(Memphis) A man who lived as a racist for more than 20 years is speaking out against the upcoming Klan rally in Memphis.
Scott Shepherd says he’s reached out to the current Klan leader and asked for them not to come.
He’s even talked to members of the Memphis City Council. .
He says, in part, he’s making amends for his past.
Shepherd can relate to members of the Ku Klux Klan, “I was full of anger, full of hate.”
He was one of them for 21 years, “I was the grand dragon of the state of Tennessee.”
He even ran for office, appearing on national talk shows, as a racist, “I will be apologizing for the rest of my life but that’s OK.”
He’s now spreading a different kind of message, “My mission is to try and talk to some of these young people and prevent them from falling in the same racist trap that I fell into.”
He’s also trying to prevent the KKK from coming to Memphis.
A group said to representing the KKK plans to rally here March 30.
“I sent an email to the head of this Klan organization over in North Carolina, actually two. I have not gotten a reply yet,” said Shepard.
He asked the Klan leader to call-off the rally to show that they do practice what they preach, “It’s going to cause anger, racial turmoil, possible violence and things like that – things they are saying they are against.”
As someone whose participated in dozens of KKK rallies himself, he says guns and clashes with counter-protestors are part of the routine, something people in Memphis should want to avoid, “Definitely stay away from the rally site where the Klan is going to be. Just ignore it.”
Shepherd says it took him years to get past the shame and speak out against what he used to believe.
Now he hopes his words come just in time, “If I can make one contribution or help the city of Memphis, I am happy. That`s my goal.”
While Shepherd believes people should avoid the Klan rally, he says its equally important for people to hold a peaceful demonstration in a different part of the city to show unity.