He was born into the KKK, never questioning it. Until someone else questioned it for him.

Shane Johnson, 26, was practically born into the Ku Klux Klan — and his body had the tattoos to prove it.

After growing up with pro-KKK uncles and cousins, along with a dad who served as the Imperial Nighthawk (or lead enforcer) of his local Indiana chapter, Shane's skin was covered in racist and gang-affiliated graffiti.

Then he had a change of heart, and he wanted to make sure his exterior matched his interior.


Image via GoFundMe Studios, used with permission.

Shane first noticed his feelings were starting to change a few years ago when he met Tiffany.

Tiffany, who Shane would eventually marry and start a family with, would ask him questions that challenged his belief system and how they didn’t match up with the man she had met and fallen in love with.

"The main one stuck in my head was, 'Could I kill an innocent black child?'" he tells me in an email. "At the time, I answered yes to her, but in my mind, and heart, I knew the answer was no. And if the answer is no, then there is an obvious flaw with what I believe. Why do I have empathy for these people I am supposed to hate?"

Image via GoFundMe Studios, used with permission.

White supremacy is one of the oldest skeletons in America’s closet.

And after the protests during the summer of 2017 in Charlottesville, its specter is back under the spotlight. But there are signs of change.

"We believed we were the superior race," Shane says. "But in reality, we were just … pushing the blame of us being failures onto others."

Once his personal awakening began, Shane and Tiffany fled his hometown to start a new life together.

Finally free of generations of hate, it would be easy for Shane to quietly move away and forever deny the shameful legacy he was born into.

Instead, knowing it could take years and thousands of dollars to cover his tattoos, Shane decided his "path of self-discovery" would involve speaking publicly about putting his racist days behind him, even if it made him a target of those still practicing hate.

"My once most-prized possession was now the biggest burden ever," he says. "It's my dream to travel, speaking to kids and others exposing the white power movement," he explains, to help them move past the hate.

Image via GoFundMe Studios, used with permission.

When Shane heard about a nonprofit group that offers to remove racist and gang tattoos for free, he connected with them.

He is now helping the company, Southside Tattoo, raise money and awareness.

"I started with his neck, replacing a swastika with roses," Dave Cutlip, co-founder of Southside Tattoo, tells me in an interview. "There's still a lot of work to do, but we're hoping to just get it to where he can wear a regular shirt in public."

Shane also was contacted by GoFundMe Studios, which produced a short film about his change of heart and public outreach efforts.

As his personal transformation continues, Shane has decided to become an activist and hopefully an inspiration for others against hate.

He's been speaking out and appearing in local TV interviews to show that people can have a second chance at a better life if they choose to let go of their hate. In fact, he's become the poster model for a fundraising campaign to help other people cover up their racist and gang ink.

Along with enjoying a renewed life with his wife and son, Shane is trying out other new experiences. Dave says after one of the re-inking sessions, he told Shane to try créme brûlée. When Shane marveled over it, Dave says he told him, "Dude, this is what life is!"

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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