Two tattoo artists at the Gallery X Collective in Murray, Kentucky are offering free appointments to people who want cover ups for their hate or gang symbol tattoos. CNN reports that Jeremiah Swift and Ryun King decided to offer the cover ups free of charge to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, especially as protests across the country show little sign of coming to an end soon.
"It's definitely a long overdue change," King explained. "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."
The tattoo parlor posted about the service on Facebook just under two weeks ago, and they've received over 30 requests since.
"One of the people we got was a man with both of his forearms completely covered in hate symbols, absolutely everywhere," King said. "How is this man going to interact with society with the mistakes he made 10, 15, 20 years ago? We also got a guy with a giant swastika who said he has never taken his shirt off in front of his kids. I like seeing that. I like seeing people want to change themselves for the better. That swells me full of emotions."
King explained that him and Swift will do cover up work on anyone's tattoos, even if they're not from Kentucky. One of the first clients was 36-year-old Jennifer Tucker, who had a small Confederate flag tattooed on her ankle when she was just 17.
"I went to a school where there wasn't a single Black person," she said. "Our community had no Black families, they would literally run them out every time one moved in. 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."
She said that she has since been involved in peaceful protests, including those fighting against racial injustice against Black people. She had the flag replaced with a tattoo of Pickle Rick from Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, which Tucker says she's a huge fan of. Her daughter said she was proud of her for getting rid of the Confederate flag tattoo.