival skinhead.

While incarcerated, Meeink began to reconsider white supremacist ideals after befriending men of different races. He left prison as a changed man and renounced the white supremacy movement. Meeink's decision to protest hate was solidified after he viewed images of the Oklahoma City bombing victims.

"I felt so evil," Meeink said in an interview with NPR. "Throughout my life, even when I was tattooed up and wanting to be a skinhead, I felt like maybe I was bad on the outside. But I felt good on the inside. And that day [of the Oklahoma City bombing] it switched. I felt OK on the outside, but I felt so evil on the inside. I had no one to talk to. So I went to the FBI and ... I told them my story."

Soon, he became a speaker for the Anti-Defamation League and was featured on MTV and other national networks, where he advocated for equality and tolerance.

In 1997 Meeink conceived the idea to partner with the Philadelphia Flyers to start a hate prevention program called Harmony Through Hockey and in 2010 he published his memoir, "Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead." For the past decade he has worked tirelessly to eradicate hate in America and make amends for his earlier racism.