Ken Parker, a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, attended the Charlottesville, Virginia, rally last year to “stand up for [his] white race.”
Parker, who was both a KKK Grand Dragon and an American Neo-Nazi, might have describe himself as being filled with hate a year ago, but since the rally in Charlottesville, Parker has completely reformed and found a new faith in Jesus Christ.
NBC News reports that Parker was one of the hundreds of white nationalists who gathered around the Robert E. Lee statue in the city’s Emancipation Park for a “Unite the Right” Rally. The rally turned into a riot and left one dead, injuring several others.
Parker told NBC News the protest “was thinly veiled as an effort to save our monuments, to save our heritage.”
He continued, “We knew when we went in there that it was gonna turn into a racially heated situation, and it wasn’t going to work out good for either side.”
After the rally was broken up by law enforcement and declared an unlawful assembly, Parker and other members of the KKK reportedly dispersed. This was when Parker met filmmaker Deeyah Khan, who was making a documentary on hate groups.
Parker told NBC News “She was completely respectful to me and my fiancée the whole time. And so that kind of got me thinking: She’s a really nice lady. 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?”
It was this interaction that reportedly started to change Parker’s heart.
Parker told the network that a few months later he noticed his African-American neighbor having a cookout outside his home and he decided to go over and talk to him. Little did Parker know, his neighbor, William McKinnon III, was a Pastor at All Saints Holiness Church. Parker and his fiancée sat down with McKinnon asking him a battery of questions, and eventually McKinnon invited Parker to the church’s Easter service.
Parker had the opportunity to share his testimony in front of the church, saying “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. But after the service,” he continued, “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.”
Parker was baptized in the Atlantic Ocean a few weeks ago and is now a member of the predominantly African American congregation.