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A Conversation with Former White Supremacist TM Garret & Dr. Georgette Bennett

Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:00pm

Virtual Event

Join the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University as we welcome former white supremacist TM Garret and Dr. Georgette Bennett, to discuss their past and confronting hate in America moderated by Rep. Steve Israel. 

TM Garret Schmid (born September 28, 1975 as Achim Schmid ) publicly known as TM Garret, is a German-American author, producer, filmmaker, marketing expert, radio personality, human rights activist and founder of C.H.A.N.G.E, a Memphis-based non-profit organization which engages in community outreach programs, food drives, seminars, anti-racism campaigns and anti-violence campaigns. He is also the founder and organizer of the annual Memphis Peace Conference, which includes an Inter-Faith and a Community Panel and was first held at Withers Collection Museum and Gallery in Memphis on Sep 29, 2018.

Early life

TM Garret was born as Achim Schmid in Mosbach, Germany and raised in a small nearby town. He was raised by his mother, who was a cook, after his parents divorced. His father, a boatman died later when Garret was just 8 years old. He became attracted to Nationalist groups at the age of 13 and radicalized in the years after. He then joined the White Supremacist movement and founded a Series of Skinhead Bands with names like Celtic Moon, Wolfsrudel (Wolfspack) and Höllenhunde (Hounds of Hell).[1] Later he became a member of a German Ku Klux Klan faction and formed his own KKK group which he later left and disbanded in 2002.[2] Today, Garret is an anti-racist activist and lives in Horn Lake, Mississippi, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. He legally changed his name to TM Garret Schmid in 2018.

Career

After leaving the White Supremacist movement in 2002, Garret used his experience he collected during that time to found companies in the call-center and internet marketing industry as well as the music industry and also a licensed job-recruitment company. After he moved to the Memphis Metro area to work with his long-time friend and business partner Colonel Robert Morris, he founded PicArts Media, a film production and promotion company and Mid South Music Entertainment, a record label and booking company and worked with artists like Canadian Idol runner up Jaydee BixbyJimmy Miles, Dani Fouts,[3][4] T. Graham Brown and TV personalities like Mark Muller who starred in God, Guns & Automobiles as well as with “The Princess of Country Music” Georgette Jones, who is the daughter of Country Legend George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Garret sold the Entertainment group in 2015.

Awards and recognitions

On 12/5/2014 Garret and his artist Jimmy Miles were awarded with a resolution from the Alabama State Senate, signed by Senator Roger Bedford Jr.

In 2014 he helped promote T. Graham Brown’s duet He’ll Take Care of You with Vince Gill, which was part of Brown’s album “Forever Changed” which was nominated for a Grammy in the category Best Roots Gospel Album.[5]

In 2015 TM Garret was nominated Manager of the Year and Videographer of the Year at the annual Nashville Universe Awards.[6]

Published works

TM Garret published two books in Germany under his birth name Achim Schmid. “Umsatzmaschine Leads – Der richtige Umgang mit Leads” (Moneymaker Leads – How to successfully use Leads) was published in 2012 by TPV Verlag[7] and his auto biography “Wenn Alles in Scherben Fällt” (When everything falls apart) was released on Edition Widerschein in September 2016.[8]

Activism

Simon Wiesenthal Center
Garret started working with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in fall 2018, travelling to campuses to speak to students about the effects of hate and racism and the opportunities for engagement and community building. [9]

EXIT Deutschland and US EXIT Project

In 2015 Garret started working with Exit Deutschland, a German anti-Nazi organization which was founded to combat the far-right and to help people leave hate groups and became their Ambassador in the USA[9] and runs an American bases EXIT program under the umbrella of C.H.A.N.G.E. Garret is developing his own EXIT program, which includes the Erase the Hate tattoo removal campaign, participation in community events, counseling and therapy sessions, and visits to places like the National Civil Rights Museum and the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery, both located in Memphis.

