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Tattoo Shop Offers to Cover Up Hate and Gang Symbols for Free

A tattoo parlor in Kentucky is using ink to unite communities across the country by offering free appointments to anyone who wants to cover up their hate or gang symbol tattoos. Tattoo artists Jeremiah Swift and Ryun King said they decided to offer this service as a way to take a stance amid the protests calling for an end to racial injustice.

King told CNN, “It's definitely a long overdue change. Having anything hate related is completely unacceptable. A lot of people when they were younger just didn't know any better and were left with mistakes on their bodies. We just want to make sure everybody has a chance to change.”

King's first client was Jennifer Tucker, a 36-year-old mother of two who wanted to cover up a small Confederate flag she got tattooed on her ankle when she was 18 years old. Tucker said, “I went to a school where there wasn't a single black person. ... Everyone in my school flew rebel flags and had rebel flag tattoos and I bandwagoned and got the tattoo. It was a horrible thing to do.”

After high school, Tucker became involved in various solidarity movements and peaceful protests aimed at uniting the community and fighting racial injustice against black people. A friend of Tucker's sent her the tattoo shop's Facebook post offering the free coverups, and she immediately messaged the shop asking for an appointment.

On Tuesday, after nearly 20 years of “looking down at the tattoo regretting it,” King covered up the flag with a character from the cartoon Rick and Morty. “It feels so amazing, it's life changing. I knew I had to do it, to be an example for other people who were in the same position. There's not a whole lot I can do, but this is something I can do to spread love, not hate.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

The fresh start that God offers not only changes our outward appearance but goes to the heart of our need by creating a new person within. We are then able to show love and respect to others instead of racism and hate.


Alaa Elassar, “A Kentucky tattoo shop is offering to cover up hate and gang symbols for free” CNN (6-14-20)

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