Black Parole Officer Inspires Neo-Nazi To Turn His Life Around

If you thought people never change, consider yourself wrong. It may not happen often, but amazing changes can happen when one person touches the life of another. Even someone who is filled with hatred can learn a lesson and turn his life around. One former neo-Nazi is living proof.

Michael Kent was a hateful racist, and he fully admits it. The 38-year-old man had belonged to a white supremacist group in Arizona for more than 20 years. He has photos of himself in front of swastika flags giving a Nazi salute. He's gotten multiple tattoos featuring swastikas and slogans like 'White pride'.

Kent never thought he would change, but then he met Tiffany Whittier.

Whittier was the parole officer assigned to Kent's case. The 45-year-old African-American woman befriended Kent and somehow got through to him. Perhaps it was because she didn't judge him and offered him the compassion that he didn't offer others.

"I’m not here to judge him. That’s not my job to judge. My job is to be that positive person in someone’s life," Whittier said.

Whittier encouraged Kent to make some positive changes in his life. One suggestion she made was for him to take down the Nazi flags in his home and replace them with something more positive. She urged him to hang smiley faces.

“When you wake up and see a smiley face, you’re going to go to work and you’re going to smile," said Whittier.

Kent tried it, and it seemed to work. Slowly but surely, Kent began to change.

Because of Whittier, Kent took a job working on a chicken farm in Colorado. The majority of his co-workers are Hispanic. The old Kent never would have stood for it.

"Before all this, I wouldn't work for anybody or with anybody that wasn't white," he said. "(Now) we have company parties, or they have quinceañeras, I'm the only white guy there."

After a while, Kent even began to rethink all those racist tattoos that he had plastered all over his body. Someone helped him find a non-profit tattoo program that offers free removal of hate-related ink. He'd gotten most of those tattoos in prison, but thanks to Redemption Ink, they were transformed into more positive images.

Changing the tattoos was a painful process. He had previously only gotten tattoos in prison. Kent is glad he did it, though, and says it was worth the pain.

“I don’t want my kids to live the life I lived and live with hate,” said Kent. “I want my kids to know me for who I am now—a good father, a hard worker, and a good provider.”

On the day he got his tattoo removed, Whittier came to surprise Kent with a visit. When he stepped out to see his old parole officer, he broke into a huge smile and gave her a big hug.

"If it wasn't for her I would have seeped back into it," Kent said. "She's much more than that (parole officer). I would think of her more like family."

Source: Metro, Daily Mail
Photo: ABC News

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