Joseph Reed belongs to an organization called Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.). He is president of the Buffalo Creek Chapter in Waxahachie, Texas.
I met Joseph when I was covering a story in Milford, Texas in which the ladies of the Titus Women’s Club were passing out coats to children for winter. B.A.C.A. was at this event because they had donated some coats to be given out. You can imagine my surprise when several bikers in leather vests and bandanas, all on motorcycles came into the Milford Senior Citizens building to help hand out coats.
After being introduced to the “bikers” I was able to talk to Joseph about the B.A.C.A. group. B.A.C.A. is a strong organization of dedicated individuals that are willing to sacrifice anything to protect and secure the children’s basic right to a happy childhood.
The way this works is, B.A.C.A. will be notified of a child that needs help from Child Protective Services (CPS). Then the “bikers” will visit with the child and invite them to join their “family”. Joseph explained, “We bring them into our family by making them feel like they are a part of our family. We ride motorcycles, we wear leather vests, we look like bikers, some of us really are bikers. After they join our “family” we give them a vest so they feel like they look like us. We assign road names, if they have a name they would like to use, they use that name, if not then we assign them one. My road name is Coonie.” There are two reasons why they have road names, one is to make them feel a part of the crowd and the second is for security reasons. “We don’t like people knowing who our kids are. With road names no one knows who our kids are. Most of our membership doesn’t even know what our kids real names are, it is wonderful security,” explained Reed.
Once the children are a part of the B.A.C.A. family, they take them camping, give them parties and also offer them someone to talk to when needed. They also will go to court with them if the child wants them to. Most of the time the parents cannot be in the courtroom with the child and they are alone and afraid. “There are a lot of times a kid has to go through something so traumatic that they are usually the only ones in the courtroom. Because the parents cannot be there with them, they are in a courtroom full of people they are not familiar with, so we go with them. They recognize our faces because of the relationship we have made with them. We make them feel safe and they know they are not alone,” Reed said.
Joseph explained that they (B.A.C.A.) can do something that a lot of people can’t do. “Unfortunately there are times where the perpetrator might be trying to intimidate the family before they go to court. If that is the case, we will go to that house and surround the house of the child for twenty four hours a day until either the perpetrator gets the message or he gets picked up by the police and put in jail. Not even the police departments can surround a house twenty-four hours a day, but we can. We have 21 chapters in the state of Texas and we draw people from all over when we have to do something like this. And then we go to court with them to show continued support.”
After the court process is over B.A.C.A.‘s goal for the child is to be able to move on with their life. “We are not a permanent fixture in their life, we don’t want to be a permanent fixture in their life, we want to come, help them, support them, empower them and hope that some day they will be ready to move on in life.” Reed continued, “The unfortunate part about it is there are so many kids out there that are abused and people just don’t realize how many there are. B.A.C.A is about 660 members strong in the state of Texas. We cover pretty much every corner of Texas. We will ride anywhere to help a kid, that is what we do.”