Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A "Cut" Above The Rest: Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) Class Visit!


On Thursday, February 11, 2016 CC Rider (President), Rev (Security Officer), Rogue (Treasurer/Court Liaison), Bobber, Patou, and Taz paid a special visit to Champlain College Lennoxville. Specifically, they came to give a talk about their organization, Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) to my class - Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Studies. Though Bikers Against Child Abuse ® - Montreal is nearing the end of its temporary charter status, it is only one of seventeen chapters in Canada alone. B.A.C.A. can be found in nine countries including the United States, New Zealand, Austria and Switzerland to name but a few.

Pic © James Armstrong
The weather was cold and driving conditions less than ideal. Yet, despite leaving Montreal at 06:00am CC Rider and his crew arrived with warm smiles and an eagerness to share their experiences with my class. Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Studies examines the cultural phenomenon of motorcycling and its use in music, literature, film, advertising and art world wide. The study of motorcycles as a form of cultural icon also serves as a basis for discussing gender, class, identity and community. Students are given the unique opportunity to examine all that motorcycling culture has to offer including the pleasure of having guest speakers like B.A.C.A.

Photo © BACA Montreal
CC Rider, President of BACA Montreal
Photo © BACA Montreal
Fresh on the heels of their recent Benefit Concert, B.A.C.A. walked into a room filled with captivated students. Each B.A.C.A. member was wearing their "cut". Despite the 1% image they sport, they are 99% all heart. I could see that my students were shocked. Though I had prepared them for B.A.C.A.'s imminent visit, it was clear that they hadn't done the mandatory reading related to them. Their eyes were wide and glued to the six bikers (five men and one woman) sitting at the front of the class. CC Rider shared B.A.C.A.'s history and mission statement. As he and his crew talked the talk, they also showed that they could walk the walk. A particularly touching moment was when CC Rider took out a plush teddy bear and explained how before it was given to a child in need that each B.A.C.A. member had to first fill it with love and courage. With that CC Rider hugged the teddy bear and passed it to Rev, who hugged it and then passed it to Rogue, Bobber, Patou, and Taz. 

Photo © BACA Montreal
Photo © Percy Hart
Another touching moment was when CC Rider pulled out a small round clear plastic bead that CC Rider called a tear drop from his pocket. "It's a reminder", he said, "whenever we see this it reminds us that at any moment there is a child in need of our protection!" I could see that my students had never encountered such a group of dedicated heroes before. It wasn't long before students had found the courage themselves to start asking questions. As teachers we often find ourselves espousing the virtues of technology. However, something is lost in translation. Words on paper or images via a two dimensional screen lose something. All but a few writers can achieve what CC Rider, Rev, Rogue, Bobber, Patou, and Taz managed to do in person. Their visit helped students understand the meaning behind the patch and indeed, the lifestyle. However, don't take my word for it, several of my students have taken the time to write about their own thoughts and experience with this class visit (see below).

B.A.C.A. Montreal meets on the 1st Thursday of every month at On Rock Community Services located at 9554 Gouin West, Pierrefonds, Quebec at 19;30hrs and is open to the public. For more information check out their frequently asked questions (FAQ's) page or contact CC Rider directly at:  

Montreal Quebec Chapter 
Currently Operating Under Temporary Charter   
Helpline  (438) 794-6200   
P.O. Box 99514  
Gouin West Montreal, Quebec   
Canada H4J 2R7  

*Special Thanks to CC Rider Rev, Rogue, Bobber, Patou, and Taz for visiting our class and sharing B.A.C.A.'s story!


Student Reviews


"Bikers Against Child Abuse’s lecture was truly unique and interesting, I learned a lot about child abuse and how the authorities work together with organizations like BACA to help those kids. I was surprised to see how kids are alone in their fight against the abuser. Most of the time even their family is against them. I was very surprised also by the difference made by BACA with these kids. “The percentage of testimony from kids who have been abused is about 5%, but with the help of BACA, this percentage raises to 90-95%.” This is a major difference. This difference, most of the time, made by a couple of visits, a teddy bear, and new friends. I don’t want to criticize how Quebec deals with child abuse, but something is clearly not working. BACA managed to find out what was not working. They are able to bring confidence to kids who needed it and it makes a great difference. These kids are going to be able to keep going in life. They will be able to overcome obstacles and their confidence is going to help them live good lives. BACA can be proud of what they do, they don’t only change the present of these kids but also their future."
- Antoine Noël

