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Red Ribbon Week


Red Ribbon WeekBy Valeria QuezadaRed Ribbon week is our nation’s oldest and longest running drug awareness program, which is celebrated during the full last week of October. This year it was celebrated October 23-31stby the Drug Enforcement Administration. This year’s theme was: “Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free.”This program was started as a tribute to fallen DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena. Agent Enrique “KiKi” Camarena was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered bydrug traffickers in Mexico in 1985. People from his hometown in in Calexico, California wore red ribbons to honor him. Therefore, the red ribbon became the symbol of drug prevention use. California Congressman Duncan Hunter and teacher David Dhillon launched “Camarena Clubs” in California high schools. Embracing Camarena’s belief that one person can make a difference. In 1986, the club members presented a proclamation to Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the United States, who had initiated nationwide anti-drugprograms. The next year the parent-teacher organizations in California, Illinois, and Virginia wore red ribbons. In 1988, the First National Red Ribbon Week was organized by the National Family Partnership, proclaimed by the United States Congress, and chaired by Nancy Reagan.During1998,Certified Prevention Specialist and Elks Drug Awareness Chairman, Ed Ehmanpartnered with the DWI Program to coordinate the 1998 Red Ribbon Weekactivities. From then on, thisstartedthe DWI Program’s involvement in RedRibbon Week. Here in our own community, for many years the DWIcontinues to coordinatespeakers, organizeassemblies, classroom presentationsfor our students. As well as distributeribbons, wristbands and postersto them. They have assisted with door decorating contests, assisted students intying red ribbons on school yard fences as a pledge to live drug free. This program has set up paradesand marches encouraging students and everyone else to live a drug free life. All these activities show the community the importance of making healthy and smart decisions throughout life.Not only here in our community, but the entire nation as well. Everyone must value their life, pledging to live a healthy, drug-free life. The change beings with us, and this past week reminded us of that.The words of Ed Ehman ring as true today as they always have...“Kids are the only future thiscountry has...They have the right to mature in a safe, drug-free environment.”According to director Cindy Sharif, the Eddy County DWI Program organized the Red Ribbon Week public awarenessefforts this year.“Our mission is to explain the meaning of Red Ribbon Week and why it is celebrated annually across the nation. Current events led to remote and virtual activities to engage the public.You are influential!Be the One to talk with your children about alcohol and other drugs. Everyone can make a difference! Sharif said. Prevention educator Ashlyn Lujan reminded everyone that this year’s theme is “Be Happy, Be Brave, Be Drug Free.”DWI Data Entry Clerk Brandy Mendoza remindedthe public” Be Positive! Be the One to be drug free!”Auricular Detoxification Specialist Cecilia Salcido said, “Be a good role model for your children and your community.Be the influence!”

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