Ex-white supremacist leader Bryon Widner had lived a life of violence and hate until he couldn’t take it any longer. He wanted to make a drastic change once and for all, one that would allow his children to look up to him as a role model. Bryon decided that it was time to rid his body of the hateful tattoos that characterized a low point in his life.
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Meet Bryon Widner, a previous white supremacist gang leader.
The racist tattoos that once scattered his face appeared during a time in Bryon’s life where hate ruled everything.
The tattoos weren’t limited to his face and chest. His entire body was used as an advertisement for the white power movement.
As you might expect, Bryon had considerable difficulty finding work with iron crosses and swastikas on his body that couldn’t be covered.
After spending time in prison and getting married to his wife Julie in 2006, Bryon decided that he no longer wanted racism to poison his life.
He was prepared to do whatever it would take to strip his face of all the tattoos he got as a member of the Vinlanders gang of skinheads. This urge to purge hate from his heart was so intense that he was prepared to use whatever methods necessary to erase the tattoos. In an interview, Bryon said, “I was totally prepared to douse my face in acid.”
This was a decision Bryon and Julie made together as she was also deeply involved in the white supremacist movement as a member of the National Alliance.
“We had left the movement, had created a good family life. We had so much to live for. I just thought there has to be someone out there who will help us,” Julie explained. It was time to seek professional help.
The couple reached out for help from the unlikeliest of sources, a black man directly involved in the anti-hate movement, Daryle Lamont Jenkins.
While Jenkins worked to combat the white supremacist movement that Bryon once advocated, he heard the couple’s cry for help. They simply wanted to start over again. This led the anti-hate activist to send Bryon to T.J. Leyden, a former white supremacist who was well-known for ditching a life of hate as well. Ultimately, T.J. Leyden led Bryon to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) where he would be given an offer he couldn’t refuse.