When you look at a tattoo of a sultry woman with her hands on her face, no one would have ever guessed that it used to be a tattoo of a Confederate flag.
"For us, on average, cover ups are taking about six hours to complete," said Esmailin Sanchez, Chakra Tattoos. "I'm genuinely doing this for free. Anyone who wants to make a change in their life and have a racist tattoo covered."
These free cover ups are being offered by Esamailin Sanchez and his wife Sarah, the owners of Chakra Tattoos in Matawan.
After the recent outcry for racial equality, the 35-year-old tattoo artist had an idea about how he could use his 13 years of experience to contribute to the cause.
"I feel like giving these people a second chance," Sanchez said. "Makes me a happier person."
Since he announced the free service on social media, Sanchez has received more than 200 requests for coverups from all over the country with clients coming from California, Ohio and Tennessee.
"I'd say about 60% weren't really racist, it was just I want to be down, too," Sanchez said. "And then they went through experiences in their lives and they're like no, I'm not a racist. It's just a stupid tattoo."
And then there are some customers who were once extremists and have since changed their views.
"This guy is married to a black woman now and he has biracial kids. And now his mind is completely open to a different perspective," Sanchez said.
"Are you getting hate messages from people who feel these symbols are valid?" Eyewitness News asked.
"Yeah, unfortunately I do," he said.
"Have you been called the N-word because you're doing this?" Eyewitness News asked.
"Yeah, absolutely," Sanchez said.
But neither racist words nor symbols phase Sanchez, as he's trying to change the world by literally erasing the hate.
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