"I was really surprise about the B.A.C.A. I didn’t expect that much work this people need to put in to keep this organization up and running. At first I taught because they are a bunch of bikers they would go directly to the men or women and intimidate him but at my surprise not at all they need to follow a total protocol. I also really liked the biker mentality; you are always there for your brothers and all the rules that come from being a biker, for example you never cover your vest. We really need more people like these ones they are changing life and helping young innocent kids for nothing just to help because of their past experiences.  They may look difference but like we say never judge a book by its cover.  I hope that B.A.C.A will keep expanding and help people never live in fear."
- Jeremy K.Lamoureux

"The lecture that the BACA gave made me realize that our system isn’t fair for a lot of crime like child abusing, the only way to put the abuser out of the society is to ask the kid to relate the fact in front of is family that really don’t want him or her to say it because it is betrayal to remove a member from the family.  How can you expect a child to relive the atrocity that s/he face in front of his family that denied the truth? If s/he doesn’t the abuser is released due to a lack of proof. So I love the fact that BACA give power and the confidence to say the truth and don’t fear her/his abuser.  In fact it is nice to see that BACA use the image of the tough and mean biker to comfort and empower the kid. The anecdote about the little girl at the tribunal from CC Rider was a good example of this and at the same time it gave a smile to everyone in the classroom which is needed when we talk about serious subject as this one.  The presentation was great but if it was to be done again I would make everyone from the BACA to talk a little bit more: about their perspective of the B.A.C.A - how they joined the movement -it is not related to the BACA movement but since we are in a motorcycle class maybe to say what is their motorcycle as a little extra to the presentation! :-) I don’t know if it is just me but I would have like to learn more about how the bikers joined the movement and how they see what they do for children."
- Pierre-Alexandre Morin

"Firstly, I want to thank you for your visit. I found it very interesting and it makes me appreciate more the motorcycle's side since I learned about organization like yours. Before your presentation, I didn’t know that BACA existed and I’m very happy to know that groups like these exist around the world. The system and techniques that you used to help kids are very impressive and smart. It’s reassuring to know that other organizations are ready to protect children that are abused because there will never have enough help for those kids who must be supported. Children abused it’s a big and important problem in our society and it takes people like you to fight against this huge problem and protect these children that are less fortunate in life. Everything in the presentation touched me and make me feel/realized how we are lucky not to live it and that’s a reason to help in our way those kids that live violence and abuse whether in doing anything we can fight against children abused. You taught me that it can be easy to help an important cause in our society by doing what we love. One thing that I found very courageous it’s when a student asked a question about why you are a BACA member and one of you said ‘’I have been abused’’. I found it sad (sincerely I cried) because I can’t believe that there are people who can hurt you like that but at the same time I loved the fact that he said: I can help children that have lived something like me and prevent that it happened again. You guys are an organization that I really admire. Continue to visit other schools or do other presentations to let us know because it’s very important that our society knows you.  Thank you a lot!"
- Salma Flores-Desrochers

"I would just like to start by thanking you all for such an amazing presentation. It was really interesting to hear from men and women who are so passionate and proud of what they stand for, who never back down to what they believe in. This is a quality that I truly believe in and I am glad that this is the main point of focus in an organization that fights for such a great cause. It was remarkable to hear the members of Bikers Against Child Abuse give so much attention to the child and prioritize him before anyone else, that each and every one of you gives hope and courage to dozens of children every day. BACA members are role models, even superheroes in the eyes of the innocent child, and it is inspiring to know that youngsters across the nation will always have somebody to trust in difficult times. You all are an inspiration to so many people and I would like nothing more than to spread your vision of a world without child abuse to as many people as possible.   Thank you again for all your hard work and effort, Sincerely Yours,  An Inspired Student"
- Liam Pankovitch

