Back in early June 2011, myself and 3 friends took a historic ride to Topeka KS and expressed our right of free speech on the doorstep of the WBC or "they" as I call them. {Westboro Baptist Church.} You know who I'm talking about; those whack jobs who think picketing a funeral is Ok.  Well, I decided enough is enough and was going to express my right of free speech on their sidewalks under the same 1st amendment "they" use. Come to find out, there are thousands who feel the same way.  On June 11th, 2011, Journey 4 Justice was born due to the outcry of support and people from all over the country wanting to do the same thing. Read the original article that spawned a group here.  And in just 3 short months, we have already changed the way "they" do things and it's time others take notice and during our 2011 National Rally, the City of Topeka did just that!  Please make sure you have a half hour to spare before reading this blog as it is loaded with fun!


To be honest, I don't even know where to start.  There were so many amazing things that happened during our Rally weekend and I don't want to miss any of those great moments or miss out on mentioning key and critical names but I am going to do my best on sensory overload.  The following article is written strictly from the heart so please enjoy.

12 States were represented with 22 teams and over 100 bodies that traveled in excess of 100,000 miles to attend the September 9-11 National Rally in Topeka KS.  Our host in Apple Valley, Chunkie Dunkers in the Grainery Saloon were  more than gracious and the food and landscape was perfect for our first year event.

To see everyone come together from all walks of life was truly amazing to see.  It didn't matter if you were a Democrat or Republican.  We didn't care what sports team you cheered for {though there was plenty of friendly smack talk going on...and still is; thanks Lesli and Jerry}  We were all in Topeka for one reason and when you stood next to someone you had never met till that day it was like you knew them since High School. In fact, one of the most amazing things I have seen since the rally is the hundreds of friend requests going on in FB from those who had just met for the first time and these are lifelong friendships being forged.  Who would have thought one simple ride could unite so many great people from all across the country.

One of the biggest questions asked is "What does Journey 4 Justice stand for and what do you do?" Well, here is a quote from a new life long friend that sums up very nicely what Journey 4 Justice is all about:

Freedom of speech is a right ... and I wouldn't want it taken from me ... but with rights comes responsibility and "they" are consistently irresponsible with their right to free speech ... it is this irresponsibility that we oppose ...Erik Jon Barrett / TL Team Ohio 1

Well said Erik! We are just a group of people who are sick and tired of letting the WBC get away with what they get away with. Here is something that has been on our FB group page and around FB in general from a Topeka resident that again sums up what we are about and why we do what we do.

It's the hate

It's the shame

It's the disrespect of our town, state, and country

It's the child abuse publically displayed

It's the fact they chose to hang our Nation's flag upside down

It's the fact that they feel they have the power/right to destroy life

It's the fact that I can't go to the circus, grocery store or a funeral without having to see them

It's the fact that Freedom has come at a cost, even for people like them

It's the fact that Mr. Phelps has destroyed his only family, now he has to destroy ours

They have sucked the fun out of this town!

They are an imbarassment to our Nation and they need to be stopped!

It's the fact that it has been going on TOO LONG!!

We are out to change the way "they" do things and some of our goals for the year have been accomplished in just 3 short months:

  • No more small kids on the street holding hateful signs. Only High School age and above
  • Signs were made just for our group: Bikers are Cowards {I have never been more flattered}
  • Now "they" claim "services" run DAILY from 7am to 3pm yet not one of our team members have been allowed to a "service" for 10 weeks now. {Used to be just Sunday from 10am to 3pm till we showed up!}

Here is another life changing moment from one  of our members:

