By: Ali Ar Rasheed / Chief Saba
Based in Oakland, CA
Riding 40 years overall and 25 years intensely
I am extremely honored to say that I AM AN EAST BAY DRAGON.
I am probably one of the oldest “new” members of the club. During all the years that I was raising my family and dreaming of flying colors I never considered any other club but EBD. Recently I’ve been asked to explain my affection and devotion for the MC so as easily as I may roll the throttle of my motorcycle, allow me to share.
I have been blessed to be a part of some historic movements and organizations and those experiences have made me the man I am today. I didn't ride with a club for most of my riding years because I considered the commitment required to be worthy of a “150%” resolve and I couldn't realistically fulfill that at that time. I have been around the black biker set over the years, both growing up in L.A. and living in the Bay Area, and I knew that I wanted to join a club that lived up to exemplary standards.
Those exemplary standards naturally led me to The East Bay Dragons.
The EBD process starts with presenting yourself to the Officers' Table and explaining why you want to join. Most prospects know someone in the club and/or have been around the Dragons. If you are accepted then for the next three months you report twice a week to the Clubhouse Manager for clubhouse maintenance duty. In addition you will perform clubhouse cleaning & preparation for weekly club meetings. You have to be present for all meetings but cannot speak. Your clubhouse work schedule is coordinated with the Clubhouse Manager so you can maintain your existing commitments. These work duties apply to all prospects and rookies.
Upon successfully completing the Prospect stage you are presented to the full membership for a vote for approval to become a Patch-wearing Rookie for the next three months. Upon successfully completing this stage you are again presented for a vote by the full membership for permanent status.
In writing this article I fully realized that the values that my elders taught me, the standards of conduct that I have strived for all of my life, are the real reason I knew I only wanted to be a Dragon. Values drive our conduct, even if unconsciously. That is because from our values come the standards we measure our conduct by, the protocols that actually determine how we live in the world everyday. I knew from personal exposure how the Dragons take care of their own, how they treat others on the Black Biker Set and the public at large. The values I saw in action matched mine.
The Responsibility that comes with being a Dragon is not for everyone, just as living a life full of strong values is not for everyone. Some are snared in the Matrix illusions of living, while some simply lack the mental discipline necessary to live a conscious, self-directed life. Because of the Dragons'
long positive history in Oakland and on the Set, many in the public have high expectations regarding the conduct of any and all individual Dragons.
The EAST BAY DRAGONS MC VALUES ARE GOD, Family, Brotherhood, Motorcycle Riding & Community Service. Those are the values that bond us into a Brotherhood that Rides together, Serves Our Community together, and Serves Our Families & GOD as a way of LIFE. A BROTHERHOOD is an organization or group which is united for a common interest or commonly held values and whose strength is rooted in the individual uniqueness & diversity of each of its members.
My life as a patched member of the Dragons has not only met my expectations but the dynamics of the club have been incredibly rewarding as well. The Dragon members and extended family have become my new family and I’m honored to be a part of that brotherhood of Dragons.
I believe that the EBD, along with a handful of other African American MCs, are the standard bearers in contemporary African American MC culture. These MCs have ridden the waves of social & political
changes and yet remained committed to the roots of the African American MC. Some were here before the Civil Rights and the Black Power movements and continued riding as an MC Brotherhood through the turbulent years of Nixon, Reagan, COINTELPRO, Bush I, etc.
Along with longevity however comes change and a lackadaisical response to those changes. My feelings for the African American MC Community mirror my feelings for the overall African American diaspora within this country. While there are some that prey on our community, there are just as many, if not more, that live to serve and give back. I am painfully aware of how the mass media manipulates our perceptions of our own by consistently focusing on the worst elements among us. At the same time they purposely ignore those of us who work hard, create and maintain strong family relations, value education and refuse to participate in the criminal activities glorified by the mass media.
The Collective African American MC Community suffers from the same mass media misrepresentation as the general populace. There are those who believe the imagery of us as criminals on motorcycles, basically involved in the same criminal lifestyles attributed to our broad community. In reality, the Collective African American MC Community consists of professionals of all kinds, blue collar & white collar workers, union workers, small business owners, corporate employees, etc. We are Grandfathers, Fathers, Sons, Brothers & Uncles.
The East Bay Dragons MC has always been strictly an Oakland MC without any other chapters and that is an important aspect of our longevity. By existing primarily in one location, it has allowed the leaders of the club to have a true, sincere impact on all the members, new and old and vice versa. There are no “rogue” Dragons. The future will grow directly from the legacy of the founding leadership, the work of the new leaders and the collective spirit of the old & new members. The Brotherhood of the EBD will continue to represent exemplary values in whatever they do as Dragons.
Again, those exemplary values are what I attribute and associate with the Sucka Free MC blog.
I know of no other forum where the critical issues and concerns of the Contemporary MC Set are being thrashed in a brutally honest manner. Everyone who wears a patch is impacted by the mass media representations of “bikers”. We have to live with the fear and negative expectations those images generate in the general population. SUCKA FREE MC blog is an opportunity to counter the mass media representations, present hard questions to the MC world and advocate for conscious, value-based MCs that uphold the true MC legacy.
When I’m riding wheel to wheel in a chain of pairs of Dragons I am fully alive. East Bay Dragons 4 living and East Bay Dragons 4 Ever.
The Staff of Sucka Free MC is not going to show any ambiguity with our love, respect, admiration and humility to have our blog blessed by a member of the legendary East Bay Dragons. At Sucka Free we have absolutely no agenda except the promotion of traditional and sincere biker codes, protocols and lifestyle and The East Bay Dragons are an MC we have always looked up as the standard of those codes, protocols and lifestyle.
As of today we have the East Bay Dragons Golden Patch of Approval and we are honored to wear it.
Chief Saba, your Sucka Free MC tee shirt is in the mail.