Christopher Buckley of LaFayette, GA is an Afghanistan and Iraqi war veteran. When he returned from Iraq, he joined the Georgia White Knights as an Imperial Nighthawk, because their anti-Muslim and racist values were consistent with his worldview after returning from war. Arno Michaelis, a former white power skinhead, and Dr. Heval Mohamed Kelli, a Kurdish Muslim refugee, were able to teach Chris the error of his ways and helped bring him out of the movement. Today, he volunteers at The Haven in Georgia, a local organization that helps homeless and drug addicts. He also gives motivational speeches, trying to spread awareness and educate the public about the dangers of white supremacist extremism. Chris now works with Dr. Kelli on a program called Help, Heal, Love; where they work to repair flawed thinking in hate groups and spread a message of love and healing. He also created a deradicalization program designed specifically with veterans in mind but is geared to work with all manners of hate and extremist ideology.
Melissa Buckley is Christopher Buckley’s wife and a key person in helping her husband leave the Ku Klux Klan. She realized that the KKK was damaging to Chris and their children and wanted a healthier path for the well-being of her entire family. She searched online to try and find someone to help her get Chris out of the KKK and found Arno Michaelis, a former white power skinhead, and Parents for Peace advisory board member. Over a several-month period, Melissa worked with Arno to help pull Chris out of the dangerous extremism he had become involved with. Thanks to the support of Melissa and Arno, Chris is now an inspirational model that spreads awareness about the dangers of white supremacist extremism and teaches others how to help their family members who have become involved with extremism.
In this follow-up episode, Chris and Melissa share the details of the intense emotional journey that deradicalization brought to their relationship. Melissa explains how she went about planning the intervention that eventually led to Chris getting sober and leaving the KKK. Together they tell the story of how their love for each other gave them the strength to not only deradicalize Chris but completely transform his life for the better, of not just him and his family, but also for others who have loved ones involved with extremism.
Before You Go: Rachel examines the strength and resilience that Melissa showed in planning and executing Chris's rescue from hateful ideology.
For More Info on Parents for Peace, visit:
If you are worried about extremism, you can call their helpline at 1-844-49-PEACE
For more info on Arno Michaelis visit:
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