If you weren't aware, I love motorcycles. I grew up in a motorcycle family. Like most kids, I started on a little 50cc Yamaha and kept growing into big bikes in adulthood. Our two uncles came of age in the early days of motocross, and they naturally passed their passion onto us.

Any time the family got together, the old folks played dominoes while we turned the 160 acres into our own private motorcycle playground. I'm the chubby kid with the bitchin' 90s chili-bowl haircut in all my 12-year-old glory.

Julene Stegall
Credit: Julene Stegall

If you're wondering why I've mixed that personal information into this, it's so I can tell you the following controversial opinion without the expectation that I'm just some talking head with no real clue on the topic...

There are three kinds of Harley Davidson riders... The 1%'ers you imagine when talking about Harley riders. Hell's Angels, Outlaws, Pagans, and Bandito's type motorcycle clubs.

Then there are the doctor/dentist/posers that swallowed the American Chopper pill in the late 90s and earned an honorary doctorate watching Sons of Anarchy. Sports a three-piece patch not knowing any better.

Lastly, and I hope the majority, Harley riders are just fellow motorcycle enthusiasts that enjoy their time on two wheels. They might still wear their "cuts" and organize a communal ride to one destination or another, but they're not the ones fouling plugs at stoplights because "Loud Pipes Save Lives."

In that majority group of riders, there is a charter organization called Bikers Against Child Abuse and they've made it their lifes work to help children all across the world.

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BACA Nation is a collective of bikers that volunteer their time offering protection and a sense of safety to children that have been abused in life at the request of legal guardians.

From their website:

Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (B.A.C.A.) exists with the intent to create a safer environment for abused children. We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. We work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.

While "club" activities are sometimes unseen and in the shadows per se, they'll often honorarily adopt these children into the club and give them a BACA vest and a road name/nickname. They'll even escort these children to and from the courts.

If a child's attacker isn't behind bars, they'll take shifts standing a post outside their houses. In court, they'll even sit where they can block a child from having to see their attacker. It's far more wholesome a thing to do than you'd expect from such a motley crew of individuals.

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It's important to note that it's not "physical" protection they offer, it's primarily in the psychological sense. When a child is abused, it's usually a family member that has committed a heinous act. Can you imagine the emotional and psychological trauma of knowing your family unit didn't protect you? Even worse, families may get mad at a child for these accusations and accuse them of lying about their abuse. So BACA steps in to offer a sense of safety. A child's new "tribe" as many people describe it.

While they may look intimidating, on purpose no doubt, they're not entering an abused child's life to deal out swift justice to their abusers... They're helping to empower these children with the comfort and confidence to speak up.

Moreover, there are BACA chapters in almost every state in America and across many countries around the world full of members that donate enormous amounts of their time to this mission for children. If you'd like to learn more or even start the vetting process to become a member, you can get more details on the official site.

While this may read as an advertisement for BACA, it's not. Like every organization in this world, even BACA has a few disgraced former members... There are also other biker organizations out there dedicated to protecting abused children, just none so big. I just can't believe this isn't common knowledge in my circle of friends.

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