Red Ribbon Week is coming up
I've only lived here a couple of weeks, but in that short time I've already learned that there is a lot going on in the community at this time of year.
Last week especially was a flurry of activity, with a series of homecoming events for both Brewton and East Brewton culminating in two big victories for the home teams Friday night.
In addition to the gatherings and parades surrounding homecoming, people throughout the community are immersed in various projects, from raising money for worthwhile causes to encouraging their friends and neighbors to vote "yes" for education when Dec. 9 rolls around.
In fact, there are enough things going on right now that it would be easy to let one or two of them slip through relatively unnoticed.
But there is little chance of that happening with one of the most important things the community will be asked to take part in, beginning in just a few short days.
That event is Red Ribbon Week, which from past participation people here know as a chance to take a public stand against substance abuse and to show their commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
The schools will be promoting Red Ribbon Week, as we will we here at The Standard, with a special section devoted to the community's efforts to combat substance abuse among young people. We encourage everyone to wear red, or a red ribbon, between the days of Oct. 23 and Oct. 31.
Red Ribbon Week began in 1986, after the death of a person who had dedicated his life to combatting the abuse of illegal drugs. Enrique Camarena, an officer with the Drug Enforcement Agency, was captured, tortured and killed by members of a Mexican drug cartel he had infiltrated.
Before his death, Camarena's work had become well known in the U.S. and Latin America, thanks to his success in covertly joining and breaking up a number of high profile bands of drug traffickers.
He became even more well known following his murder, when he appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.
Friends and former colleagues began wearing red ribbons in memory of Camarena and the work he gave his life for, and eventually the National Family Partnership adopted the symbolism in setting aside a week each year -- the last week in October -- to raise awareness about the importance of keeping children drug-free.
The federal government has also recognized the importance of the week and its message. Perhaps the most succinct description of its importance comes from a proclamation signed by President George H.W. Bush in 2001 in support of National Red Ribbon Week:
So remember that the ribbons you see people around the community wearing next week serve a purpose, and consider wearing one yourself.
The support you show for the meaning behind this special week can make a real difference, and will be appreciated by those in our community who carry on the fight against substance abuse on a daily basis.