Former skinhead to speak against hatred at Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines4/27/2018
Frank Meeink was just 14 years old when he shaved his head and began recruiting people into the Neo-Nazi movement in Philadelphia.
At the age of 18, he was arrested after nearly killing a man from a rival skinhead gang and kidnapping another man. While in prison, he befriended men he used to think he hated–men of different races.
Meeink will share the story of his descent into America’s Nazi underground and his ultimate triumph over hatred and addiction in a presentation titled “CAN’T FIGHT HATE WITH HATE! Peace, Respect & Empathy,” as part of Central Presbyterian Church’s new Jamie Wade Memorial Speaker Series on Thursday, May 17, at 7 p.m., in Fellowship Hall, 3829 Grand Avenue in Des Moines.
After being released from prison, Meeink defected from the white supremacy movement, and partnered with the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team to launch an innovative hate prevention program called Harmony Through Hockey. He also developed similar programs and assists in directing for Farm Tough Hockey Iowa, Xplosion Roller Hockey teams, AAA Iowa Wild, and he is a board member of the Des Moines Youth Hockey Association.
Another group Meeink is proud of helping start is www.lifeafterhate.org. Dedicated to inspiring individuals to a place of compassion and forgiveness, for themselves and for all people, Meeink co-founded Life After Hate with other former skinheads. He says, “The last two years have been unbelievably busy for us with the rise of hate groups.”
Meeink has been on the national lecture circuit for close to 20 years, speaking to various groups about racial diversity and acceptance topics. His memoir, Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story, as told by Jody M. Roy, depicts Frank’s life and choices to denounce hatred and find peace, respect and empathy in relations with people.
Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote of the memoir: “Frank Meeink’s story is inspiring, compelling, and moving. It has the power to change lives. We should all be grateful to him for sharing it.” For more information on Frank Meeink, see his online biography at www.frankmeeink.com.
Copies of the memoir will be available for purchase from Beaverdale Books. A book signing will follow the lecture.
The Jamie Wade Memorial Speaker Series is free and open to the public.
Central Presbyterian Church is inaugurating The Jamie Wade Memorial Speaker Series, named for prominent attorney and church member Jamie Wade (1948–2005), a life-long learner who appreciated diverse ideas and though-provoking conversations. The series invites noteworthy speakers to address topics that are timely and of current interest to the church and the community.
Central Presbyterian Church is a vibrant, growing congregation of nearly 600 members located on Des Moines’ west side at the corner of 39th and Grand. Attracting members from throughout the metro, from city and suburb alike, we are an inclusive church that values diversity, and doesn’t expect everyone to look or believe or think exactly alike.
Central is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), though our members come from different denominations to form a community centered in Jesus Christ. Come, take a closer look at who we are and what we do. For more information, visit www.dmcpc.org.