MLK Holiday 'Let Freedom Ring: Choose Nonviolence' Bell-Ringing Event Registry

If you have an MLK Holiday 'Let Freedom Ring: Choose Nonviolence' bell-ringing event you would like to list in this space, please send one concise paragaph -- 150 words or less -- describing it (including location, sponsoring organization(s), nature of event) to

Pictured above, On the MLK holiday, Mountaineer Montessori and Youth for Christ children ring West Virginia "Liberty Bell" (an exact replica of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia) on the state capitol north steps in Charleston, joined by (L-R) WV Governor Tomblin, U.S Rep.Shelley Moore Capito and U.S.Senator Joe Manchin III, as members of the West Virginia Martin Luther King, Jr., State Holiday Commission look on. There was also a bell-ringing ceremony in Huntington, WV. (photo by Kim Shrader)

"North Carolina Central University [Durham, NC] will ring its bell as part of the university’s King Holiday Observance.  The bell will be rung at 9:15 a.m. by North Carolina Central University Chancellor Dr. Debra Saunders-White, United Way of the Greater Triangle Area CEO and President Mack Koonce and Ms. Felecia Quinn, resident of McDougald Terrace, a multi-family public housing community in Durham, N.C.

Let the Freedom Bell Ring! In Santa Cruz, Bolivia we also Choose Non-violence. On the 20th of January 2014 in Santa Cruz , Bolivia at 19:00 the Aprendizaje en Acción Foundation and the Afrobolivian Union of Santa  will join The King Center’s world wide “Let the Freedom Bell Ring: Choose Nonviolence” bell-ringing event, celebrating  alongside the delegation of the Embassy of the United States at the Bolivian American Center. The Freedom Bell will be rung in remembrance of the life and work of Dr. King and in tribute to his legacy, and those, who like us believe in no-violence and dignity as the only mean of struggle to achieve equality of mankind, without regard to race, belief and social status. Speeches of the community leaders and live music will enhance the event. Live the dream – dream the change.

In Honolulu, the ringing of the Naga­saki Peace Bell during Sunday’s 26th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Candlelight Bell Ringing Ceremony slowed traffic on Bere­ta­nia Street, caused necks to crane and scared the birds out of nearby trees. Dozens of participants lined up to ring the bell in a tribute to a man whose message of peace, tolerance and justice continues to resonate nearly 46 years after his death.

A crowd gathered on the MLKL holiday at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, WA despite chilly Mid-Columbia temperatures to honor Martin Luther King Jr. with a bell-ringing ceremony.

Bethel College [North Newton, KS] will ring its bell at 6:45pm as part of their Monday evening  MLK Celebration program.  The event features a keynote address by Ewuare Osayande, Coordinator of the Anti-Oppression ministry for Mennonite Central Committee U.S. titled “Breaking Silence: Facing the 'Giant Triplets' of Racism, Militarism and Materialism”.  Students from Bethel College's Multicultural Student Union will also present songs, poetry and a reading from Dr. King’s last sermon, “The Drum Major’s Instinct.”  Come join us at 300 East 27th Street, North Newton, KS 67117 as we continue to Seek, Serve, and Grow.

The City of East Lansing’s Bailey Child Care Center, 300 Bailey St., East Lansing, Michigan will celebrate by holding a community potluck dinner on Thursday, January 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM.  There will be a brief performance by the Michigan State University Gospel Choir.  After the dinner, everyone will ring bells as they walk down the hall to watch the unveiling of a community clay piece hanging in our child care center.  The piece was created by the children, ages birth to five, their parents, child care providers and community members of East Lansing.  Even the mayor helped!  It includes five doves for peace and some quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.  Local artist, Doug DeLind, worked with everyone to create the piece for display.  We welcome all community members to come, bring a dish to pass and celebrate with us.  For more information, please contact Nora Thompson at

There will be a Bell Concert at Minneapolis/Hennepin County Courthouse. The Tower Bell Foundation will perform an annual Martin Luther King concert on the courthouse's bells, featuring songs of peace and patriotic music. The concert is noon- 1 p.m. listeners can hear inside or outside the Courthouse. Pending confirmation - check the Tower Bell Foundation website for event details.

Connecticut's Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Commission, local churches and civic organizations joined in the bell-ringing ceremony at the state Capitol at noon on Monday, January 20th, and rang their bells in recognition and commemoration of Dr. King, his work and legacy. "I want to invite our churches to respond to a request from the King Holiday Committee to ring our church bells at noon on January 20th," said Connecticut Conference Minister the Rev. Kent J. Siladi. "We ring the bells in our churches to call people to worship, to mark significant occasions, to lament and to rejoice. In this case we can hear the famous words, 'let freedom ring' from Dr. King echoing over the passage of time. "Yes, let's ring our bells and let's continue to join with others to work for the values of Dr. King, and to continue the struggle to find ways to bring peace and justice in these days."

In Oklahoma City, the annual Bell Ringing Ceremony took place on the steps of the Oklahoma Historical Society, across from the Capitol to the east.

From an account by Kathy Kelly at about a gathering in Kabul, Afghanistan: "They didn’t have a bell, and they didn’t have the money to buy one. So Zekerullah set to work with a bucket, a spoon and a rope, and made something approximating a bell.  In the APV courtyard, an enlarged vinyl poster of Dr. King covers half of one wall, opposite another poster of Gandhi and Khan Abdul Gaffir Khan, the “Muslim Gandhi” who led Pathan tribes in the nonviolent Khudai Khidmatgar colonial independence movement to resist the British Empire. Zekerullah’s makeshift “bell’ was suspended next to King’s poster. Several dozen friends joined the APVs as we listened to rattles rather than pealing bells. The poster listing the week’s death toll was held aloft and read aloud."

