WATCH: This nonprofit is covering up people's racist tattoos for free

  • A nonprofit called Redemption Ink is covering up racist tattoos for free.
  • More than 375 people are currently on the waitlist to get a tattoo covered.
  • Insider followed one man who is finally able to cover two hateful tattoos he got as a teenager, but hasn't been able to afford a cover-up himself.

Of the numerous tattoos covering his body, there are two Steven wishes he could take back: the words "WHITE POWER" on his stomach and a skull draped with the Confederate flag on his right forearm.

Steven got the racist tattoos as a teenager, when he was in and out of jail, and says getting them was "a choice to stay with the people that could keep me safe at that time."

More than two decades later, Steven is accepting an opportunity to stamp out the hateful messages once and for all.

He's one of hundreds of clients who have had their racist tattoos covered up by the nonprofit Redemption Ink.

"I will be elated," Steven, who requested anonymity for this story, told Insider. "If something comes up to where I have to go swimming with my family or something, and I won't be ashamed to take my shirt off because of what I have tattooed on my body."


Steven has wanted the tattoos gone for more than 20 years, but the high cost has held him back. That was until Redemption Ink offered to pay for the procedures in full. His first cover-up, a $520 job that turned his Confederate skull into a red rose on a teal background, is already complete, and he's due to get his second cover-up, of his stomach tattoo, in late February.

Redemption Ink was founded by artist David Brown in 2017, and operates out of Brown's tattoo shop in Colorado. Today, its wait list is nearly 400 people long.

"While we're not capable of changing each other, we are capable of giving that second shot at a first impression," Brown told Insider.

Symbols have been a uniting force among white supremacist and extremist groups. Some of the Trump supporters who recently attacked the Capitol waved flags and donned logos linked to racist rhetoric and extremist groups.

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