The Camarena Club: Honoring Our Hero is an article that was written by the students of the Camarena Club of Calexico,California. This is an unedited article by them explaining the impact of their hero Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a native of Calexico. It is heart-warming and provides us hope that young people are more aware and insightful than we sometimes want to give them credit for.
Calexico, California is like any other town in America. It has schools, churches, and a rich history, complete with pioneers, hardships and triumphs. Since it is a border town, it has a large retail relationship with its sister city, Mexicali, in Baja California, Mexico. The summers are very hot, and winters are like springtime.
Like any other town in America, it also has its heroes. Our hero is Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. Raised in Calexico, Enrique graduated from Calexico High School and became one of Calexico’s finest police officers. He later became a United States Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
In 1985, while working in Guadalajara, Mexico as an undercover agent, Kiki was kidnapped and murdered by drug smugglers. They were apparently trying to gather information about drug enforcement in the area. The people in Calexico soon began wearing red ribbons in honor of their fallen hero and to support anti-drug awareness.
That year, the Camarena Club of Calexico High School was founded by students, teacher David Dhillon, and Henry Lozano, the Director of Teen Challenge. Their constitution contained a simple pledge that read:
We, the undersigned students of Calexico High School, pledge in honor of Enrique “KiKi” Camarena and all others risking their lives to stop the flow of illegal drugs, to say no to drugs, to encourage others to say no to drugs, to provide support to others who use drugs, and to help them to learn to say no to drugs to become educated on the dangers of drugs, and to provide this information to our community.
This pledge was later written as a proclamation, and many students at Calexico High School signed it, pledging not to use drugs. With the help of Mrs. Lynne Hunter, wife of Representative Duncan Hunter, it was later taken by some students to Washington D.C. and presented to President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, who also signed the proclamation.
This proclamation now hangs in the main office of the Calexico High School, reminding students of the sacrifice of Agent Camarena and the resolve of so many students who took the pledge to stay drug-free.
Agent Camarena’s death, although tragic, catapulted the nation into gaining a deeper understanding of the effects of drugs and creating more prevention/ intervention programs.It also encouraged the United States Government to make a stronger commitment to stop the flow of drugs into our nation.
In 1988, The United States Congress proclaimed the last full week of October to be recognized as National Red Ribbon Week.
Today’s Camarena Club still upholds the same traditions of the original club of 1985. We mentor young children, providing an outreach that gives information, training and skits for both junior high and elementary schools. Our program also assists the Friday Night Live organization through one- or two-day camps, training, and conferences.
The Calexico Camarena Club is also one of the most active support organizations working with the Imperial County Office of Education/ Student Well-being Department’s drug awareness campaigns. We are supported by our advisor, Mr. David P. Cole. Support and transportation also comes from our School Principal, Nancy Merino, and Superintendent, Mr. Robert Moreno, as well as the Board of Trustees of the Calexico Unified School District.
Today, more than 100,000 schools and organizations recognize and celebrate Red Ribbon Week during the last week in October. On October 11, 2001 the 14th Annual National Red Ribbon Week Ceremonies will honor the memory of Agent Camarena. A new proclamation will be presented by the Calexico High School’s Camarena Club, as was done in President Reagan’s administration in 1987.
The Camarena Club of Calexico High School in Calexico would like to encourage other school districts and organizations to recognize Red Ribbon Week as well as participate in spreading the word to “Say No To Drugs,” and to support other drug prevention programs in your area.
Originally posted 2014-08-23 18:29:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter