Byron Widner, a former white supremacist, who in the past years has settled down and led a normal family life, now takes a risky chance of removing the tattoos on his face, which caused him to be an outcast. MSNBC, who got the story, offered a picture to Associated Press, to best support the story.
As you can see yourself, at the beginning of the procedure, Mr. Widner does not look very friendly. This was the image he created for himself while being part of a white power supporter, skinhead group. He’s been “an enforcer” for his group for more than 16 years. During that time he met Julie, another member of the white power movement, who has become his wife.
Now, Mrs. Widner says that they have embraced another type of life, very different from the raging one they had lived before. “We had come so far, we had left the movement, had created a good family life”, Julie says. She and Byron have one child, but they are raising her other children together as well. However, the marks of the previous way of living were deep in his skin. This is when he realized he was caught in a vicious circle. To get the tattoos removed he had to go under surgery. The surgery must be paid, with money that he could not get, because nobody would employ him with such extensive tattoos.
Reaching a dead-end the old-school way, Widner tried to find another way to remove the ink frim his skin. “I was totally prepared to douse my face in acid”, he said.
Ironically, it was an anti-hate group led by a black man (white supremacists’ worst enemies exponenet) that saved his life. Julie turned to Daryle Lamont Jenkins, who directed her family to the Southern Poverty Law Center. There, they contacted Joseph Roy, who helped raising funds for Byron’s surgery. “Very rarely have we met a reformed racist skinhead”, said Roy who exclaimed that when Widner called him, “it was like the Osama Bin Laden of the movement calling in”.
The cost of the surgeries was 35,000 dollars. This money was gifted to Byron, through the Center, by a woman who wanted to remain anonymous. However, he had to give something back. He had to promise to go into psychotherapy, get his GED and pursue a college education.