Red Ribbon Week is the largest (and oldest) anti-drug initiative in America. Through participating in the awareness event, which takes place during the last week of October annually, Americans pledge to live life drug-free. Each year, approximately 80 million people take part in Red Ribbon Week activities. Red Ribbon Week 2013 will take place between October 23 – 31.
What does the red ribbon mean?
The red ribbon, in a nutshell, is representative of support for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). But where did it come from?
What’s the history?
In 1985, undercover agent Enrique Camarena, was sent to Mexico to investigate the Mexican army, police force and government and their involvement in cocaine and marijuana trafficking. Camarena was kidnapped and was eventually found dead.
Just weeks after Camarena’s death, high school teacher David Dhillon and congressman Duncan Hunter formed “Camarena Clubs” — a high school program in which students pledged to live drug-free. Participating high schoolers donned red badges to honor the sacrifice made by Camarena. By 1988, the red ribbon had grown in popularlity, prompting President Reagan to make Red Ribbon Week a national observance.
How can I help?
There are many ways to participate in Red Ribbon Week. For example, students still wear red ribbons to show support for the initiative. Furthermore, schools, families, religious communities and businesses throughout the country hold Red Ribbon Week events each year to continue the anti-drug campaign. Some ideas involve sponsoring an essay or poster contest, organizing a parade and decorating school and office spaces in red. You can make your message last even longer by giving away Red Ribbon Week promotional items. Look for red giveaways that will complement your event or educational materials.