"The University of La Verne [La Verne, CA] will participate in the King Center National Bell Ringing Ceremony at 8:45am on January 20, 2014 in Sneaky Park, as part of it’s kick-off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.  Students, faculty, & staff will be assigned to one of eleven community sites, where they’ll garden, farm, participate in food kitchens, libraries & elderly homes, as well as build a club house & paint a mural for the youth in our community.  The theme embedded throughout this day of service is Food Security & Poverty Reduction.  Folks will participate in reflective dialogue & will return from their respective sites back to the campus for the closing event from 2-3pm; folks will have an opportunity to express themselves through art on a large graffiti board in Sneaky Park. This event is being sponsored by the Office of Civic and Community Engagement & the Office of Religious and Spiritual life."

Chapel of the Cross (Chapel Hill NC) will ring the historic chapel bell  on Sunday, January 19, in observation of the next day’s MLK holiday and in conjunction with an education program on non-violence as exemplified by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest Street, Hartford, Connecticut will a public 'Let Freedom Ring: Choose Nonviolence' bell ringing at noon on Monday, January 20, 2014 as a part of its MLK Day Open House, commemorating the life and work of Dr. King. From 9:30 AM to 5 PM, the Stowe House will be open for free tours focusing on emancipation and freedom for all and will offer hands-on activities in the Stowe Visitor Center. At 12:30 PM, staff will lead a talk back on ”The Beloved Community.” The Stowe Center’s mission is to use Stowe’s story to inspire social justice and positive change. In partnership with the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, the Center will collect new towels to benefit local homeless shelters.  Details at

A bell-ringing ceremony highlighted a three-day MLK commemoration in Billings, Montana.

"KIVUNIM students observed King Day by ringing a Tibetan Prayer bell in the Jewish Cemetery of Essourira, Morocco on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.  Here in this historic multi-cultural city of Jews, Muslims and Christians we rang the bell of freedom in Dr. King's memory.  As a former SCOPE volunteer in the summers of 1965 and 66, my entire professional life as an educator has been forever influenced and enriched by my association with Dr. King. Both KIVUNIM ( and The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in NYC that I founded are a product of his role in my life and thought.  Moroccans asked us, what the bell was for?  And when we told them, they knew the significance and power of his message and his voice.  May his memory be for a blessing.  Peter Geffen.

In Atlanta, Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center, lead a bell-ringing ceremony in Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The Ripley, TN MLK program on Sunday, Jan 19, 2014 opened with a bell ringing.  Over 350 attended -- standing room only in the Ripley High School Performing Arts Theater. A diverse audience joined State Representatives, the County Mayor, the City Mayor, the Rotary District Governor and more.  On Monday, Jan. 20,2014 Five county churches rang bells at 11:00am.: Miles Chapel CME, Holly Grove Baptist Church (pictured above), First United Methodist Church, New Hope CME Church in Henning, TN and Bethlehem Baptist Church. Pastors from 7 churches prayed for the community.  The speaker was Dr. Ellena Gooch Reid who was arrested and jailed while a student at Fisk University (1959-1960) for her participation in sit-ins and stand-ins.

The Philadelphia MLK Committee held a Bell Ringing Ceremony with U.S. Senator Robert Casey and Governor Tom Corbett at the Liberty Bell Center, preceding the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence's 32nd Annual Awards and Benefit Luncheon.

"The 32nd annual Martin Luther King Day Community Celebration in Manchester, New Hampshire, will begin with a proclamation read by Governor Maggie Hassan and the ringing of a bell, to “let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.”The event will feature Shujaa Graham of Witness to Innocence speaking on death penalty abolition and ending racial disparity in the judicial system. Awards will be given to middle school students for their art and writing on the theme, ““Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter.” The Martin Luther King Award will go to Honore Murenzi, founder of New American Africans and the Love Your Neighbor project. The Celebration takes place at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Hanover Street, Manchester, New Hampshire, 2 to 5 pm, sponsored by the Martin Luther King Coalition."

In Brawley, CA spectators lined up to take turns ringing a bell "to celebrate the accomplishments in freedom made by the late Martin Luther King Jr."

In Southfield, MI there wasa special dance tribute by the Motor City Dance Factory as well as musical performances by Pastor Tim Larson of Peace Lutheran Church, vocalist Davis Gloff, and Thompson Middle School Choir. The program concluded with the presentation of the 2014 MLK Community Service Award, the MLK Peace Pledge and the ringing of the Liberty Bell.

"The Church of the Holy Apostles [New York City, NY] will ring its bell as part of the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen’s King Holiday Observance. The bell will be rung at 11:00 am. Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen’s mission is to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted, seek justice for the homeless and to provide a sense of hope and opportunity to those in need each weekday throughout the year as we have done for the past 30+ years."

"Purdue [West Lafayette, IN] will participate in the King Center National bell ringing ceremony, at 9:30am the Bell Tower will play “Let There be Peace on Earth”.  The bells that ring across the nation on the 2014 King holiday will symbolically sound the knell for the age of addressing conflict and social injustice with violence, and herald a new era of non-violent social change undergirded by the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

On January 20, Bridgewater College in Virginia will ring its Memorial Hall bell to honor the work of Dr. King.  The bell will ring 12 times at noon as a reminder to students, faculty and staff to take time out of their day to remember this courageous leader and to reflect on the ways in which they promote peace and encourage nonviolence in their own communities.

Please begin planning for your 2015 MLK holiday bell-ringing event !