Special to The Dallas Examiner
AUSTIN – In celebration of National Tattoo Removal Day on Aug. 14, Removery – the largest specialized provider of tattoo removal, change, and fade services in the world –launched INK-nitiative. The program was designed to provide safe, effective and free tattoo removal services for the formerly incarcerated, members of organized gangs, survivors of human trafficking or domestic abuse, or anyone wanting to remove radicalized, hateful or racist tattoos.
Every client who completes a tattoo removal at Removery will contribute to the program – for each paying customer, the company will donate one complete removal to someone who meets the program criteria. The community outreach initiative aims to free people of destructive images or painful reminders of the past and help them usher in a brighter future.
“Removery is a place of inclusion and empowerment, and we are committed to eradicating sources of discrimination, injustice and hate,” said Tom Weber, CEO of Removery. “Through INK-nitiative, we provide an important tool for people who want to make real change in their lives, inspire others and confidently walk the path of positive self-reinvention. And every customer who undertakes their tattoo removal journey with us is a vital part of INK-nitiative, giving someone else the gift of renewal.”
INK-nitiative is a reinvention of the INK program, a similar initiative developed by Removery predecessor, The Finery. INK – for “I Now Know” – helped more than 150 clients remove tattoos that were a result of prison culture indoctrination, as well as “branding tattoos” forced on victims of human trafficking, and has had an influx of interest in hate tattoo removal in recent months.
Terrance Lewis, who spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, got his tattoos removed through the INK program. He founded the Terrance Lewis Liberation Foundation to advocate for others who have been wrongfully convicted and challenge police and prosecutorial misconduct.
“My tattoos helped me survive the pain of prison, but when I got out, they did not reflect who I wanted to be or how I wanted to commit my life,” Lewis said. “By removing the physical scars of my past, I have a clean slate to embark upon the next chapter of my life and career, now working to reform the criminal justice system. I am forever grateful.”
Christian Picciolini, a former violent extremist, is now a peace advocate, author, producer and public speaker who had his own racist tattoos removed and now helps others overcome hate. He currently leads the Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention and disengagement network and one of many like-minded organizations helping to promote the new initiative.
“True disengagement from hate and extremism is a long and difficult process that involves much self-reflection, undergoing numerous changes, and working hard to make amends for the pain and harm caused,” Picciolini said. “Shedding the physical hate on one’s body is an important step in building a new life rooted in love. Free Radicals is excited to support Removery as they work to help former extremists on their path to create positive change.”
Enrollment for the program is now open, and those who meet the above criteria can visit https://www.removery.com to apply. Tattoos must be visible on hands, neck, face or other identifiable areas. Applicants will be enrolled based on capacity and are asked to commit to completing the treatment and aftercare.
Removery is open as per regional COVID-19 guidelines at 35 locations in Texas, as well as Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Ontario, Canada.
With a commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of clients and staff, Removery has implemented industry-leading safety protocols in accordance with OSHA guidelines for health care facilities. This includes mandatory face masks, additional PPE for staff, routine cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces and equipment and strict occupancy limits.