Grizzly promises an eye-catching event.
For more than 150 bikers who will be riding through Courtenay in May, that’s exactly what they are hoping for, too.
The bikers will be decorated in patches, motorcycles rumbling and raising awareness for a growing movement not only within the Comox Valley, but now expanding throughout Vancouver Island.
The riders are either part of or supporters of Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.), and Grizzly (whose name is protected by riding monikers), the president of the mid-Vancouver Island temporary chapter, says the community is taking notice of the service and role they play.
“Child abuse is always swept under the carpet. There’s a stigma of shame not only for the person abused, but for their family as well.”
On May 21, the organization will participate in the 100 Mile Ride – along with every chapter across the world in 11 countries on the same day at the same time.
The ride will take bikers at Bayview Motorcycles in Parksville, to Duncan, and then back to the Filberg Centre, and members and the public are welcome to take part.
B.A.C.A is an organization with the intent to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live, while lending support to those in need. B.A.C.A. chapters work with local agencies such as victim services and other local and provincial officials who are already in place, to protect abused children by lending physical and emotional support to them by affiliation and presence.
Grizzly notes in addition to raising funds for the local temporary chapter, he hopes the event will raise more awareness, and take away the ‘bikers’ stigma.
The group, which formed about two years ago, is just a few months away from full chapter status. They began as the only one on the Island, forming after a few people saw what B.A.C.A. was online and started posting on social media. He adds there is now a group in Victoria looking at forming a chapter.
The group works in such a way when a child within the community is abused, a referring agency determines if the child is frightened by their environment.
The agency contacts B.A.C.A., a child liaison for the group contacts the family, and an initial ride is organized to meet the child at their home or at another location.
“It’s quite the sight to see 20 to 30 members on their motorbikes coming down the street,” notes Grizzly.
The child is presented with their own vest with patches related to their interests, a name (no real names are used for protection), and the child is adopted into the B.A.C.A. family.
The child is then given the name and phone numbers of two members who become the primary contacts.
The organization offers various levels of intervention. Several B.A.C.A. members will be sent to create a visual presence for further exposure.
“Because some cases go on for weeks, we can camp outside the home,” says Grizzly, and adds some of the funds raised during the 100 Mile Ride will go towards essentials such as two-way radios and lighting needed during these times.
“A lot of planning goes into this, because we don’t want to put any more stress on the child.”
If the physical presence of members does not deter the perpetrator, level three intervention can be enacted. This involves writing a formal letter drafted by the chapter president or vice-president, written on B.A.C.A. letterhead, to explain to the perpetrator members are prepared to become the obstacle to further abuse.
B.A.C.A. members also attend court to show support and solidarity.
“There’s a certain level of safety (for the child) to see our presence and feel less intimidated.”
Grizzly says the temporary chapter’s services have been used in the Valley. They have also participated in other events, such as the Cumberland Motorcycle Roundup, to bring awareness to the community.
“Kids love the bikes, and it’s really neat to let them know you’re there for them, and to show them how powerful they can be.”
The temporary chapter is hoping to raise $30,000 during the 100 Mile Ride, which includes not only the ride, but a fundraising dance at the Filberg featuring Machine Gun Kelly and a silent auction. Both events are open to the public; tickets for the ride and dance are $25, and $15 for the dance only.
For more information or to register for the event, visit Bacaworld.org or email Grizzly at firstname.lastname@example.org.