The Red Ribbon History
Enrique (Kiki) Camarena was born on July 26, 1947 in Mexicali, Mexico. He graduated from Calexico High School in Calexico, Calif. in 1966. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Marines where he served for two years. Following his military service, Kiki joined the Calexico Police Department and later moved to the El Centro Police Department. On June 28, 1974 he became part of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Seven years later he was assigned to the resident office in Guadalajara. He worked out of this office for four and a half years and was close to exposing a major drug trafficking operation. On February 7, 1985 Kiki was kidnapped. That was the last time he was seen alive. He was 37 years of age.
Shortly after Kiki’s death, U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter and Calexico High School classmate Henry Lozano launched Camarena Clubs in Kiki’s home town of Calexico, Calif. Club members wore red ribbons and pledged to lead drug free lives.
Red Ribbon Week eventually gained momentum throughout California and later the United States.
The Elks have been supporters of Red Ribbon Week since the beginning. The campaign was formalized by President and Mrs. Reagan who served as honorary chairpersons. Congress officially established Red Ribbon Week in 1988. Nationwide, it is celebrated annually in the last week in October.
For the complete Red Ribbon Week history, visit