The Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) organization will be holding a 100-mile ride at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18, starting at Harris Beach, turning around in Klamath and returning to Lucky Seven Casino to end the day. They will host a poker run at the casino to raise funds for therapy, summer camps, martial arts or any needs that children have to recover from child abuse.
The ride is designed to raise awareness of child abuse. Bikers will make stops along the way in different towns to hand out fliers and let the communities know they exist and are ready to help if there is a need.
“Every child is different in what their needs might be so whatever we can do to boost the esteem of that child and take their fear away to empower them not to be afraid of the world in which they live, we do that,” said “Tattoo,” president of the Wild Rivers Coast Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse.
The bikers will leave Harris Beach around 11 a.m. and make their way through Brookings on Highway 101. Tattoo estimates that between 50 and 100 motorcycles will participate.
Traffic may be slowed during this procession. “It will be just as long as our procession is from the time we start coming through town to the time the last guys rear end is out of town, cruising at the speed limit,” Tattoo said.
Tattoo, who with fellow bikers uses street names for security, started the Wild Rivers Coast Chapter of BACA a few years ago. He states that there is a need in the Southern Oregon area to combat child abuse and establish a BACA presence in the area. Child abuse can take the form of physical or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.
“There is a need in Curry County. A lot of people don’t know it, but there are a lot of child abuse issues here in this area,” Tattoo said.
BACA is a non-profit organization that works with the court system, Child Protective Services, the Department of Human Services and local police. The members of BACA who work with the children are background checked in order to be a part of the group.
When a child is referred to them, there are many steps to be taken before that child becomes a protected member of BACA.
BACA has an active board that has to approve all new cases that they take. Once a child is referred by the court system or other agency, they meet as a group and discuss the case. Then Tattoo, a child liaison and a security officer will take a ride to the child’s home. Tattoo talks to the parents while the liaison talks to the child. Once they return from the child’s house, they discuss the case with other members. If they decide to take the it, the bikers create a “child ride.”
“Our whole chapter will get together and possible other chapters team up and we go on the child ride to the child’s house. We present (the child) with their own vest, their own patches, their own road names and we let them know that we are their family now,” Tattoo said. “If they ever feel afraid, they can call us day or night. We will be there.”
They continue to follow up for the next three months with the child, or longer if needed.
“We are with them until they are 18 years old or they say otherwise or their parents say otherwise,” Tattoo said. “We do this to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live.”
The last case that the organization took involved two children who had to testify in court against their abuser. The children wanted to testify, according to Tattoo, because they knew that they were protected and cared about by BACA members.
“The guy got 25 years. This is why we do what we do. These guys need to be put away,” Tattoo said. “The kids like our persona, but the perpetrators don’t. They are cowards and they don’t want anything to do with us because they know we won’t back down.
“There are a lot of cases that don’t make it into court, and we hope to work toward getting these cases attention and these kids help,” Tattoo said. “I have kids, I have grandchildren and I don’t understand how people can hurt kids, and I know that I can do something about it.”
Future events that the BACA members will participate in are the Party at the Port, the Pirates of the Pacific Festival and the Slam’n Salmon Ocean Derby.
To contact the organization to report a case or get more information about BACA, go to www.bacaworld.org or call 541-254-4598.