"The BACA presentation was very interesting; it made me feel happy to know that there are people like them out there. I didn’t even know that BACA existed and I was really surprised to know that bikers founded an organization like BACA but, it makes sense in a way: It’s not because you’re a biker that you’re a “1 percenter” that always causes trouble, and since they have the stereotypical reputation that a lot of bikers have because of the “1 percenter” they can do some good with it. I guess not all bikers are dangerous/fight-seeking/drug dealing guys. I was shocked about the statistics that they used, I didn’t think that ¼ of girls and 1/6 of boys would be abused before being 18 years old or that 1500 kids die each year because of this. That’s a lot of kids, and no kid should live through that. And I never thought that abused kids could be downplayed by their own family in court so that the abuser won’t go in prison just because him or her is a member of the family, and the fact that it is very common is absolutely awful. The presentation as a whole was very captivating and was composed of a lot of information that was interesting, but there was a lot of statistics. I was surprised that there was a meaning behind every symbol and color in the BACA logo and that they had a very well planned intervention “system”. Lastly, I find it very brave to help abused kids like that, they said it themselves: they would take a bullet for the kid, and not a lot of people would do that, and they don’t get paid or anything, it’s all volunteering. I wish the best of luck to them and hope they can help as many kids as possible."
- Christophe Boulay

"The presentation ''CC'' gave us was really interesting. After listening to the presentation, I was very happy. As my dad says, it is a ''feel good story''. I mean, what is more beautiful than a group of bikers, covered in tattoos and piercing, with a huge beard for most of them, fighting against child abuse ? Also, I was impressed by how organized the B.A.C.A community was; the protocol they have to follow in order to accept new members, the formations they have with psychologists, and how they work with the local police and ''DPJ''. I think the very beginning of the story is quite interesting too: how B.A.C.A. was created, and why, by whom, etc. The fact that the founder of the community itself was once a bullied kid, and the role of protector bikers played for him in his youth. Moreover, it is very impressive how efficient are their interventions ! According to a study they made throughout the years, There would be about 90% more abusers that would be found guilty when bikers were involved. However, there is one thing that has been said during the presentation that I found pretty sad... The fact that bikers are seen as though guys and that they are so '' ugly'' causes the abusers to fear them and to stop contacting the child. However, because of that image people have of them, some people wouldn't work with them, and wouldn't trust them. Sadly, I have to agree with this fact. In conclusion, I think the presentation was really good and perfectly appropriate for the course. The PowerPoint was nice, too,  and the speaker was entertaining. I really liked the experience."
- William Salvail

"Last week, we had the chance to meet B.A.C.A. organization. This organsiztion is composed of  bikers who are helping child who are abused and I was very surprised that it is bikers. When I  think about bikers, the first thing that I make a reference to, is to the Hells Angels and when I saw this organization, the stereotypes that I was making about bikers have been destroyed.  In this way, it has changed my perception about bikers. Personally, I did not know that there were a lot of children who are abused every day and it is even horrible to see how big it is. The  presentation was very interesting, in the way that they help the kids, the stats about child abuse and also with the personal experiences of BACA’s members on the field. During the  presentation, I was very impressed by the promise of BACA of being always here for the kids.  Even in the middle of the night if the BACA child calls his biker friends, they will come for him, because you always come for a friend and you never let him alone. From that, I can see the  engagement of BACCA members and their patience with the child and this approach is very  beneficial for the child who has lost his trust for the adult world to rebuild his confidence. To conclude, I really liked the presentation and I think it would be good that all of the population know and recognize the excellent work of all of these members that give their time to create a better world for children, to protect our youth that will be our future. Thank you very much BACA you are doing an excellent work." 
- Gabriel Dulac

"I found the presentation very interesting. When you first talked to the class about B.A.C.A, I instantly thought of a group of regular people riding motorcycles and helping children. What I didn’t expect was what B.A.C.A really looks like. I did not think that B.A.C.A would look like genuine bikers. When I walked into class that morning, I was shocked to see 6 bikers dressed in mostly black and wearing a patch. That being said, I find it very awesome that these bikers have decided to combine their love of biking with a cause that needs a lot more attention all over the world. One thing that sucks though is that their image as bikers sometimes doesn’t allow them to go to court with the child they “adopted”. Something else that I found funny is when they fill the teddy bear with love. Never in my life would I imagine a biker hugging a teddy bear so hard that it might blow up. All this to say is that I admire their determination to help children through a very tough situation in their life. I admire the way that they don’t use violence unless violence is used against them or the “adopted child”. One last thing I admire about B.A.C.A is the promise they make to every child that they will always be there as long as the child needs them. They don’t tell the child that everything will be alright because there is no way they can keep that promise so instead they made a promise to help to the best of their ability and  always be there when the child needs them. Thank you for doing what you do B.A.C.A and for the awesome presentation about the work that you do." 
- Alexandre Audet

