Link a hand, hoist a boat flag and pass a marble on the shores of

Great Lake States and Canada on July 3, 2017 10 A.M. EDT

Check in begins at 8:00 EDT. Bring a blue marble and wear a blue, green, or AHOD Logo shirt.

Water unites us all, it provides drinking water, recreation, beauty, work, wildlife, and an identity to all those who live near or visit them. Loved by all they should be protected by all. We are mothers, fathers, teachers, environmentalists, activists, business owners, children, students, water sport enthusiasts, boaters, and sun bathers. We are from every political party, every religion and nationality. We are you! We care about the water and realize that is needs to remain healthy and safe for many generations to come.

On Mar. 2nd, 2017 at a time of political division, All Hands on Deck was formed.  Water, the one thing that may unite us requires a united concerted effort to protect.  The larger and the more diverse the union, the more apparent it will be to decision makers that water is a non – partisan issue. What better way to show a union than a link! Our events, link people, hands, communities, states, nations, parties, cultures, and hearts. It began with a simple message sent out on social media suggesting a handhold on behalf of water and within two months included 6 states, Canada, and members of Tribal Nations. In a short time, it became obvious that people care about water and were looking for an event that could bridge our differences. Volunteers created our logo, website, marketing, a press kit, blogs, and articles. A volunteer army of water warriors that fight to raise awareness through raising a hand to link peacefully were born.

Why did we choose the Great Lakes for our first water event? The Great Lakes symbolize unity. The Great Lakes are a world and national treasure. Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, contains 95% of America’s fresh surface water. They touch 8 states and share the Canadian – U.S. border. In 2010 the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative began efforts to protect and restore the lakes in these ways: cleaning up areas of concern, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing nutrient run-off that causes harmful algae blooms, and restoring habitat for native species. That initiative in itself is a super union dependent on all levels of the highest to the lowest of national and state government. It requires numerous organizations managed by life- long activists to day to day volunteers. It requires the stewardship of the average citizens to corporations. It has taken the unified effort of the Restoration Initiative to provide that funding, regulations, and research necessary to keep the Great Lakes. We must fight to maintain this Initiative of Unity in good times and in bad.

This is a time when the Restoration Initiative has been threatened. At the time of this post we do not know the outcome of that threat. But regardless, we must continue to fight for unity through water because we have many threats to the Great Lakes. Water protectors for the Great Lakes must fight against being: politicized, monetized, polluted, watersheds and lake feeder contaminated and for funding, regulations, and research to control invasive species.