Thirty-four years after the late Hugh Hefner launched a salacious magazine, called Playboy, and thirteen years after Larry Flynt began the even more repugnant Hustler, Norma Norris conceived an idea that would become a national powerhouse against sexual exploitation – the White Ribbon Against Pornography campaign.
In 1987, Norma heard her priest lament the sale of hardcore pornography in her Pennsylvania community. The priest observed that prosecutors and law enforcement believed most people did not care. Norma was shocked to hear this. She knew she cared, and looking around her at her friends in the pews, she knew that they cared, too.
Norma pondered how she could activate people so everyone who cared about decency could have a voice. The vision of a white dove came to Normap, its wings evoking the image of the tails of a white ribbon. Norma realized a simple white ribbon would be the perfect symbol for purity. This is how the first White Ribbon Against Pornography campaign began.
Norma’s vision inspired immediate and coordinated efforts from many others who cared about their community.
Norma began networking with the Butler County Citizens for Decency and the Butler Fellowship of Churches. They educated the community about the harms of pornography and thanked the legislators and law enforcement who were fighting this scourge. Norma, her neighbors, and many in the community hung white ribbons on their office doors, mailboxes, car antennas and even from trees in front of their houses. Huge white ribbon bows were sent to the governor and attorney general of Pennsylvania. The culmination of the week’s activities was the bulldozing of a defunct porn store to the jubilant cheers of witnesses.
Thirty-two years later, WRAP campaigns are going strong. Each individual brings fresh ideas to current campaigns. A heightened awareness of the harms of pornography and successful strategies to combat it come to light each campaign.
Two simple actions everyone can do during WRAP week are to pray and to wear a white ribbon. For more action steps, visit Christian Action League of Minnesota’s website www.calofmn.com, or go to www.endsexualexploitation.org.
The WRAP campaign begins the last Sunday of October. Your voice and your creativity are needed as, united, we stand against pornography and for the promotion of respect and true love.
Ann Redding is president of Christian Action League of Minnesota
Her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org