The Levine Center to End Hate next week will host an event that seeks to answer the question: Why do we hate? The inaugural event will feature a former skinhead and a Sikh whose life was changed as a result of that skinhead’s gang.
Pardeep Kaleka’s father, a leader of the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wis., was murdered by a white supremacist in 2012. Arno Michaelis spent years committing violent acts in the name of white power and helped start the gang that produced the mass shooter who killed Kaleka’s father.
The two men have been in dialogue since 2013 and have co-authored “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate.” Since 2013, their educational organization Serve2Unite has engaged thousands of school students to address a number of social issues including racism, homophobia, sexism and religious intolerance, among other things.
The Nov. 21 event will be held at the Lyric Theatre. The following day, Kaleka and Michaelis will speak at this year’s ROC2Change Student Summit on Race, sponsored by the Pittsford Central School District.
The Levine Center to End Hate was established last fall when the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester received a $1 million gift from the William and Mildred Levine Foundation to combat bias and intolerance. Former Jewish Federation director of community relations Karen Elam serves as director of the new center.