Why Blue Ribbons?
In the spring of 1989, a grandmother named Bonnie Finney took a stand against child abuse in Norfolk, Virginia. She tied a blue ribbon on the antenna of her mini van in remembrance of her late grandson and as a signal to her community that child abuse continues to be a devastating social plague.
Her grandson, Michael Wayne "Bubba" Dickenson and his siblings lived an at-risk existence in an abusive home environment. Despite Finney’s efforts to intervene on behalf of her grandchildren, his mother’s boyfriend murdered three-year-old Bubba. His body was found, bound, beaten and bruised, in a weighted toolbox at the bottom of a canal.
"One day I was just thinking about all the bruises I had seen on my grandchildren," Finney said. "I just decided I was going to tie a blue ribbon on my van. Why blue? I intend never to forget the battered, bruised bodies of my grandchildren. Blue serves as a constant reminder to me to fight for protection for our children."
Finney’s personal campaign to raise public awareness of child maltreatment was joined by a Norfolk parent assistance program and a local radio station. Soon, stores, businesses, schools, churches, civic organizations and social service agencies were participating in the campaign and thousands of blue ribbons were displayed in the name of child abuse prevention. The spirit of her blue ribbon grew and inspired a statewide community-based effort to prevent child abuse in every town, every community and every city and county.
Bonnie Finney's simple act of education and remembrance has inspired a nationwide movement and led states throughout the country participate in the campaign by designating the month of April each year Child Abuse Prevention Month.
"The blue ribbon serves as a constant reminder to fight for the protection of children," Finney explained. "We must protect our most precious gift of all - our children. Even if we just change one child's life, it would be worth it. I don't want other parents or grandparents to go through what we've been through. During the month of April, I hope all Americans will wear a blue ribbon, put one on their cars, give them to friends and tell anyone who asks what it means. You may save a child's life."
Can one person make a difference? Bonnie Finney did...and you can too.
Find out what you can do to prevent child abuse