Former neo-Nazi skinhead visits Beaumont to share story of redemption

While tattoos still cover his arms, you won't find the swastika Frank Meeink used to wear proudly on his neck.

"It's been removed... I have received threats, usually 'We're going to kill you because you're a race traitor'," Meeink told 12News Tuesday.

A self-described 'recovering skinhead', Meeink says he was recruited by a neo-Nazi white supremacist gang when he was just a 13 -year-old kid growing up in Philadelphia. He said he was taught to hate African Americans and Jewish people, and became violent.
     
"I videotaped the torturing of another human being... It was a horrible example of me being a human being... I basically only cared about the accolades I got from the movement," said Meeink.

But after going to prison for 3 years, Meeink says he's a changed man. He is now a youth hockey coach in Des Moines, Iowa, and a motivational speaker. He has also written a book called, "An Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead."

Meeink was invited to speak in Beaumont by the Anti-Defamation League in partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Texas. Meeink spoke to a packed room of community leaders at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Tuesday.

He told the crowd he learned to love others after becoming friends with African Americans he played football with in prison, and working for a Jewish man after being released.      
     
"Everyday he would just treat me like a human being, and everyday he would tell me nice things about myself," said Meeink.
    
"Frank Meeink's story is the kind of story that a lot of people need to hear... it's a story of repentance and redemption," said Rabbi Joshua Taub, who was one of dozens who attended the lecture.

Meeink said empathy for others was the key to changing his heart.

"I love all of you, I love being a human being, I love being a part of the human race again," Meeink said before thanking everyone who attended, who then gave him a standing ovation.


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