VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A group of tattoo artists from Virginia and Israel are traveling to Virginia Beach this month to offer tattoos to those injured during the Virginia Beach tragedy on May 31.
There are 29 survivors, family and first responders who will participate in the tattoo event, which aims to heal physical and mental wounds caused by the mass shooting in Building 2 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, tattoo organization the Healing Ink Project wrote in a news release.
The event is organized by Healing Ink, an Israeli organization that tattoos survivors of war and terrorism as a way to encourage healing. Virginian tattoo artists have also collaborated to make the event possible, the release said.
The event will be held Dec. 7 and 8 at two different locations in Virginia Beach.
The victims — which include shooting survivor Melanie Coffey, a granddaughter and grandmother who lost their relative in the shooting, the first officer on scene and more — have helped design the tattoos they will be getting, the release said.
“The massacre at Municipal Building Two affected all of us in Virginia Beach. Everyone has a friend of a friend or colleague who was directly impacted in some way,” said Robin Mancoll, chief program officer of the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, which is sponsoring the program.
“We had heard about the tattoo artists in Israel who help victims of terrorism. Virginia Beach now shares that kind of pain and we want to do our part to help our community to heal,” Mancoll said.
Fourteen tattoo artists will donate “their talents” for the event, the release said.
The Healing Ink Project has also provided tattoos to survivors of Sept. 11, 2001.
“You can see how this work transcends differences,” said Craig Dershowitz, president of Healing Ink and pioneer of the international program. “The survivors of the Virginia Beach massacre carry the pain of that day written upon their bodies and their minds. These artists are going to help them write a new story of their own choosing.”