Authored by: Janae Briggs, Prevention and Outreach Case Manager
It’s that time of year again! Here at Youth Services and throughout the valley schools and businesses are encouraging participation in activities to raise awareness to the dangers of drugs and alcohol and providing information on different support systems that may be able to provide assistance.
In putting this blog together, I started to wonder when was the first Red Ribbon Week and why was it celebrated?
In my search, I found that the first National Red Ribbon Celebration was held in 1988 by the National Family Partnership in honor of Enrique Camarena who, even though he was only one person, felt he could make a difference battling against illegal drugs. Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent, left his office on Feb. 7, 1985 to meet his wife for lunch and was met by five men who forced him into their car. One month later his body was found. He had been tortured to death. This angered his family, friends and neighbors so they began to wear red satin badges as a symbol of his great work.
Some angered parents and youth sick of the destruction of alcohol and drugs in their communities and in response to the murder of DEA Agent Camarena began to form coalitions across the country and adopted the family, friends and neighbors symbol of Camarena’s memory by wearing Red Ribbons. The red ribbon was also used as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction caused by drugs in America. Like Camarena they believed that one person can make a difference.
Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a reminder to mobilize communities in educating their residents and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.
Here at Youth Services we will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week October 24-31. We will have activities each day for our staff and clients to raise awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. We are happy to carry on the tribute for Enrique Camarena here at Youth Services and hopefully through our efforts make a difference for the better in the lives of the clients we serve.