EATON — A local man has declared the town of Eaton’s “independence from hate” by inspiring members of the public to show up today at Crystal Lake with festively decorated kayaks and canoes and the will to stand up to bigots.
The so-called “Floating 4th of July” is being organized by Quddus Snyder, 41 of Eaton whose family has been in town for four generations. The event is part of a group he calls Eaton’s LOVE (League of Voters for Equality), formed about a month ago. It has no formal membership, but dozens of people have been supportive.
The event will take place from 11 a.m.-noon. There will be an “8:46” moment of silence vigil in memory of George Floyd who died while in custody of police in Minnesota.
Snyder will have a decorated barge. Fish & Game says there is a 10-horsepower motor limit on the lake.
Reached for comment Friday, Snyder said the U.S. is having a “defining moment” and the question is what are the country’s core values.
“It’s also a local issue because we have Confederate flags flying in the town, and we’ve raised awareness about that,” said Snyder, who has written letters to the editor pointing out that the flags are offensive.
“Our little organization aims to change the world by conquering one little town. We sort of have a global awareness, but we are taking a local action.”
Next March, Eaton LOVE intends to try to pass a nonbinding proclamation at town meeting stating that Eaton’s values are “liberty, justice and equality for all.”
Years ago, Eaton made national news when it passed a resolution stating opposition to nuclear power, said Snyder.
Snyder hopes that Eaton LOVE could be a model on which people in other communities can build on.
For the floating protest event, Snyder suggests parking along Route 153, Pine Grove (look for red “Equal Rights & Justice” Jeep).
“Park on the side of the road, boat launch at the Eaton Beach, or launch anywhere along shore. Grilling opportunities,” his flier states.
Eaton LOVE encourages people planning to attend the floating protest to “be respectful and have a good time. Make a statement. Stand ground. Be a patriot. And if need be, drop trouser and moon a heckler! The Republic depends on you.”