C.H.A.N.G.E

After the fatal confrontation between law enforcement and Alton Sterling in Louisiana in 2016 kicked off a series of events, Garret decided to start the non-profit organization C.H.A.N.G.E Inc. which engages in Community Outreach Programs, Food Drives, Seminars, Anti-Racism Campaigns and Anti-Violence Campaigns. C.H.A.N.G.E stands for Care, Hope, Awareness, Need, Give and Education. The organization is holding recurring events in high-poverty areas and supporting black communities.[11][12]

Free Tattoos Help Cover Up Gang and Racist Related Ink

In early August 2017 TM Garret partnered with artists working at Sick Side Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio in Horn Lake, MS (Memphis Metro Area). Together they’re working to cover up racist and gang related tattoos through the Erase The Hate campaign.[13]

hateXchange

Together with other activists and members of Exit Deutschland, Garret developed HateXchange – which is the official counterpart to EXIT Deutschland’s award-winning program named Hass Hilft (Donate The Hate),[14] where residents and sponsors turn neo-Nazi marches into “involuntary walk-a-thons” by raising money for an anti-extremist organization.[15] Besides “walk-a-thons” and “park-a-thons”[16] like in on November 10th 2017 in Charleston, SC. involuntarily donations are also raised by hate comments on Social Media. $1 per collected Hate Comment is being donated to non-profit organizations like Life After HateHuman Rights Watch, the Southern Poverty Law Center and selected local non-profits.[17]

Radio career

Garret started developing one of the first web based German radio shows in 2000, which ran for no longer than six months. In 2004 he joined Radio Union with his new radio show Songwriter’s Corner, which soon aired on Sunday night’s on CountryMusic24, Germany’s biggest Country Radio Station. Garret soon became the station’s Co-Chief director until he quit in early 2006.

TM Garret and his partner Pastor Ray Johnson, who is a former black gang member, are currently hosting Let’s Erase The Hate, a weekly talk radio show, on CBS affiliate Memphis radio station KWAM – The Voice of Memphis, which can be received locally on FM107.9 and AM990, as well as an internet live stream.[18]

Dr. Georgette Bennett is an award-winning sociologist, widely published author, popular lecturer, and former broadcast journalist. An innovative and entrepreneurial leader, she is an active philanthropist focusing on conflict resolution and intergroup relations. In 2013, Bennett founded the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA) and has since worked to raise awareness and mobilize more than $150 million of humanitarian aid on behalf of Syrian war victims. In 1992, she founded the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. She is also a co-founder of the Global Covenant of Religions/Global Covenant Partners, which focuses on delegitimizing the use of religion to justify violence and extremism. Bennett served in the U.S. State Department Religion and Foreign Policy initiative’s working group on conflict mitigation, tasked with developing recommendations for the U.S. Secretary of State on countering religion-based violence. She is Immediate Past Chair of the Jewish Funders Network, and Honorary President of Religions for Peace.  She serves on the Board of Third Way, Muslim Jewish Advisory Council,  and the Advisory Boards of the International Rescue Committee, and the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Among many honors, Bennett was awarded the AARP Purpose Prize for her work with MFA and recently received an Extraordinary Women Award from the 92nd Street Y. 

The Institute of Politics and Global Affairs is a non-partisan institute dedicated to elevating public discourse and stimulating civic engagement.

Dial-In Information

https://cornell.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5chAKL-MRceEGAqPBXsLKQ

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Event Type

Webinar

Departments

Government, Institute of Politics and Global Affairs

Website

https://cornell.zoom.us/webinar/regis...

Hashtag

#IOPGAcornell

Contact E-Mail

ema97@cornell.edu

Contact Name

Emily Anderson

Speaker

TM Garret, Dr. Georgette Bennett

Dept. Web Site

iopga.cornell.edu

Open To

This event is open to current members of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs and the Cornell community. Non-Members may be considered based on availability.

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