By Tufayel Ahmed On 9/19/17 at 10:57 AM EDT

Daryl Davis on turning people away from racism
Daryl Davis attends the TDI Awards during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios in New York on April 25.PHOTO: ROB KIM/GETTY


Musician and race relations activist Daryl Davis is offering his tips on how to turn people away from racist ideologies.

The black musician, who has played with everyone from B.B. King to Chuck Berry, is also known for befriending members of the Ku Klux Klanand convincing them to renounce their beliefs. 

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session Monday, Davis said he believes he is directly responsible for convincing between 50 and 60 Klansmen to renounce their extreme beliefs. He also thinks he’s “been the impetus for a couple of hundred” more people leaving.

So how does he do it? It’s all about dialogue, he said.

Davis wrote the following instructional guide, if you will, in response to a question asking how to prevent people from turning to racism:

People make the mistake of forming anti-racist groups that are rendered ineffective from the start because [they] ONLY invite those who share their beliefs to their meetings.

  • Provide a safe neutral meeting place
  • Learn as much as you can about the ideology of a racist or perceived racist in your area
  • Invite that person to meet with your group

VERY IMPORTANT – LISTEN to that person. What is his/her primary concern? Place yourself in their shoes. What would you do to address their concern if it were you?

  • Ask questions, but keep calm in the face of their loud, boisterous posture if that is on display, don’t combat it with the same

While you are actively learning about someone else, realize that you are passively teaching them about yourself. Be honest and respectful to them, regardless of how offensive you may find them. You can let them know your disagreement but not in an offensive manner.

  • Don’t be afraid to invite someone with a different opinion to your table. If everyone in your group agrees with one another and you shun those who don’t agree, how will anything ever change? You are doing nothing more than preaching to the choir.

When two enemies are talking, they are not fighting, they are talking. They may be yelling and screaming and pounding their fist on the table in disagreement to drive home their point, but at least they are talking. It is when the talking ceases, that the ground becomes fertile for violence. So, KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING.

In his own interactions, Davis said he simply wants to ask people, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”RELATED STORIES

“I never set out to convert anyone,” the musician wrote. “I just wanted the answer to my question. But over time, through repeated interactions with various KKK members around the country, some of them began questioning their own beliefs as a result of their interactions and conversations with me. Then they began quitting, and I was astounded. Exposure and one-on-one dialogue is the KEY to solving a lot of issues in this country, not just racial ones.”


A statement from NJAAH re: the attacks in New Zealand

The New Jersey Alliance Against Hate was founded on the principle that all peoples are entitled to safety, dignity, justice and respect. We are an alliance of groups frequently targeted for contempt, hate or harm. Its our intention to provide a forum where people of different backgrounds can meet, share, lament, plan when any one of the group has been a target of hate. Our member groups subscribe to the idea and action that If one of the group has been attacked, all members respond in unity in defense of that group, opposing the wrong doing. The group supports and encourages the aspiration that all children be taught within a non-bias education protocol.

In this spirit, the New Jersey Alliance Against Hate, and all our member groups, resoundly condemn the recent attacks on two Mosques in New Zealand, the murder of 50 of its members and the injury to many more. The murderer has been detained and will receive appropriate justice. The country of New Zealand has already changed its gun laws to limit access to the kind of weapons used in the murders. We applaud that courageous and decisive act.

The work of NJAAH and many, many other groups is ongoing, it is necessary, and daunting. Rejecting hate and the organizations fostering hate must go forward, on an on-going basis, on an ever-vigilant basis, on a collaborative basis. While all individual bias- reduction, hate-reduction groups must continue their work defending the members of their particular group, the work of opposing hate and bias is most powerful when all anti-hate groups stand together as well. All supportive groups, when working together are strongest when speaking in a single and loud voice.

It is NJAAH’s mission to bring all peoples together, to reject hate together and, at the same time, work on positive messaging and education in search of the path to reject humankind’s inhumanity to humankind and embrace all peoples equally and with respect. Everyone deserves a life lived in safety and a life lived with dignity.

For more information go to

FT Interfaith Council organizes vigil for 49 victims of terrorism in New Zealand

Dear friends and fellow community members,

Please join us and many of our fellow Franklin neighbors for a vigil tomorrow night in memory of the 49 victims of terrorism in New Zealand where 49 men, women and children killed praying in two mosques. 

The vigil will be held at Temple Beth El, 1489 Hamilton St. in Somerset. It will start at 8:00 pm, Saturday, March 16. 

 Let us in one voice to categorically condemn all form of hate and bigotry.  Today we are sick. Our hearts ache. Our heads are pounding. Our minds are reeling. We drop to our knees and beseech the Almighty, “How can this madness continue? How can a loving God stand by and watch this horror happen?” In the clearest of voices from the heavens, God responds, “I am not. You are letting this happen. I cannot do what you refuse to do, and if good people will do nothing to stop these nightmarish killings, I can only be here to weep with you.” 

Let’s come together and use this gathering to show solidarity and reaffirm our commitment to promote unity and understanding among all people and do our part to immunize our community from any form of hate and bigotry! 

Thank you,

Alex Kharazi, Ph.D                                                       Rabbi Eli Garfinkel

President, FT Interfaith Council                              Vice President, FT interfaith Council 

Leaving Hate Behind

On March 6, 2019 I drove Ross Wishnick to Rutgers School of Social Work in Camden where he spoke on a panel discussion entitled “Leaving Hate Behind” together with Tyree Ordein, DrPH, Safe Schools Coordinator of Garden State Equality and Ronald W. Pierce, Democracy and Justice Fellow of New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

-Lawrence R. Greenberg, PMP