Clean Water Rally Sunday
Your water. Your voice. Your choice.
That is the motto of the Jo Finney Clean Water Rally, slated to educate all day this Sunday.
Organizers invite the public to meet at Crescent Beach Family Park at noon to assemble for the event, which will involve a hands across the sand line of people, a moment of silence for the person for whom the rally is named, a march on the beachfront, a concert to support the cause and some activities for children. The rally is expected to extend until sunset.
Jo Finney, who passed in a house fire during Memorial Day weekend, was a well-known Beach resident known for her commitment to clean water. She was involved in planning for this particular event.
“She was secretly the main organizer but did not want to be in the limelight, so she gave me the credit,” said event co-organizer John Heim. “That was the example of Jo as a human being. She was more of an educator than someone who wanted to be in the news. All the speeches that I have given across the state were ones that Jo wrote. She will always be my mentor.”
The Jo Finney Clean Water Rally is being sponsored by Florida Helps Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is “dedicated to supporting the development and growth of non-profit businesses and to raising funds for selected Florida charities.” The rally was promoted by the Jo Finney Ecological Foundation entry in the Fourth of July Parade.
Heim pointed out this particular rally is all about Fort Myers Beach.
“It’s a celebration of Fort Myers Beach to raise awareness for the love of our beach and to end Lake O discharges,” he said. “It’s for clean water, for the community, for the Beach.”
After everyone congregates at the Beach park between noon and 1 p.m., the “Hands Across the Sand” line will form on the beachfront of that park where a moment of silence will be held for the memory of Jo Finney. Chants, sign-holding and other peaceful measures will alert people about the need for restoring and protecting the Caloosahatchee River and its estuaries from harmful pollutants caused by high flow regulatory freshwater releases discharged from Lake Okeechobee.
After roughly 30 minutes of the demonstration, rally participants will march down to DiamondHead Beach Resort, circle back to The Beach Pub to take part in a Clean Water Concert at 2:30 p.m. The concert features musical entertainment from “Bethanne DVS” and “Renee Massie Hose.”
In between concert sets, environmental speakers will raise ecological awareness with rally talks. Betty Osceola, a member of the Miccosukee tribe in the Everglades, will be one of the featured speakers.
Also in front of The Beach Pub, there will be tables set up to disseminate educational information (literature on clean water), to allow petitions to be signed and to provide children with an eco-art area.
Rally officials will also have a screen printer (old school transfer press machine) on site where T-shirts and other accessories can be created and sold for donations that will go to the non-profit Jo Finney Ecological Foundation.
“We are pushing this to be a family event,” said Heim. “We will have one petition that will focus on how to get your name involved in a class action lawsuit regarding Amendment 1. This is strictly a community event by the people.”
Cresent Beach Family Park is at 1100 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach. There is no on-site parking. Attendees should plan on parking at one of the Beach’s paid or metered parking lots.
To keep updated on the rally, go to Facebook page called The Jo Finney Clean Water Rally- End the Lake O Discharges! at www.facebook.com/events/1440852496209834 or contact John Heim at (407) 460-6452.