I have been to Topeka before, but this weekend I was there for a different reason. My first flag patrol, standing on the corner of Gage and 10th, I was overwhelmed by the feelings of support and thanks with all of the passerby’s honking their horns and cheering. The first 10 minutes I thought it was just because of the flags we carried, but it took a 10 year old boy in an SUV for me to understand. The SUV was stopped at the light and I saw the boy talk to his mother, then roll down his back seat window. He leaned out the window a bit and told me “Thank you for representing our country on our corner. When you are here, they don’t stand on the corners with their disgusting signs. It makes me feel good inside when I see you guys. Oh and my mom says thank you too.” I wanted to say something, but the words wouldn’t come out, the lump in my throat and the tear in my eyes wouldn’t allow it. My 19 year old daughter had to thank the boy as they drove off. At that moment I realized, this boy was only 10 years old and the signs of hate have been on these corners his whole life. We did make a difference to that young boy and many others that day. I didn’t want to leave that corner, with my flag, for fear the signs would sneak back. I know, when the signs come back, we will be there for the next 10 year old that needs to see his park, his corner, his town, in a new light. I couldn’t share this story with anyone last weekend, because just thinking of it got me very emotional, I never would have gotten the words out. I still have a hard time typing it remembering the smile on that 10 years face. We made a difference, this weekend and many more weekends to come. Eric Turner / TL Team Indiana 1

To get you started, check out this great video on how we started our Saturday morning bright and early. {Video courtesy of Phat Ratt Photography}

We started Saturday morning with an invitation to attend a "Celebration of  Life" at the home of Cindy Horton who lives right across from the cult compound.  Since there wasn't enough room for all of us at once to park in front of the compound we went in 3 waves of about 20 bikes apiece.   We parked on a "public street" right in front of the compound and went to a private residence across the street for juice and donuts and to reflect on the 9/11 tragedy.  Oh sure, "they" called the Topeka PD and the first officer who showed up was peeved that he had to do his job.  He told me this was "getting annoying" and that we were gonna "ruin his day."  Oh, sorry.  Serious?   Click Here for the video. {Video courtesy of Alex Stalker}

Here is a short video of me being asked to join Officer Trimble in his squad car:  Click Here {Video courtesy of Alex Stalker}

We handed the officer an invitation and reminded him that we were doing nothing illegal...unlike that cult compound.  I watch enough "Cops" to know that if anyone else called in so many bogus calls they would be ticketed as being a "nuisance call."  So, why does the Topeka PD not do their job?  Good question! Everyone is scared to death that the big bad phelps clan will sue them for doing their damn job!  Well, we aren't scared and we have only just begun!   In fact, one of the phelps clan actually waved a running weed whacker at one of our members on Saturday the 10th of September.  Still hoping to find THAT video...


So, after we got done with our "Celebration of Life" we all went back to Gage park to re-stage and then all of us at one time saddled up and "took a parade tour ride" around the compound to say hello one more time including Genia Meyer who came all the way from Texas with her Vespa packed in her van to ride with us that day!  And here is a POV video of the same ride. {Video courtesy of Sandra Gorney}

One of the most touching moments for me personally, was during my rally speech at Gage park before the Parade ride and poker run. First, a lady by the name of Genia Meyer approached me and presented me with her "Challenge Coin Medallion" that was given to her as a Gold Star Mom.  She drove from Texas to personally give this precious coin to me because she wanted me to have it.  Have you ever been speechless?  You see, they lost their son Brandon in 2008 and "they" showed up to her sons funeral.  I just can't imagine. So for her to hand me that coin on that day was almost overwhelming.

SPC Brandon Abbott Meyer: You gave all!  I will cherish this gift from your Mother as you cherished God, Family and Country!  I am honored. C Barnes


As I had just overcome those emotions and continued with my talk, a gentlemen eased his way through the crowd and asked if I was Charley Barnes.  After saying I was {and then looking for backup} he approached me and said "I just drove 8 miles from the Mexico border to shake your hand. Donald Mitchell from South Texas and I am honored to be here" {Photo above}

Again, speechless!  What do you say to that and to ALL the people just like them when "Thank You" seems so tiny and non significant.

Our members have been asking to attend services for 10 weeks now and not one of us has been allowed in this LOCKED PUBLIC CHURCH!  Here is video of Kansas 2 TL Ray Finley asking to go to church as we do every weekend and now some weekdays since they claim they have services daily. Click Here {Video courtesy of Alex Stalker}

And here is a great video of the Topeka PD showing up to answer a complaint call from the wbc and they wouldn't even answer the door.  We do have video of them actually banging on their door but to no avail.  If you or I did that we would be in court for a nuisance call or false reporting!  {Video courtesy of Brad Kochen - Colorado 3}

And yet another video of of Kansas 1 TL Al Smeal and Jonathan Huss from Team Topeka trying to get in to attend a service in this "public" church a few weeks ago.  Click Here {Video courtesy of Nancy Oakley}

