According to JP Lilly, the founder of BACA, and Christy Sparti, the BACA National Art Director and originator of the BACA patch, the following areas hold significance:
White represents the innocence of the children. Red represents the blood of the children that has been spilled. The fist represents our opposition to child abuse. The skull and crossbones is the symbol to the death of child abuse. The chains represent our united organization.
Members of an international motorcycle group gathered north of the Barton County courthouse Saturday afternoon. The red and black patches on their leather jackets showed chains and the letters B.A.C.A. written across the fingers on a closed fist.
Not just anyone can wear these colors. To join, a prospective member must first undergo a background check and ride with the group for a year. Then there’s a vote by the board, which must be unanimous for membership.
The president of the state chapter, a man who identified himself only as Stixx, explained what had brought them from Wichita to Great Bend this past weekend. BACA — Bikers Against Child Abuse — was making its annual awareness ride.
Aidan Loveland Koster, executive director of Central Kansas CASA in Great Bend, was eager to join the BACA parade ride, even though she planned to follow in her van as the bikers toured the city and then headed to Eazy Street for some burgers. In many ways, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) share the same mission as BACA; when a child has been abused and enters the court system, volunteers from both non-profit groups act as the child’s advocate.
"We make sure we’re there for that child, whatever it takes," Stixx said. The group works with law enforcement, and usually gets its referrals from judges, officers or agencies such as Social and Rehabilitation Services. Befriending the child and the child’s legal guardian, BACA members share the brotherhood and sisterhood unique to bikers, becoming part of their family.
Often the bonds forged change lives.
"Kids know when a person’s real or fake," Stixx said. "They see somebody that will do what they say." Members will go to court with the children, and help them feel safe and empowered. And while BACA has a code of non-violence, members will make their presence quite obvious if someone tries to harass the family, especially as the court date approaches. They will escort the child to school or set up a trailer and watch the house 24/7, if necessary.
"All of us have jobs and families, but we take the time, because all of us have a heart for children," Stixx said.