FBI Chicago Announces Recipient of Director’s Community Leadership Award
CHICAGO—Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Ashley T. Johnson announced today that community organization Ink 180 has been named the 2021 recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) for the Chicago Division.
Ink 180 is a non-government organization established in 2011 to provide free tattoo removals and conversions for vulnerable individuals. Since 2012, Ink 180 has partnered with the FBI to extend services free of charge to former gang members and victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and self-harm. Ink 180 has provided approximately $1.4 million in free services to give a second chance in life to over 7000 people.
“Ink 180 gives hope to those starting over, removing not just tattoos but also the pain of the past,” said Johnson. “The Director’s Community Leadership Award honors those in our community who step up and inspire others to start again. It is an honor to present FBI Chicago’s 2021 DCLA to Lisa and Chris Baker, owners of Ink 180.”
As many victims have little access to tattoo removal services in their own communities, Ink 180’s owners Lisa and Chris Baker use a mobile tattoo removal unit to travel where they are most needed at their own expense. The Bakers have also established a network of partners across the country to provide services and education to local citizens, hospitals, and police.
In addition to tattoo removal and educational services, the Bakers were instrumental in the passage of state legislation in 2014 allowing victims under the age of 18 to have trafficking or gang tattoos removed or covered legally. Prior to the passage of this legislation, child victims required permission from their parents—many of whom could not be located or had victimized their own children—to receive these life-changing services.
Established in 1990, the DCLA honors individuals and organizations for their efforts in preventing federal crimes and enhancing law enforcement efforts in their communities. This award is given annually on behalf of FBI Director Christopher Wray. For additional information about the DCLA, https://www.fbi.gov/about/community-outreach/dcla.