"After seeing the BACA members, I must say I’m quite surprised. I didn’t expect a group of hard-core-looking bikers to fight for such a cause. Usually I think of bikers as hard, intense people who are at the heart of drug distribution. With BACA, it was nice to see that stigma being thrown out of the window. Being that they don’t classify themselves as an MC, it’s more reassuring to know that these members don’t have bad affiliations of sorts, and the fact that they don’t condone violence shows maturity on their part. I learned about the various levels of action which the biker’s take when coming to a child in need. Needless to say, their commitment to these kids is utterly impressive. The fact that they progressively go up the levels as they do was, to me, solid planning. It showed that their approach is systematic, and as a result, more effective. I was also surprised to learn that they’ll go as far to play dolls with the kids to earn their trust. Being that they often deal with younger kids, it’s great to see that they do try their very best to slowly get into the child’s comfort zone, by any good means. As CC pointed out, sometimes the child refuses to come out of their room for hours, but they patiently wait until he or she feels safe enough to go talk to them. I hope the kids applaud them for their patience because from the presentation alone, I could tell they have it in excess. For instance: Always picking up the phone when the kid is calling at 1 A.M and going to talk with him or her for hours for the littlest of things speaks greatly about their patience and integrity as well.  Moreover, the fact that they uphold every promise that they make shows that they take this whole thing very seriously. It would be very easy for them to pass off as nice vigilantes who show up every once in a while. To be as trustworthy and reliable as they are however? Insane. BACA elaborated on how there is much more going on in the realm of child abuse than we know about, like the fact that for every report filed against child abuse, 3 go unreported. It opened my eyes and gave me a better sense of the situation, especially here in Quebec. I didn’t know realistically how much goes on behind the scenes so to speak, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Also, a fact that I found astounding was that the likelihood of a child confessing in court jumped by 90% in the presence of BACA than without. It goes to show how much trust these kids put into members of the group."
- Dave Lague-Lauzon

About The Student Reviews


Antoine Noël, Jeremy K.Lamoureux, Pierre-Alexandre Morin, Salma Flores-Desrochers, Liam Pankovitch, Christophe Boulay, William Salvail, Gabriel Dulac, Alexandre Audet, and Dave Lague-Lauzon are presently studying at Champlain College Lennoxville located in Quebec, Canada. Student reviews were written about B.A.C.A. class visit for a course titled Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Studies in the Department of Humanities.

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11 comments:

  1. Bravo BACA! You made a huge impression on the students!

    Jen Corbin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good day Mario:
    Thanks for sharing about BACA. I had heard of them. I hope that losing charter status is just a technicality and they will continue their work. I worked in Child Welfare services for a time and I can tell these bikers provide an invaluable service that is much needed.

    Warm regards,

    Lynn Osborne
    Instructor
    Special Care Counselling
    Champlain College - Lennoxville

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      Thanks for the reply! They have temp status because they were formed only a year ago. They are nearing the end of their temporary status and will be a full chapter soon! Next time they come I will let you know so that you can attend and maybe bring your students?

      Have a great week.

      Mario

      Delete
    2. Yes! If it works out, that would be great!

      Lynn Osborne

      Delete
  3. Hi Mario,

    Thank you for sharing this very inspiring experience. I didn't know this movement existed!

    Have a great 2-wheel season!!!


    Gloria Allain
    Instructor and Supervisor
    Special Care Counselling Program
    Champlain College Lennoxville
    819 564-3666, ext. 162

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      Thanks for the reply! Next time they come I will let you know so that you can attend and maybe bring your students?

      Have a great week.

      Mario

      Delete
    2. Hi Mario,

      Yes, I would like to know if they come back to the college; it may not be relevant to my classes per say but, I will certainly talk about it to my colleagues who are often looking for pertinent guest speakers for their classes (ex. Violence : Perpetrator and Victim).

      Thanks again. Have a good one,

      Gloria Allain

      Delete
  4. B.A.C.A. rocks..fantastic article. Well done Mario.

    Percy Hart

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just for clarification...
    An individual is not a member until they are patched. Until patched, they are 'supporters'.
    KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK BROTHERS AND SISTERS!!
    Full Charter is on the horizon!

    ReplyDelete
  6. B.A.C.A. rocks..fantastic article. Well done Mario.
    Click for more info more information.

    ReplyDelete