Territory marking Red Ribbon Week with marches, rallies

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The territory's youth are taking a stand to be drug-free as part of Red Ribbon Week.

A few activities already have taken place, but Red Ribbon Week events are planned through Tuesday in both districts.

Red Ribbon Week is an annual, nationwide, observance that was begun to honor the Drug Enforcement Agency Agent Enrique Camarena, who was killed in the line of duty in 1985.

Today, University of the Virgin Islands students will be marching from the entrance to King Airport up to the UVI campus.

The march begins at 5 p.m., and the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School marching band will lead UVI students, faculty and staff, from the airport to the campus. The walk will end at the Recreation Center on UVI's golf course. Student Affairs coordinators have enlisted UVI Security Officers and the V.I. Police Department to minimize any disruption to traffic.

After the march, a "speak out" rally will take place, with an active Drug Enforcement Administration agent and a retired V.I. police officer as keynote speakers. Other participants will be invited to share their reasons for supporting the effort.

The event is a collaboration with the Prevention Council of the V.I. Law Enforcement Planning Commission and the Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse St. Thomas-St. John - COAST.

UVI's St. Croix campus will host the first Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Band Against Drugs Day on Tuesday. About 600 St. Croix junior high school students are expected to spend the day - from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - viewing helicopter and rescue boat exhibits on the campus grounds, running a National Guard obstacle course and hearing presentations from UVI and a wide variety of law enforcement agencies involved in efforts to reduce substance abuse and violence.

On hand to welcome the students will be the UVI Dance Squad and representatives from UVI's Health Services Office, the College Access Grant program, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the V.I. Police Department, Homeland Security, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the U.S. Coast Guard, V.I. Talentless Talents, the V.I. Health Department, Cruzan Environmental Services, Grove Place Weed and Seed, the Office of Highway Safety and the Alcohol and Drug Prevention Committee.

Both campuses also are sponsoring various pledge days and "wear anything red" campaigns to show support for the effort to combat drug and substance abuse and violence.

On the St. Thomas campus, a Red Ribbon Week Karaoke Competition will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, at the Dining Pavilion.

Most events at UVI are free and open to the public.

For more about St. Croix activities, contact Irene Hatchett-Sealey at 692-4208. For more information about St. Thomas activities, call Leon Lafond at 693-1120.

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