AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Madison Brandt said she wasn’t always hateful, but through tough times found herself angry and disillusioned.
“I was involved with different white supremacy organizations across the United States everywhere from Texas to West Virginia,” she said.
While in prison Brandt joined the Featherwoods, a group she refers to as a “bunch of redneck racists.” In 2016, she got a tattoo with a feather, representing the group, and the numbers 23 and 16.
“The 23rd alphabet of the 23rd letter of the alphabet is ‘W’ the 16th letter is ‘P’ which stands for white power,” Brandt said.
Brandy reflected on how she used to think when she saw a person of color.
“I wouldn’t go anywhere near I probably wouldn’t even have touched anything that you touched,” she said. “If I saw you like, if we were in Walmart together, and I saw you look at a shirt that I liked, I probably would not get that shirt just because you liked it.”
Brandt says her past life is something she regrets every day and the tattoo is a reminder of a darker time. She posted in a local Facebook group asking for local tattoo shops that may be able to cover-up the ink.
Brandt says she is going public to help others who may be in a similar situation.
“I’m hoping that somebody will see it and somebody will realize that all this hate that’s in the world is just too much like we are dragging ourselves down,” she said. “It’s not worth looking at your children and saying, this is the life that they’re going to live. And I don’t care if they live or die later on down the road, it is not worth it.”
Going public with her story has drawn anger from those in her past, calling her a traitor.
“If you want to call me a traitor to the white race for changing who I am into a better person, then I’ll take that. I will take it but I am at the point where I am loving everybody for who they are,” Brandt said.
Others told her that they could not accept her white supremacist past.
“There were a lot of people out there that had said once a racist, always a racist, and just completely dismissed the fact that I had changed my life around,” she recalled.
Brandt says she is considering a few options for covering her tattoo, but it will happen in the coming weeks.
She is also taking college courses at Herzing University, hoping to help juveniles in need.
When asked what she sees in the new chapter of her life:
“Happiness,” she said.