Red Ribbon Week Recognized at Alexandria City Council 

October 27, 2023

Red Ribbon Week for Alexandria Proclaimed for October 23-31

City Council Official Recognition of Student Poster Winners for National Drug Awareness Campaign

Red Ribbon Week poster winners and community advocates pose for a photo outside Alexandria City Hall
Red Ribbon Week poster winners and community advocates pose for a photo outside Alexandria City Hall

ALEXANDRIA, VA — At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, the annual alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention awareness campaign known as Red Ribbon Week was officially designated for Alexandria as October 23-31. It is viewed as a perfect means for students and communities to join together by taking a visible stand against drugs. This year’s theme is “Be Kind to Your Mind. Live Drug Free.”

Red Ribbon Week, celebrated nationwide each October, is the largest alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention campaign in the United States. In Alexandria, Alexandria City Public Schools, the ACPS Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Center, the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA), SCAN of Northern Virginia, and the Mayor’s Campaign to End Bullying unite to host a community-wide poster competition throughout the city to raise awareness and promote healthy childhoods.

Council member Sarah Bagley, read the official proclamation with special attendees alongside: Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt (Superintendent of Alexandria City Public Schools), Fredy Martinez (Substance Abuse Prevention & Intervention Services Coordinator for Alexandria City Public Schools), Emma Beall, MPH (SAPCA Coordinator for the City of Alexandria’s Department of Community and Human Services), Allen Lomax, MPA (SAPCA Chair and Chair of the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria), Alina Selnick-Escobar (SAPCA’s STOP Act Grant Coordinator for the City of Alexandria’s Department of Community and Human Services) and Noraine Buttar, MPH (Chief of Youth Development, City of Alexandria, Virginia).

Following the proclamation, the three ACPS students who won last year’s poster contest were invited to share their art and accept special remarks from Dr. Kay-Wyatt as they were honored. This year’s winners include Tasnia Rahman (grade 6,  Francis C. Hammond Middle School), Honey Lopez (grade 8, Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School), and Sarah McBurney (grade 11, Alexandria City High School).

Students are encouraged to enter the 2023 Red Ribbon Week Poster Contest here as well as explore ideas to celebrate Red Ribbon Week this month. The deadline to enter is November 15th. Winners in each category of elementary, middle, and high school will each receive a $100 gift card, and their poster will be featured in Red Ribbon Week 2023.

Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia works closely in the community campaign to bring attention to the topic. SCAN is the only region-wide organization focused solely on preventing child abuse and neglect across Northern Virginia. The Fall Gala “Helping Children Dream Again” is on Saturday, November 11, to raise funds for their mission to help prevent child abuse.

Origin of Red Ribbon Week — According to their website, the campaign began in 1985 in response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena. Angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction cause by drugs in America. The movement has grown ever since then, educating youth and raising awareness.

The synergistic effect of Red Ribbon Week gives credence to the African proverb adage “It takes a village to raise a child.”

This article was published in Alexandria’s Zebra. Check it out!