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Former white supremacist found personal reasons to change. Eugene Kane, In My Opinion. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 8/31/2011)
Excerpt: Michaels said his initial attraction to the skinhead movement as a young man was "just to piss people off. Whenever I wore a 'White Power' T-shirt, I knew people didn't like it. That was my motivation."
Eventually, the lifestyle of heavy drinking and fighting other skinheads became more disruptive.
But the bottom line was watching his young daughter play with classmates of other races and realizing the kind of world she deserved.
"I knew I wanted something better for her."
These days, Michaels is a social activist who works to promote understanding between races with a personal memoir - "My Life After Hate" - and an online magazine called lifeafterhate.org where he publishes articles about racial harmony with like-minded partners.
Breaking away from the white supremacist movement was difficult but necessary for him to escape the pervasive mentality that demanded he hate other groups.
"I just realized how much better it felt leaving all that behind," he said.
With the neo-Nazi rally planned for Saturday afternoon in West Allis, Michaels has been involved with various groups planning a counter-demonstration. He warned that some neo-Nazis were probably hoping scuffles would break out with counter-demonstrators.
"When you're in the neo-Nazi movement, any publicity is good publicity," he said.