In an effort to raise awareness of the great oil spill crisis taking place in the gulf, as well as promote business to our still very-clean beach, a Hands Across the Sand demonstration will take place near the pier of Lynn Hall Park, by Times Square on the north end of the island, Saturday, June 26. Supporters are asked to show up around 11 a.m., and hand-holding will commence from noon to 12:15 p.m.
This is now the second time within just a few months that a human chain has been formed on our beaches. The local action is a small part of more than 100 similar protests being organized in Florida. Tens of thousands are expected to attend gatherings across the country.
The Environmental and Peace Education Center, a Fort Myers-based nonprofit organization, is teaming with a group of Fort Myers Beach activists called Oil Coalition by the People to sponsor the event locally.
"As a response to one huge disaster upon one entire region of our country that shall directly be effected upon all of us in one shape or form, we band together from near to far with the rest of the gulf coast and the to rest of the country as we send a strong message to the world that community can and always will overcome disaster," said John Heim, organizer of the beach-wide event. "We stand together to tell the world that we are clean of any form of oil and open for business as well."
During that day, John said several local businesses will be offering specials throughout the event into the evening to show their support for the Hands Across the Sand and the horrible oil crisis happening in the gulf.
"Our local coastal communities depend on tourism as we all know that, yet this event shall also last all day, with education provided on of how to get certified to help when and if oil does in fact come our way as people of Fort Myers Beach and beyond. We can get one step ahead of the curve if needed by getting certified through our friends at The Ostego Bay Foundation," John said.
As he continues, "I continue to tell people to get there early and meet at the pier to meet them all and under the pier shall be tables set up with Ostego Bay Certification sign-up sheets, the Department of Environmental Protection will provide educational info, petitions to sign against offshore drilling that will go to the right person, Nick from the Fish Monger is setting up T-shirt drives, EPEC will be there to assist in signing people up, One Human Family stickers will be available at the tables for free, and even more education info."
Traffic is expected to surge that day, so guests are encouraged to either car pool, arrive early, or both. Topps Supermarket and Chapel by the Sea have offered free parking.
John plans to shake each and every hand of those who attend the event. So far, going only by the organization's Facebook fan page, there are 164 confirmed guests attending the event, but as the word spreads beyond the electronic world, it is unknown as to what the potential of hand-holders will actually be.
"We plan to stay aware through our own community and to give kudos to it; all in one very special day," John said. " I personally invite all to attend the Hands Across the Sand event to have fun, get educated, to visit of our finest local bartenders and servers, as well as our greatest resorts in the entire state of Florida to spread the idea of One Human Family as we shall take care of each other and take care of our greatest assets that surround us that sometimes we just may take for granted. Now is the time. Now is your chance."
For more information on the Hands Across the Sand group and event, visit HandsAcrossTheSand.com or search them on Facebook. To volunteer for the cause, contact John Heim at 878-0881.