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The Gift of Our Wounds - Pardeep Singh Kaleka, Arno Michaelis - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 10:30am</span>

The Gift of Our Wounds

10/13/2018 - 10:30am

Central Library - Community Rooms 301-302

These are tumultuous times for race relations in America. The President of the United States is routinely accused of being a racist for both his words and his policies. White supremacists are marching in the streets. Hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are being threatened with deportation. In these divisive times, two men from drastically different backgrounds have come together on a mission to stop hate. In The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate, Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Singh Kaleka, with Robin Gaby Fisher, tell the remarkable story of how their friendship grew out of a horrific hate crime. This gut-wrenching book provides a vital understanding of how to combat racism and white supremacists in order to build an inclusive society based on unity and respect.


In August 2012, Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist, opened fire in a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI. He murdered six people and wounded four more. One of the men killed that day was Pardeep’s father, Satwant Singh Kaleka—a proud American immigrant and devout Sikh. At the time of the attack, Arno, founder of one of the world’s largest skinhead organizations, had left his racist life behind. When he learned Page came from the same skinhead world he used to live in, he felt a wave of guilt and an immediate need to take action. Pardeep, devastated by his father’s death and infuriated by the attack, was trying to make sense of what happened. His search for answers led him to email Arno. The two men met and connected on a deep level. That first meeting planted a powerful seed—as Arno puts it, “A brown Sikh and a former racist skinhead, together, talking about unity and oneness.” Arno and Pardeep went on to form Serve 2 Unite, an organization that works to create inclusive, compassionate, and nonviolent climates in schools and communities.


The Gift of Our Wounds offers readers an intimate and brutally honest view of both men’s lives. That Arno and Pardeep were able to become friends and allies despite the extreme differences in their backgrounds is an example of how to bridge cultural divides. It’s not easy to read how Arno became a skinhead and the stories of his brutality. Pardeep’s account of the attack on his temple brings the full force of that tragedy to light. The lessons and awareness that come from Arno’s and Pardeep’s stories are invaluable. Readers will be inspired by their strength and vision for a better world.





Pardeep Singh Kaleka

About Presenter Pardeep Singh Kaleka


Pardeep Singh Kaleka is a licensed therapist, specializing in utilizing a trauma-informed approach to treat survivors and perpetrators of assault, abuse, and acts of violence. A native of Punjab, India, Pardeep grew up in Milwaukee. As a former police officer and educator in the city of Milwaukee, Pardeep understands the difficulties our communities face, both locally and abroad. Both in and outside of his practice, Pardeep’s passion remains one of healing and recovery. An example of this is Serve 2 Unite, an organization he founded in response to tragedy. This organization engages youth and communities at large in service learning, artistic response, and global engagement to build positive school environments and peaceful communal identity, ad- dressing conflict from a trauma-informed lens. Over the past five years, the work of Serve 2 Unite has been locally and internationally recognized as the recipient of the Guru Nanak Award and the Parliament of World Religions for the work of building safe, inclusive communities. Partnership organizations include Arts@Large, Against Violent Extremism, the Forgiveness Project, Interfaith Council of Milwaukee, and Not In Our Town.

Arno Michaelis

About Presenter Arno Michaelis


After spending over a decade as a successful information technology consultant and entrepreneur, Arno Michaelis is now a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, and very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development as an educator working with Serve 2 Unite. S2U engages students creatively with a global network of peacemakers and mentors in partnership with Against Violent Extremism, the Forgiveness Project, Search for Common Ground, and Over My Shoulder Foundation. Michaelis has traveled to Abu Dhabi, Bosnia, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and all across the United States working in counterviolent extremism efforts. He has appeared on The View, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, the BBC, and MSNBC and in The New York Times, the Huffington Post, and The Washington Post. His workshops and keynotes leverage the noble qualities of compassion, curiosity, and kindness to engage all human beings, building foundations for diversity appreciation and cultural agility. He also enjoys spending time with his daughter, art, music, and all forms of fearless creative expression, along with climbing things, being underwater, and the wonderful natural beauty of our planet Earth. Learn more at http://mylifeafterhate.com.


The Gift of Our Wounds

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