Ottumwa tattoo artist covers racist or offensive tattoos on his birthday

Joel Garcia is dedicating his birthday as a day to cover up racist tattoos for people who want a fresh start.
Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 8:03 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has reached an Ottumwa tattoo artist, who is now offering to cover up racist or offensive tattoos for people who want a fresh start.

Joel Garcia is dedicating his birthday September 22nd to cover up racist tattoos for people who simply want a fresh start, and now understands the offensive tattoo they got in the past was a mistake.

“That’s all done away with, you know it is the past and it is over with, so we want to push forward the positivity and cover the hate, cover the hate basically,” said Garcia.

Garcia owns ‘Dedicated To The Ones I Love’, a family owned tattoo shop in Ottumwa. Garcia, is Mexican, grew up in a diverse neighborhood, and has bi-racial children of all colors, and says he can’t see why people are divided by the color of their skin.

“And some of these people exist and the mistakes that they’ve made, so I basically give them a reason to not make an excuse,” said Garcia.

Garcia says he is sympathetic to those who’ve gotten a racist tattoo and he likes to help them with the process of making themselves better.

“They can’t say ‘hey, I don’t have the money for this, hey I don’t have the money for this’. Just come and get it done that way you can get it done and that that step in your life and continually try to make yourself better,” said Garcia.

Garcia says his family and God led him to dedicate his birthday to help people cover the hate.

“For me it is just my way of giving back and I have made my share of bad choices and I just think that it is time for me to utilize what I have in my life--- the abilities that I have for better,” said Garcia.

He says covering up a few racist tattoos may not be a lot, but it goes a long way to send a bigger message.

Garcia adds that Bubba Q’s, a restaurant in Ottumwa also stepped in and is offering a meal to those who want to cover up their offensive tattoos on his birthday. Just bring in a photo showing the before and after.

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