Former Neo-Nazi and His African-American Probation Officer featured in the I Am Second Conversations series
NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 7, 2018 – A former Neo-Nazi and his African-American probation officer sit down side-by-side for a discussion on their unlikely friendship and how it forever changed each of their lives in the new Conversations film from I Am Second, a global storytelling organization.
Michael Kent experienced his first encounter with racism as a 12-year-old little boy when his black friend’s mom told her son she didn’t want Kent in his house because he was white. It was in that moment that his attitude began to change. By age 15, Kent began his involvement with Neo-Nazis groups, attending rallies and events.
Sitting across from his probation officer Tiffany Whittier, Kent admits that he has hurt a lot of people, but when Whittier arrived at his home for their first meeting – at night by herself – he knew she was different.
“I gained a lot of respect for her because I’ve never had – not even my own race, not even my own people – come to my house by themselves,” said Kent. “She showed up that day, and I realized she had some courage.”
But it was more than courage that brought these two together. Throughout I Am Second Conversations: An Unlikely Friendship, Kent and Whittier discuss their first encounter and first impressions and how their court-ordered match-up turned into friendship.
“I don’t get it but I’m very thankful that day you came to my gate,” Kent said to Whittier. “You opened my eyes to a lot of things. You let me know there is a lot of beauty in this world beyond color, beyond anything. Because you showed me more love than I got from my own race, my own culture.”
Whittier pushed Kent to remove the negative in his life and look for the positive, but it wasn’t only Kent who found his life different as a result of their relationship. Through meeting Kent, Whittier grew her own sense of purpose.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever told you but I love you,” Whittier said to Kent. “You’ve changed me.”
Kent still wrestles with issues resulting from his past, but is finding peace with the help of Whittier.
“How can somebody respect me and accept me for the things I did?” Kent questions. “That’s why I’ve had all that hate in me, because who would want me?”
Whittier’s response is simple, “God.” At the end of the powerful conversation, Whittier reminds Kent that he must forgive himself because not only has she forgiven him, but ultimately God has.
Whittier’s message is one in which all struggling with their past mistakes can find comfort. Given the rise of racial tensions in our nation, I Am Second Conversations: An Unlikely Friendship provides a refreshing look at the role of love in healing and reconciliation.
I Am Second Conversations is a new storytelling feature for I Am Second, which is best known for its White Chair Film Series. Conversations invites two individuals with unique perspectives on their shared experiences to sit across from each other and have dialogue.
“We are honored to tell this incredible story of how God used Tiffany to restore hope and bring about change in Michael’s life,” said Lance Villio, president of I Am Second. “We believe I Am Second Conversations are timely for where we are as a culture. We believe in the power of coming together in the midst of our differences. There are no good guys or bad guys, just real people. I Am Second Conversations celebrates one thing – restoration only found in Jesus.”
To watch the full film, visit iamsecond.com.
About I Am Second
I Am Second is a non-profit launched in 2008 that ignites hope and inspires people to live for God and for others. Its website, iamsecond.com, features written and film-based stories of more than 100 athletes, actors, models, musicians, cultural influencers and everyday people who have stepped in front of the camera and declared, “I Am Second.” For information, visit iamsecond.com.