They’re lawyers, chefs and graphic designers. They work at JPL as engineers or at a mortuary in the IT department. But on Saturday, they donned their chaps, helmets and leather jackets emblazoned with BACA, climbed aboard their Kawasakis, Hondas and Harley Davidsons and became one of the most prominent – if not loudest – protectors of children in the nation and perhaps the world.
BACA – Bikers Against Child Abuse – held its annual 100-mile ride on Saturday and the Los Angeles chapter chose to roar its way to Big Bear to meet the 100-mile obligation.
Started in 1995, BACA works in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children, but the black vested members are able to interact with the kids on a much more personal level.
Knothead (BACA members are identified by road names they’re christened with when they’re accepted into the organization) has been affiliated with BACA since 2005 when he was living in Texas. When his job relocated him to California in 2008, he transferred membership to the Los Angeles chapter.
“BACA works with kids, those who are abused, going through the court system,” explained Knothead of his passion for the organization. He went on to say that many times when a child has to face his abuser, his parents have to be outside the courtroom when the child has to testify because many times they are a witness and will also have to testify. BACA members can accompany a child inside the courtroom and, in their biker garb, can be a powerful visual reminder that the child has someone watching out for them.
“We help empower the children, that they don’t have to live in fear, that they can tell the truth and we’re right there with them,” Knothead said.
He relayed the story of a 6-year-old child who used to sleep with a knife under his pillow fearful that his abuser would return. Once BACA members “adopted” the child and stood watch over his house, the child went to his mother and gave her the knife saying he didn’t need it anymore.
Adoptions are available for children under the age of 18 and are prompted by the child’s parent or guardian or a member of a child protection agency that is handling a minor’s case. The children have experienced some type of abuse and BACA adoptions are a response to the child’s fright or to assist a guardian who needs help. After the initial contact is made, a home visit is arranged by the BACA liaison. If it is determined that BACA could be of service and all parties welcome the connection, an adoption is arranged.
April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and the last Saturday of the month is set aside for BACA’s annual 100-mile run. Being a global organization, all chapters ride on the last Saturday of April to raise awareness of and to celebrate the brotherhood of BACA.
Thrasher, who at 21 is the youngest member of BACA’s L.A. chapter, was ready to ride on Saturday morning.
“I do it because the kids need me. It keeps me out of trouble and helps them at the same time,” he said with a smile.
The organization is growing as more and more people are learning of its existence and its mission.
“The more people know of us, the more people want to be a part of us,” said Biker Dad, a La Crescenta resident and vice president of the Los Angeles BACA chapter.
And Knothead has a message for those not interested in supporting the BACA mission.
“Join us, or get out of the way.”
To learn more about BACA visit www.bacausa.com