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Import Enthusiasts Say Yes to Social Justice No to Big Tobacco
by Paul Escobar
Thursday Jan 25th, 2007 12:53 PM
Young Asian Pacific Islanders invloved as part of the Project Ride crew, the only nonprofit working with the young API community involved in the Import Scene to counter the targeting of youth within the import car scene by big corporate tobacco companies, holds the first Import car event free of tobacco sponsorship. It is held in conjunction with JDM Thereoy a major event promoter within the Import Scene. They are also the first major event promoter within the Import tuner scene to sign a pledge to take no big tobacco company money.

JDM Theory along with several local racing teams will be awarded Project RIDE
tobacco free sponsorship awards at a RIDE award Ceremony at J’s gathering for
import Car enthusiasts in San Francisco. JDM is the first major event promoter
within the import car scene to sign a policy prohibiting the aceptance of tobacco
company sponsorship.

JDM Theory, a major event promoter and parts supplier within the
Import car scene and the following local racing teams: Team Xquisite,
Team Ultraspeed, Boosted Projectz, 24/7 Racing, Lethal Injection, Total
Domination Racing, Dynamic Racing Performance, and Dynamic Racing
Team have all agreed to sign policies with Project RIDE and the RIDE Crew
saying no to the acceptance of tobacco sponsorship money and targeting by
big tobacco of thier community.

As featured in Super Street and Hyphen magazine, the RIDE Crew is a
volunteer network of over 300 young adult car enthusiasts aged 14-28 years
old. The goal of Project RIDE is to bring together young people from
diverse backgrounds of the Bay Area and beyond with a love of cars
and racing to protect both their communities and the automobile scene
from social injustice. Project RIDE is a program of the Bay Area Community
Resources, and is funded by the California Department of Health
Services, Tobacco Control Section, Santa Clara County Department of
Public Health, San Francisco County of Public Health and Alameda County
Department of Public Health.

Large numbers of young people begin smoking before they turn eighteen.
A national survey on drug use and health showed that 90 percent of adult
smokers began at or before 18. This is dangerous because smoking is number
one preventable cause of death in the U.S.

Furthermore, groups like Project RIDE need wider support from the import car
scene. Partnering with groups like JDM Theory who are heavily involved in the
import car scene help creates partnerships within the scene, creates awareness of
Project RIDE, and helps garner support for the battle against the specific targeting
of this community.

The import car scene includes large numbers of young people including high
numbers of Asian American youth, who attend car events in large numbers.
The import car scene is a huge demographic that attracts large numbers of young
people, who spent over 2.5 Billion dollars in 2002 on parts according to the
Specialty Equipment Market Association.

Tobacco companies are actively courting the import tuner scene as a result of
this huge demographic potential. Major import car event promoters have been
approached about sponsoring of their events. Undercover efforts by the Project
RIDE reveal sampling of tobacco products to minors at these events without
checking I.D. in a flagrant violation of Federal and State Laws. The tobacco
industry counters that it does not intentionally market to children. Many groups
such as Project RIDE, counter that marketing to children of these products even if
unintentional is only not possible in enviroments that are free of Big Tobacco's
presence and sampling.

To that end, Project RIDE will hold an awards cereomony for these groups
stance at 3 P.M. at J’s Gathering January 28, 2007
(Sunday) Japantown Center Garage, 1610 Geary Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94115.
J's Gathering is a first of its kind event for car enthusiasts giving a venue for
young youth who want car events free of Tobacco sponsorship. The venue is a
voice for a positive image of the import car community. For more information
about the event you can call (510) 452-1234 or visit