Former Neo-Nazi Frank Meeink is scheduled to speak at SHSU at 8 p.m. on Feb. 18 in the Smith-Hutson Auditorium.
“As programming chair, I’m always looking for important programs. (Meeink) used to be a Neo-Nazi skinhead – that’s controversial,” said Laura Springel, programming chair of Program Council.
Springel said Program Council first scheduled the event last semester.
She said Meeink lived a life of hate and racism before making a miraculous turnaround after time spent in prison.
“Frank Meeink became a skinhead at 13,” Springel said. “By 18, he was a skinhead leader and Neo-Nazi recruiter, with gangs that would beat people indiscriminately and videotape their torture.”
Meeink was later jailed and sentenced to three years in prison, where he met the men who would change his life.
A group of black men invited him to a Bible study they held together, and Meeink was enlightened at what he saw. The men in the group, held hands prayed together, and befriended Meeink regardless of his past.
Once released from prison, a Jewish doctor offered to remove Meeink’s racist tattoos. He briefly reunited with his Neo-Nazi friends, but realized he could not turn his back on the men who accepted him in prison. He then made the decision to resign from bigotry.
Since the life changing events, Meeink underwent, Springel said he is committed to speaking out against all hate groups.
Meeink has made guest appearances to spread his message on The Today Show, CNN and MTV.
“He’ll talk about how he made the turnaround…and how it’s possible to change anybody,” Springel said. “The whole point behind the program is changing your life and accepting your faults.”
New Line Cinema even made a movie about Meeink’s life – “American History X.”
Hillel, SHSU’s Jewish student organization is also involved in the program.
“Hillel has been essential in supporting and backing the program,” Springel said.
Jason Plotkin, Hillel president, felt that the organization needed to get its name out on campus, and decided to get involved.
“I think this is a worthwhile event because being a former Neo-Nazi, he will speak about tolerance,” Plotkin said.
Plotkin said that Meeink’s message against discrimination is valid and can be related to the fact that it is Black History Month.
“His message is the same – for tolerance and against bigotry,” he said.
All students are invited to attend Meeink’s speech and are encouraged to ask questions and participate.
Program Council asks that all attendees please show respect and courtesy of the speaker and other members of the audience.