Arkansas State University


Tom Moore
Sara McNeil

(870) 972-3056
fax (870) 972-3069

More information:

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Campus Calendar
Public activities at ASU

Campus News
Faculty and Staff

About ASU
Overview, history
and more

Former Neo-Nazi to spread the
word of understanding and tolerance

Oct. 22, 2007 -- The Student Activities Board at Arkansas State University announces Tom “TJ” Leyden as the issues TJ Leydenand awareness speaker for the fall semester. Leyden will present a lecture titled “Turning Away From Hate.” The lecture will be on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

According to the CampusSpeak publicity page, Leyden has turned away from the hatred that defined his life for so long. He is the only known former skinhead to leave the movement and retain his own name. He worked for more than five years for the Simon Wiesenthal Center teaching on the culture of hate and the importance in fighting back against it. He was invited by President Clinton to be a featured speaker at the White House Conference on Hate, and he has trained at the Pentagon, the FBI, military bases and for numerous law enforcement agencies.

He has spoken to more than 650,000 students. He has also testified against individuals on trial for hate crimes. Although he receives regular death threats and must take extraordinary measures to protect himself from his former friends, Leyden is committed to being a fierce advocate for the importance of appreciating the differences in all people.

“Mr. Leyden has now dedicated his life to confronting issues such as racism, anti-Semitism, and hate crimes through education, community involvement and social action. He does so personally, dramatically, and with sincerity through his powerful presentation,” according to Judy Shepard, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Leyden grew up in a closely-knit Irish-Catholic family in Fontana, Calif. Life began to unravel for him when his parents got divorced, and he began listening to punk rock and venting his rage by slam-dancing and fighting at weekend concerts. His violent behavior attracted the attention of local skinheads, and soon he started his own skinhead group in Redlands, Calif., at the age of 15. At 21, Leyden joined the Marines and his role as a leading recruiter, organizer and propagandist for the white supremacist movement increased. In all, he spent more than 15 years as a leader in the neo-Nazi movement, even marrying a woman deeply committed to the movement and raising two young sons in a hate-filled environment.

For more information, call Jerrod O. Lockhart, assistant dean of students, in the Tribal Leadership Center at 870-972-2055 or via e-mail at

# # #

NewsPage:  |  Back to TOP  |