Journey 4 Justice is about trying to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Come on Topeka...your a 120,000 bodies strong.  Step up and help rid your city of it's foul infested problem.  You now have hundreds of people traveling thousands of miles to help you but we can't do it on our own.  Help us take back your city.  When you see us on your street corners waving our State flags every single weekend, stop, get out, and wave a flag with us!  If a team from New York and Ohio and Mississippi can make it to town, so can you. {Colorado alone has 9 teams}  And yet we have less than a dozen on Team Topeka.  Bravo to them and to "Bonnie and Clyde" who are the tenacious team leaders.  On behalf of ALL the J4J members...we salute you!

That pretty much sums it up.  Of course I will think of things to add and/or change as soon as I publish this but remember, I am not a blogger but rather a regular schmo with a burning passion to do the right thing.  I did want to share one more pic for this blog as it is one of my favorites as well.  It was taken by the daughter of our Indiana 1 TL, Emelie Tramm who had the picture on her FB page with this title:  "It's amazing what you see during a moment of silence." {Photo below - the shadow belongs to Missouri 5 team member, Gene-O Overhoff}


If you want to build  your own "team page" on FB, and we hope you do, please use this example of how it should be titled exactly for branding and marketing reasons.  ALL pages MUST look the same. And if you are ready to form your own team just head to our website and click the "form team" button on the drop down menu.

EXAMPLE: Journey 4 Justice: Team Ohio 1


You can see the complete photo gallery by Phat Ratt Photograhy by clicking here and the complete photo gallery by Alex Stalker by clicking here and the group album is here. You can purchase any and all your prints and memories directly through their website and we hope you will.

Speaking of  Phat Ratt, one story I still love hear is Ripple Ratt's Sunday 6AM wake up call.  Ripple is one of those old school bikers who had been known to sleep and live on and with his bike.  It's his life. So he rides old school and loud.  When we all got together at Gage park Sunday morning and I made my rounds of hand shaking again I asked how everyone slept out at the rally site and all I heard was "good, till Ripple gave us a 6am wake up call."  Ripple believes in starting the day early to catch the good pics. We love ya man!  Here is one of the many posts from Ripple's FB page since the rally that I wanted to share with you:

I have attended and photographed over 400 biker charity events in the past 6 years. Talk about been there and seen that. So I thought. This past weekend with J4J in Kansas was different. I'm not sure how to explain it. It was like I knew everyone for years, no uneasy feelings or tension, peaceful partying, nice ride home, good new friends who I can never repay for helping me out, and why?  Just cause that is how they are.  If you or someone you know was personally and forever taken over by overwhelming feelings of love, kindness, tears, friendship, patriotism, respect, gratitude and justice served due to Journey 4 Justice or Charley Barnes and wish more could have in their hearts the love and pride you cannot possibly explain, but will hold and cherish in your heart forever, please repost as a means to thank them for their contribution they have made to your life. God Bless America and Journey 4 Justice !!


Lev.19:16-18 ‘You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD. You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

If you would like to help support our 501C3 non-profit group we have a full store with gear on our website and now have new logo decals for your bike windshields/helmets for only $2 and larger decals for your cars for only $5 and that includes shipping.  We also have left over rally shirts for $15 and that includes all shipping and handling as well.  If you would like decals or rally shirts or decals please mail in those orders.  You can mail your checks to Journey 4 Justice, P.O.Bx 337736, Greeley CO, 80633.  Make sure to include your size and choice of color: Blue or Black.  If the color you want is gone but available in the other we will send you that one. Please make sure to include size and quantity of decals wanted and your phone and email address.  We also have a 4-tier sponsorship level or you can just use the "donate" button on our website.  There are no administrative fees and all monies raised go straight into our "donut" fund which will be used to help spread our word and stomp out the vile hatred "they" spew!


Don't forget to like us on Facebook and if you like what we are about and want to form a team or just become an official member sign up on our Journey 4 Justice website.

Finally, I HAD to share with you this video made by Erik Jon Barrett / TL for Team Ohio 1. Make sure you watch it to the very end as the last line is my favorite part I think.   Feel free to sing along!