HAGÅTÑA, Guam-Partners and supporters of the One Nation campaign come together, now on their third year, to encourage Guam’s communities to host an alcohol-free celebration of the 68th Liberation Day. The group, led by Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention and Training Branch, will be at Paseo Stadium on July 13 where Department of Parks and Recreation will issue permits for family tents at the parade route. Groups and families who have obtained a tent permit will have the opportunity to pledge their tent to be alcohol-free during the parade and throughout Liberation Day. Distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, One Nation family packs will be provided to groups and families who sign pledges.
“Liberation Day is a celebration of our culture and the freedom to practice our culture,” said Alcohol Prevention coordinator Audrey Topasna. “For many families, it’s been a tradition to celebrate this day at the parade. I myself remember camping out with my siblings and cousins at our family tent. What I also remember are adults drinking throughout the day, even in front of the younger members of the family. The goal of One Nation is to change this part of our tradition that taints the youth’s image and understanding of our culture.”
One Nation, Alcohol-Free is a social marketing campaign that proposes to reduce the social acceptability and norm that alcohol is part of the Pacific island culture. According to its website (www.peaceguam.org), controlling alcohol abuse and its consequences on Guam is both a public health and a cultural challenge.
One Nation is supported by DMHSA, the Governor’s Prevention Education and Community Empowerment Council, Youth for Youth LIVE! Guam, Department of Youth Affairs, Island Girl Power, Capoeira Mandinga Guam, Sanctuary, Inc., Live Healthy Guam, Department of Public Health and Social Services, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Foremost Foods Inc.
When One Nation was launched in 2010, 29 families pledged for an alcohol-free tent during the parade. Many of these families pledged again the next year, one of them the Ramirez family. The Ramirez’s proudly displayed their One Nation banner, shirts, water bottles, cooler and flags, while promoting against alcohol at their family tent. This year, the One Nation group hopes to see more families commit to being a positive role model at the parade.
“Changing social norms is a great challenge that One Nation is partaking.challenging but not impossible. We are taking it one family, one event at a time,” said DMHSA Prevention and Training branch supervisor Barbara Benavente.
For more information on the One Nation Liberation day Family packs and on how to pledge to be alcohol-free, contact the DMHSA-PEACE office at 477-9079 ~ 83 or visit www.onenationguam.com. (PR)