One-time Nazi now a Georgia mom: ‘I hated everybody’

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Shannon Martinez, an Athens mother and former skin-head, discusses how she became involved and how she got out of the group.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Many of the faces of the white-power demonstrators in Charlottesville were those of young people. But how do young Americans become young American Nazis?

Are far-right parents indoctrinating their kids to believe in and fight for white supremacy? In some cases, perhaps. More likely, experts say, is that some teenagers embrace hate groups because they feel as if they have few other options. Hate groups provide a sense of belonging, a sense that members are part of something.

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Shannon Martinez of Athens, Georgia, is now 43 and the mother of seven children. But when she was a teenager, Martinez says, she never felt as if she fit in.

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Shannon Martinez at her home in Athens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Shannon Martinez at her home in Athens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Shannon Martinez at her home in Athens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

"I hated everybody," Martinez said. "To be a part of a hate group, all I had to say was 'I hate black people, I hate Jews and I hate non-whites.' That was the price of admission. I was a white-power skinhead."

Click here to read the rest of Martinez's story.

Facebook discussion: The AJC is moderating a respectful discussion of what should happen next with Confederate monuments in the South: should they be removed, left alone or augmented with text that provides more context about the person depicted in the monument? Like to join the conversation? Write to us at race@ajc.com or go to the Facebook page and request admission.

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