Erase the hate: Local tattoo shop offering free removal for former gang members, white supremacists

Photo credit: VICE News

DESOTO CO., Miss. — A local tattoo parlor is working to “erase the hate” by offering free tattoo removals for former gang members and white supremacists.

The idea was started in 2017 by a former white supremacist himself, who wanted his own tattoo removed. It began with his tattoo removal at Sickside Tattoo Studio in Horn Lake, Miss., but now several other shops across the country have joined in the campaign.

The free tattoo removal is part of the group’s “EXIT” program, which is trying to help people fully remove themselves from hate groups and gangs – and immerse themselves back into society.

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The GoFundMe campaign has a goal of having at least one tattoo studio per state serving the campaign. They are trying to raise $100,000 to help fund the program and continue to provide these services.

The tattoo artists who are participating donate their time and do not charge for these services as part of the campaign.

According to the campaign's page, the free tattoo removal service is currently available in Jacksonville, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Anchorage, Alaska; Zanesville, Ohio; and Springfield, Missouri.

VICE recently documented the project's goals. You can view that video, along with how to donate, here.