Turning Racism & Extremism Into Hope And Healing

Monday, June 14, 2021   7pm–8pm ET
On Zoom Streaming Live

What does it take to combat hate? A race reconciliator and a former white supremacist who are changing hearts and minds weigh in.

Common Ground Committee and sponsoring partners Bridge Alliance and MLK50 were honored to host a special virtual event to kick off the National Week of Conversation 2021. Our guest Daryl Davis, an award-winning Black musician, race reconciliator and renowned lecturer, has used the power of human connection to convince hundreds of people to leave white supremacist groups. Fellow guest Ryan Lo’Ree, a former white supremacist and extremist, is an interventionist working to deradicalize people who have been lured into extremism and white supremacy. Watch their conversation moderated by MLK50 editor and publisher Wendi C. Thomas to learn more about strategies that work to combat hate – and how we can all play a part.

Featured Speakers

Daryl Davis
Musician & Activist

Award-winning musician Daryl Davis earned a degree in Jazz and tours nationally and internationally with The Daryl Davis Band. He is also the first Black author to interview KKK leaders and members, detailed in his book, Klan-Destine Relationships. Today, Davis owns numerous Klan robes and hoods, given to him by active members who renounced their racist ideology after meeting him. As a race reconciliator and lecturer, he has received numerous awards and is often sought out by news outlets as a consultant on race relations and white supremacy.

Ryan Lo’Ree


Ryan Lo’Ree, Light Upon Light Interventionist and Program Specialist, was once a right-wing extremist with the Rollingwood Skins, a Michigan-based offshoot of the largest Nazi movement in the United States. To finance these efforts, Ryan found himself in trouble with the law. After Ryan’s incarceration, he went through a process of transformation and healing centered around trauma associated with sexual, physical and mental abuse he endured from male family members. Ryan has helped to pull dozens of former extremists out of hate groups in Michigan.

Wendi C. Thomas


Wendi C. Thomas is the founding editor and publisher of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, an award-winning nonprofit newsroom focused on poverty, power and public policy. Thomas and her team of talented journalists are based in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed 50 years ago, and their reporting centers the people, especially workers, King died fighting for. A 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and a distinguished fellow with ProPublica, Ms. Thomas has won numerous awards for her reporting.

Presented by

Common Ground Committee

Common Ground Committee (CGC) (commongroundcommittee.org) is a nonpartisan, citizen-led organization that inspires action on polarizing issues by bringing prominent leaders with opposing views together in public forums to find common ground. Since its founding in 2009, CGC has held 14 forums featuring panelists who have reached over 200 points of consensus. Panelists have included such notables as David Petraeus, Susan Rice, John Kerry, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Steele, Donna Brazile and Larry Kudlow, exploring issues ranging from race and income inequality to foreign policy. CGC is also responsible for the “Let’s Find Common Ground” podcast and the Common Ground Scorecard, which scores politicians and candidates for public office on their likelihood to find common ground with the opposite party. Free of political agenda and financial influence, CGC has a singular focus on bringing light, not heat, to public discourse.
The event is co-sponsored by Bridge Alliance, a coalition of more than 90 organizations working to improve government effectiveness through civic reform and civil discourse, and MLK50, a nonprofit news outlet focused on the intersection of poverty, power and policy, for the National Week of Conversation 2021. As an annual event powered by the #ListenFirst Coalition, the National Week of Conversation invites Americans of all stripes to listen, extend grace, and discover common interests with the goal of transforming division into connection and understanding.