08/01/10 — Motorcycle riders aiming to help stop domestic violence

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Motorcycle riders aiming to help stop domestic violence

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on August 1, 2010 1:50 AM

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Troy Herring

I Refuse Ryderz motorcycle club founder Frederick Marks, left, shows Meronda Scott a pink version of the club's crest during a club meeting at Cameron's Clubhouse Friday. The club is hosting a ride Saturday to raise money and items for Wayne Uplift, an organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence.

A younger Raynardo Nobles vowed to grow into a different kind of man than the ones he grew up around.

"It made me a little nervous ... watching whoever it was beating on a woman," he said. "I said I would never do that."

But his friend, Fredrick Marks, did not understand -- at least not until he approached adulthood -- that domestic violence was abnormal.

"It didn't bother me that bad (when I was a child) because that was the way we were raised," he said. "But now we know there is a different way of living."

So Saturday, along with other members of the I Refuse Ryderz, a motorcycle club bound by a love for the freedom that comes with riding and a shared passion for helping others, the men will take to the streets to raise funds for -- and awareness about -- Wayne Uplift, an organization dedicated to wrapping its arms around today's victims.

"We have all had some type of domestic violence or abuse ... in our immediate home now or past family history," Marks said. "So it kind of hit home with everybody."

To those familiar with the biker culture, it might seem ironic that a group known for riding would stand up against violence.

But Marks insists that his club is a different breed.

"We don't even go to bars," he said. "We go to charity functions."

So he hopes that the public will take an interest in Saturday's ride -- and the women it was created to help.

Marchant Swinson knows many of them well.

During his time working in low-income neighborhoods, he has become all too familiar with domestic violence -- and has even taken several women to local shelters.

"Especially now, our unemployment situation causes anxiety ... and so there's a lot of this going around that isn't being reported," he said. "So those (victims) need to know that there are people out there who care, who will stand up for their cause."

Those who wish to join the riders are asked to show up at Cameron's Clubhouse along Ash Street at 10 a.m. to register their bikes at a cost of $10.

"I'm hoping we have a minimum of 150 to 200 bikes," Marks said. "We've spread the word around."

But the event is not only for those with a motorcycle.

A representative from Wayne Uplift also will be on hand, to offer guidance to those who might, before Saturday, not have had the courage to ask for help.

"But we're not just doing this to help (the victims). We also want people to know that there are men in this world who ... don't tolerate (domestic violence)," Swinson said. "Real men do not touch women."