A Black Pastor Baptizes Former White Nationalist
One year after Ken Parker let his racism and prejudice compel him to side with a neo-Nazi group in a violent Charlottesville, Virginia white nationalist rally, he was baptized by a black pastor.
Parker was on hand at the Unite the Right rally which took place in Charlottesville on Aug. 11 and 12 of last year. The events which stirred racial tensions between protesters and counter protestors also led to the death of a 32-year-old woman named Heather Heyer.
Also present was documentary filmmaker Deeyah Khan. Khan was there filming a new documentary “White Right: Meeting the Enemy;” a film about hate groups in the United States
“I pretty much had heat exhaustion after the rally because we like to wear our black uniforms, and I drank a big Red Bull before the event. And I was hurting and she was trying to make sure I was OK,” Parker recalled to NBC News speaking of . “She was completely respectful to me and my fiancée the whole time. And so that kind of got me thinking … just because she’s got darker skin and believes in a different god than the god I believe in, why am I hating these people?”
Months later, Parker had a chance meeting with William McKinnon III, his neighbor who happens to be an African America pastor at All Saints Holiness Church. After Parker and his then-girlfriend asked McKinnon some questions and engaged in a lengthy dialogue, the preacher invited them to church.
There, Parker shared his testimony and received love in return.
“I said I was a grand dragon of the KKK, and then the Klan wasn’t hateful enough for me, so I decided to become a Nazi — and a lot of them, their jaws about hit the floor and their eyes got real big,” Parker recalled. “But after the service, not a single one of them had anything negative to say. They’re all coming up and hugging me and shaking my hand, you know, building me up instead of tearing me down.”
Ex-KKK member denounces hate groups one year after rallying in Charlottesville. https://t.co/YXbe1Unp6b
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 11, 2018
Last month, McKinnon baptized Parker who has since began the process of removing tattoos that are symbolic of his past filled with racism and prejudice. Aside from apologizing for his past actions, Parker is also letting people who follow similar white nationalist movements know that they can choose another path.
“I do apologize. I know I’ve spread hate and discontent through this city immensely — probably made little kids scared to sleep in their own beds in their own neighborhoods,” he said before addressing people in groups like the Neo-Nazis. “You can definitely get out of this movement. I mean, I was into that so much — it was my life, for six years.”
After telling people to “get out” he added, “you’re throwing your life away.”