After hearing John's story, I was inspired to set up this fundraiser to support a remarkable individual who's dedicating his life to spreading a message of hope and promoting dialogue between people of different backgrounds. Together with his friends here in Belgium, I aim to raise the funds to bring him back to Europe to speak in our communities, and beyond.
John's story is one of resilience, courage, and redemption, the kind of story you see in Hollywood movies. As a young Jew in Florida in the 1980s, he was an anti-racist skinhead who was forcibly recruited by a neo-Nazi organization. He rose through the ranks of the white supremacist organization, but his life took a dramatic turn when they discovered his Jewish identity. John was brutally attacked by his former comrades and left for dead. Miraculously, he survived and went on to testify against his attackers in court.
Since then, John has been on a mission to inspire others to begin change and work towards a more tolerant and inclusive society. As a motivational speaker, he shares his story with audiences around the world, from Israel and Northern Ireland to Europe and the United States.
He has spoken before small groups and to audiences of thousands at schools, churches, synagogues, and universities. John is uniquely qualified in bringing together people in conflict to hear his story: Arabs and Jews in Israel, Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, and mixed assemblies of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and Humanist classes in Europe.
However, John's work is not without its risks. In today’s times of increasing violence, intolerance, and hate, John knows that each time he gets on a plane, he might be attacked by the racist groups that still seek to end his life, but he knows his work must be done. He wants to challenge people to fight for change, to accept one another, to make a difference in their communities and make our world a better place.
Since rebuilding his life abroad he’s unfortunately had to face a new battle - cancer. He has undergone multiple brain surgeries since 2009, the most recent being in 2022. Despite his surgeries, lack of management and funding, he continues to speak and inspire others. Much of John’s work has, to date, been at his own expense but the progression of his cancer means time is now of the essence and he is no longer able to self-finance.
Please help John continue his work and spread his message of hope. Your donation will help cover John's travel, accommodation and living expenses associated with his motivational speaking engagements.
€4,000 will bring John back to Belgium to further his work here and across Northern Europe.
Ultimately we aim to push past this and raise a further €2,000, enough to get John to the UK where speaking engagements are forthcoming but financing is not!
Every little bit helps, and we appreciate your support in helping John continue to make a difference in our world.
Please visit John's website to learn more about his story and how you can help support him in his mission to inspire positive change.
"To help us understand the mechanics of radicalization, John also talks about the “how” and “why” of his story, in order to help prevent it. A refreshing and most important effective approach.”
Karel Goetghebeur - Sax4Pax Belgium