The History of Red Ribbon Week

During the last week in October, many schools have activities for Red Ribbon Week. This week is set aside to try to prevent kids from using drugs. Students are asked to wear red ribbons. They may march in parades. They may make posters or artwork. They may write essays or chants. Did you know that the reason behind Red Ribbon Week is a Mexican-American hero?

This hero's name was Enrique Camarena. His friends and family called him Kiki. He was born in a small town called Mexicali in Baja California on July 26, 1947. When he was nine, his family moved to Calexico, California. After he graduated from high school, Kiki joined the Marine Corps. He served for two years. He worked as a firefighter and attended college. He joined the Calexico police department. He then joined the DEA, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In 1981, he was assigned to the DEA's office in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Camarena's work became famous in the United States and throughout Latin America. He worked undercover to stop drug trafficking groups. He broke up many of them. He received several awards from the DEA for his work.

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