Red Ribbon Week
Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention awareness event in the nation reaching millions of Americans during the last week of October every year. By wearing red ribbons and participating in community drug prevention events, young people pledge to live a drug-free life and pay tribute to DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.
Enrique (Kiki) Camarena was a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. Camarena worked his way through college, served in the Marines and became a police officer. When he decided to join the US Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out of it. "I'm only one person", he told her, "but I want to make a difference." His mother was right; Kiki’s work was often dangerous, and lonely. Old friends turned against him. But Kiki kept on with the fight against drugs.
He was such a good agent that he was sent to work undercover in Mexico. For weeks, Kiki lived among the drug lords to gather information and evidence. Just when his work was almost done, they found out who he really was. They kidnapped, tortured, and killed him. After a month, his body was discovered and returned home to his family.
Kiki gave his life in the fight against drugs. He gave his life trying to help others. To honor him, his family and friends wore red ribbons. As his story spread across the country, others began to wear ribbons, too. Now, every year millions of Americans celebrate Red Ribbon Week (October 23rd-31st) to remember Kiki and to take a stand - just as he did - against illegal drugs.
Kiki set an example for all of us. He showed us how one person can change things. And he became a hero. All he wanted to do was make a difference. We hope somewhere, somehow, he can see what a difference he’s still making today.
The National Red Ribbon Celebration serves as a catalyst for communities to come together to take a stand against drugs and show intolerance for illicit drug use and the consequences to all Americans.