Seattle Field Division Celebrates Red Ribbon Week
NOV 9--During October, the Seattle Field Division kicked off the 20 th Anniversary of Red Ribbon week with several events throughout the four-state region – Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Red Ribbon Week is an important tradition for the drug prevention community, especially for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The event that has become a national symbol of drug prevention began as a grassroots tribute to a fallen DEA hero, Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was murdered by drug traffickers. Today, Red Ribbon Week is nationally recognized and celebrated, helping to preserve Special Agent Camarena’s memory and further the cause for which he gave his life. Even more impressive, the Red Ribbon Campaign has become a national symbol of support for the DEA’s efforts to reduce demand for drugs through prevention and educational programs.
On October 11, 2005, the Alaska Red Ribbon Coalition, in partnership with Boys & Girls Club of Alaska, announced the receipt of a five-year Federal Grant to deliver anti-drug messages to youth and encourage and expand drug-free initiatives. The Grant provides $100,000 per year to develop a strategic plan, organize community resources, and outreach to a generation of drug-free citizens – in particular youth. This money could not come at a better time for Alaska, which is plagued with the highest rate of illegal drug use in the nation 1.
On October 17th, Special Agent in Charge Rodney Benson had the pleasure of welcoming Myrna Covarrubias, the sister of Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, to the Seattle Field Division for a week long community anti-drug events campaign. Ms. Covarrubias began her visit in Oregon, where she visited several schools in the Portland and Coos Bay communities.
On October 19th, Ms. Covarrubias traveled to Seattle and spoke to the DEA Seattle Field Division about her brother and what his death has meant to her and her family. Later the same day, Ms. Covarrubias attended a school assembly at Gig Harbor Ridge Middle School in Gig Harbor, Washington. The assembly opened with the presentation of our national colors by a Marine Honor Guard, which wanted to honor Special Agent Camarena, a former Marine. Over 400 students, teachers, friends, and city officials attended this event. Ms. Covarrubias spoke to the students about the pain "Kiki's" death caused her and her family and asked the students to raise their right hand and repeat, "I will never do drugs."
The following day, Ms. Covarrubias traveled to Boise, Idaho, where she attended several events in support of Red Ribbon Week. Ms. Covarrubias finished her trip to the northwest with an anti-drug campaign event on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol Building.
Red Ribbon Event on the Steps of the Idaho State Capitol Building