Duncan’s Mayor proclaimed Tuesday night that Oct. 23-31 in Duncan will be recognized as Red Ribbon Week, lining up with the celebration hosted annually by the National Red Ribbon Campaign.
Mayor Ritchie Dennington opened the City Council meeting with the proclamation on Oct. 13, and representatives from Wichita Mountains Prevention Network and Pathways to a Healthier You were in attendance.
Dennington said because “alcohol and other drug abuse in this nation has reached epidemic stages” it is “imperative that visible, unified prevention education efforts by community members be launched to eliminate the demand for drugs.”
The history of Red Ribbon Week, celebrated each year from Oct. 23-31, begins with Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a special agent who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Records from the National Red Ribbon Campaign show in 1985, he was kidnapped by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico. His murder and death brought anger to the community and was a catalyst for the Red Ribbon Campaign. Together in Kiki’s honor, parents and youth in communities nationwide began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness around his killing and the destruction caused by drugs in America.
In 1988, the National Family Partnership sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Campaign. This year’s campaign has a theme of “Be happy. Be brave. Be drug free.”
Dennington said the National Family Partnership sponsoring the National Red Ribbon Campaign offers “citizens the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to drug-free lifestyles — no use of illegal drugs, no illegal use of legal drugs.”
“Pathways to Being Drug Free Youth Coalition has been promoting drug free lifestyles and participating in Red Ribbon Week at Duncan High School since 2018,” Dennington said. “Pathways to a Healthier Stephens County and Pathways to Being Drug Free Youth Coalition will promote drug free lifestyles by wearing and displaying red ribbons, displaying posters and ribboning trees with red ribbons during this week long campaign. Business, government, parents, law enforcement, media, medical, religious institutions, schools, senior citizens, services organizations and youth are encouraged to demonstrate healthy, drug-free lifestyles by wearing and displaying Red Ribbons during this week long campaign.”
During the month of October, Wichita Mountains Prevention Network and Pathways to a Healthier You Coalition will have various events across Duncan.
Duncan Public Schools will take part in a Youth Art Contest; submissions were due Oct. 12 to the DHS office.
From 6-8 p.m. Oct. 29, “A Night of Hope” will take place in Fuqua Park and there will be various speakers, several local vendors with resources and prize raffles.
Local businesses can participate by in Red Ribbon Week by:
• Wearing Red Ribbons and distributing to your employees.
• Displaying Red Ribbons and posters on the interior and exterior of your building.
• Placing a Red Ribbon message in your advertisements and monthly statements.
• Identifying and sharing local prevention, intervention and treatment resources with your employees.
• Signing the Red Ribbon Week Pledge: redribbonweek.org/pledge.
• Planting bulbs that will bloom and serve as a reminder to stay drug-free. If bulbs are planted during October, they will bloom in April, during National Alcohol Awareness Month.
To learn more, go to www.redribbonweek.org or contact Wichita Mountains Prevention Network at 580-355-5246.
Information for this story came from the National Red Ribbon Campaign, Wichita Mountains Prevention Network and Pathways to a Healthier You.