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News Release [print-friendly page]
September 29, 2005

Red Ribbon Campaign Marks 20th Anniversary
Anti-Drug Rallies to be Held Nationwide in October

A student at Hubert Bancroft Elementary School in Sacramento signs a pledge to remain drug free as Jack O'Connell, California's Dept. of Education Superintendent looks on.
A student at Hubert Bancroft Elementary School in Sacramento signs a pledge to remain drug free as Jack O'Connell, California's Dept. of Education Superintendent looks on.

(WASHINGTON, DC) - The National Red Ribbon Campaign will kick off its twentieth anniversary on Monday, October 3. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Deputy Administrator, Michele Leonhart, will mark the occasion by speaking at the National Family Partnership’s (NFP) 20th Anniversary Red Ribbon Kickoff Breakfast in Miami, Florida. The National Red Ribbon Campaign, which is the nation’s largest drug prevention effort, began after drug traffickers in Mexico tortured and brutally murdered Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in March 1985. The Miami Kickoff Breakfast will be emceed by local ABC-TV anchor Kristi Krueger. Florida First Lady Columba Bush, Director of the Florida Office of Drug Control Jim McDonough, and Mrs. Mika Camarena, the widow of Special Agent Camerena, also will be in attendance. Red Ribbon Week will be celebrated nationally from October 23-31.

Red Ribbon Week is dedicated to helping to preserve Special Agent Camarena's memory and further the cause for which he gave his life, the fight against the violence of drug crime and the misery of addiction. By gathering together in special events and wearing a Red Ribbon during the last week in October, Americans from all walks of life demonstrate their opposition to drugs.

According to DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy, “Even though 20 years have passed, Kiki Camarena continues to inspire the nation to this day. In 1985, in an act of valor that shook DEA and the world, Kiki Camarena gave his life to keep our country and its children safer. Since then, American kids have taken up the banner Kiki inspired—the Red Ribbons they proudly wear every October. Because of Kiki, millions of children in big cities and small towns have taken a stand against drugs: pledging that drugs are not—and never will be—part of their lives.”

Red Ribbon week started as a local effort in Camerena’s hometown of Calexico, California when Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Camerena’s high school friend, Henry Lozano, created Camarena Clubs to ensure fond memories of Kiki. The National Family Partnership (NFP) created a national campaign of observance, an eight-day event proclaimed by the U.S. Congress and chaired by then President and Mrs. Reagan. Approximately 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon events every year.

Red Ribbon celebrations are planned throughout the United States during the month of October. For news about events scheduled in your areas, please check the web at www.dea.gov or contact your local DEA Office.

For any further information, contact the DEA Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC at 202-307-7977.

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