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Alex Smoltschnik, a tattoo artist from Graz, Austria, knew that he needed to take a stand against the racism he felt all around him in the aftermath of a fatal car crash in his hometown. The incident involved a Bosnian born Austrian citizen who was a Muslim, and much to the dismay of Smoltschnik most of the talk he heard focused on the ethnic and religious background of the driver. Sickened by the attitudes he saw Smoltschnik figured that he could use his trade to fight back, so he offered free tattoos to anyone willing to get some anti-racist ink.
Almost immediately Smoltschnik, the owner of Pride & Glory Tattoo, was overwhelmed with inquiries about the free tattoos—over 500 people were interested in getting inked with a positive message with over 200 signing up onto his waiting list. The designs that have been tattooed so far are varied but they all share the same positive message.
"By getting a tattoo you're making a statement," Smoltschnik told The Gap magazine. "It is something very personal, you wear it on your body, it's very visible. But it is not enough only Facebook like something."
The majority of feedback that Smoltschnik has received since offering the free ink has been positive, but not all of it. An internet message board had to be shut down because of hateful comments. In a way the negative feedback is a lot more telling than the droves of people wishing to be inked, it proves that racism is still a major issue that needs to be dealt with. By getting an anti-racist tattoo people will have an every day reminder that there is still work to be done in our society. By wearing their beliefs quite literally on their sleeves people will be able to spread a positive message that hate will not be tolerated.
Hats off to you, Alex Smoltschnik, for this wonderful idea.