Even people who don’t live along a body of water linked to the Great Lakes are participating. At least 60 events are planned in 6 of the 8 Great Lakes states. It’s happening on all five Great Lakes. At least 30 gatherings are planned in Michigan alone, and Lake Erie has a large contingent involved as well.
What is it?
Kimberly Simon, founder and director of “All Hands on Deck” says on March 2nd, she was meditating at her home on Lake Michigan in Charlevoix when she suddenly had an inspiration.
“I honestly just instantaneously came up with an entire vision: people should link hands to protect the Great Lakes, and it should be called “All Hands on Deck.”
Simon, who is an artist, says one hour later, The Trump administration announced plans for potential cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which helps protect the Great Lakes by fighting invasive species, monitoring toxic substances, finding pollution sources, and monitoring the health of habitats and species.
This gave her impetus to push her idea out into the world.
Simon says it’s strange, since she had never been involved with protecting the water or water issues before.
But now, she’s involved in a very big way.
She put her idea on Facebook, and got the word out to various social media groups.
Simon says within a matter of days,1400 people were in a discussion room and excited about “All Hands on Deck.” She says volunteers came forward to create the logo, website, press kit and to do marketing. They created fliers, too, and passed them out at meetings and conferences involving the Great Lakes.
Together, Simon and the group of volunteers decided to have people join together in communities across the Great Lakes, holding hands or waving flags, at 10 a.m. on July 3rd.
Cheboygan, Wisconsin was the first community group to sign on, and Simon says it snowballed from there.
Detroit was next, then small towns started joining in all across the Great Lakes. People started calling her and emailing her to ask if they could participate on any small lake or river. (She said yes.) Then calls started coming in from as far away as Colorado.
She says right now, Lake Erie has the most community groups planning to join hands along its shores.
Some groups are gathering on paddleboards and kayaks; power boats and sailboats are involved, too. Yacht Clubs (there’s a group in Lake Erie’s Put-in-Bay) are taking part as well.
In Northern Michigan, Native American groups are planning events near the Line 5 Pipeline in Mackinac City.
Simon says in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, there are small community gatherings, in Detour, Curtis, Drummond Island, Mackinaw City and Sault Ste. Marie, some with prayers, drumming and Native American rituals.
In the Detroit area, there are large organized events on Belle Isle, in St. Clair Shores Metro Park and in Milliken Park.
Federal, state and local politicians are also involved in many of the “All Hands on Deck” events.
It’s Bi-Partisan: anyone can join in
The plan is this: go to your local community participant location (go to allhandsondeckgreatlakes.org to find the group nearest you) at 8 am on July 3rd to sign in. Then the hand-hold, flag waving or other events begin at 10 a.m.
But Simon says, “There are multiple ways to participate, and anyone can join in at the last minute.”
She says, “It doesn’t matter where you are on that day. It’s more important that on that day, at 10 a.m., you stop what you’re doing and think about the water and the Great Lakes. The goal is to bring awareness and education of the Great Lakes, to send a message to policy makers, and let people know there is bi-partisan concern.”
Simon says “All Hands on Deck” is not a political event. She says, “The Great Lakes were an issue before Trump, and they will be an issue after Trump. This is one of the only ideas right now that has bi-partisan support. We could really use this unity right now. It’s uplifting and it’s helping people join together.”
Are you participating? Great Lakes Now would like to post your photos and I-phone videos of the “All Hands on Deck” event at 10 am on July 3rd by sending to firstname.lastname@example.org
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