NJ Congress Candidate Has High Praise For Ex-Hate Group Leader

Eric Kiefer
·3 min read

NEWARK, NJ — John Mirrione is friends with a man who once served as a leader in the Ku Klux Klan.

That statement is enough to sink most U.S. Congress candidates like rocks in a pond. But when it comes to TM Garret – a reformed KKK leader and neo-Nazi – Mirrione knows he’s backing a winner.

As he buckles down for his campaign to capture a seat in New Jersey’s 10th District this fall, Mirrione is continuing his efforts to promote “human equality” through his nonprofit, Harmony Power Foundation.

Recently, Mirrione honored Garret, a German-American human rights activist, with a Harmony Power Award, holding him up as an example of how someone can transform hate into love.

According to Garret’s website:

“As a former neo-Nazi and KKK leader, who left hate groups and extremist ideology behind in 2002, he now is a motivational speaker against hatred and anti-Semitism. In 2016, he founded CHANGE, a nonprofit organization engaging in community outreach programs, food drives, seminars, anti-racism and anti-violence campaigns. In 2018, he founded the annual Memphis Peace Conference. Garret also works closely with the Simon Wiesenthal Center and has lectured at schools like Harvard, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Boston Law School, Hotchkiss and Pomona.”

“I’m blown away by his ability to have transformed himself as well as his ability to transform others on a world-wide scale,” Mirrione said.

Speaking via Zoom to Mirrione, Mike Cohen, the head of the Museum of Tolerance, and Mickey Palmer, a board member with the Harmony Power Foundation, Garret said he was humbled to be recognized.

“Everybody needs to hear this message of kindness, of the compassion that changed me – the compassion that, back then, I thought I didn’t deserve,” Garret said.

“Everyone is biased in their own way,” he added. “Embrace others who may look different, who pray different, who love different, who vote different. Sit down with those people and embrace them – find the commonalities that are so much bigger than what stands between us.”

‘BARE KNUCKLES TO CONGRESS’

On the same day he paid tribute to Garret, Mirrione, a martial arts expert, did some motivational work of his own, breaking his 10th world record during an event in front of the Liberation Memorial in Jersey City. This time it was for “bare knuckle push-ups” – 40 in 30 seconds.

Watch the record-setting video below, which was certified by UK-based Record Holders Republic.

Mirrione, who is running for Congress as a Libertarian, used the event to push for two issues on his campaign platform.

“The physical pain of setting this world record does even scratch the surface of the pain of anti- Semitism and veteran homelessness,” said Mirrione, a U.S. Air Force veteran.

The 10th District includes the following municipalities: Bloomfield, East Orange, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Maplewood, Montclair, Newark, Orange, South Orange, West Orange, Bayonne, Jersey City, Hillside, Linden, Rahway, Roselle, Roselle Park and Union Township.

Learn more about Mirrione’s campaign here.

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This article originally appeared on the Newark Patch