By Jarrett Barrios, CEO, Red Cross LA
On a chilly evening in late March, the LA skyline glowed red and a giant Red Cross spun on the iconic Santa Monica Ferris Wheel for Red Cross Month.
Red Cross Month was first declared in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and since then, each subsequent president has declared the month of March “Red Cross Month.” That would be 13 presidents, who regardless of party, have agreed that honoring the work of the Red Cross is important for the White House and important for the nation.
We are honored by this recognition and honored to take a month to celebrate the work of our five lines of service: Serving members of the armed forces; working with the international community; giving lifesaving blood and blood products to those in need; helping those affected by disasters natural or manmade; and training those who are ready to learn how to save lives themselves.
As I look back on my fifth Red Cross Month in LA, I’m proud of what we have accomplished. This year, more than 30 cities across the LA Region issued proclamations declaring March as “Red Cross Month.”
Four iconic LA landmarks lit up red in honor of the work we do, not just during Red Cross Month, but throughout the year. The crown of the U.S. Bank Tower, the Beverly Hills City Hall, the pylons at the Los Angeles International Airport all glowed red, as well as the Santa Monica Ferris wheel, which sported a larger than life Red Cross. A slowly spinning celebration for all to see.
But Red Cross Month is about more than “going red.”
It’s about honoring the dedication of our volunteers, who do 90 percent of the work of the Red Cross, nationwide.
It’s about the lifesaving blood collected from generous blood donors, supplying 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply.
And it’s about the peace of mind that comes from knowing that when disaster strikes, be it a home fire or hurricane, the Red Cross will be there.
Even though March has come to an end, I invite you to celebrate year-round, by engaging with our lifesaving work in one of the following ways:
- Take a lifesaving CPR or first aid class. Because you never know when a coworker, friend, family member or stranger may need your help.
- Sign up to become a Red Cross volunteer. For example, consider joining us to help end home fires with the Sound the Alarm campaign.
- Donate blood. Help us end the blood shortage to ensure patients have the lifesaving blood and platelets they need.
These are just a few ways to celebrate not just Red Cross Month, but the Red Cross mission: to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies, through the power of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors.