It took him 25 surgeries to be free from ‘Hate’.

How it all started.

Ex-white supremacist leader Bryon Widner had tattoos all over his body signifying his life of violence and hate. After having had enough and for the sake of his children, he decided to take a drastic step to put an end to the hate.

He decided to get rid of the tattoos. Not particularly tough to guess with all these tattoos not only covering his face and chest but his entire body, made it impossible to get work.

Changing times.

Prison time and marriage changed his outlook and he decided to come clean. He had made up his mind to do whatever it takes to get rid of the tattoos which he had gotten as a member of the Vinlanders gang of skinheads.

He had come to this decision in consensus with his wife who was also involved in the movement. They decided to seek help.

Help came from the most unexpected source.

A black man, Daryle Lamont Jenkins who is involved in the anti-hate movement offered to help. He sent the couple to T.J. Leyden, a former white supremacist who, like Bryon had ditched the life of hate.

Ultimately, Bryon came in contact with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). He was offered something he couldn’t say no to.

This is how he met Joseph Roy, an active investigator of hate groups for the SPLC. And the deal was Bryon had to speak to the police at the Skinhead Intelligence Network Conference in return he would be helped in finding a donor to pay for the tattoo removal surgery.

Continue reading to know what his next step was.

Wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

The family had to face death threats and pig manure smeared on their car. The donor had a few conditions before giving away $35000 for the surgery. He wanted Bryon to obtain his GED and take counselling. The process was extensive but results could be seen after the first rounds of surgeries.

The surgeries were done by Dr Bruce Shack at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Over a period of 16 months, the tattoos were fading away slowly. And after a good 25 surgeries, he is finally tattoo free. He can now play the affirmative role model of his 4-year-old, Tyrson.

Happy Endings.

The next big step in Bryon’s life was a documentary covering his life named Erasing Hate. Describing it as a touching moment, at the end of the screening a black woman approached him and told him that she forgave him. After that entire struggle, Bryon has finally made it to the other side of the movement. An absolutely commendable journey. This is an exemplary example of how people can overcome hate and accept peace and love.