Members of the N.C. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission will initiate a statewide bell ringing tribute at 11:55 a.m. Friday on the Bicentennial Plaza near the N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh. The event will precede the annual State Employees’ Dr. Martin Luther King Observance Program, which will get underway at noon at First Baptist Church, 99 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh.
“Ringing of a replica Liberty Bell proclaims the fundamental importance of freedom in our own lives, in our state, our nation and our world,” said Dr. Dumas A. Harshaw Jr., commission chair. “We will use this occasion to ring out to call attention to the insensitivity, injustice and inequality that curtail freedom and happiness throughout society.”
The commission encourages all residents, churches and organizations to participate in MLK holiday observances by ringing bells at noon Friday in their own communities. The goal is to create a simultaneous bell-ringing tribute throughout the state in memory of the civil rights leader and to affirm that North Carolinians continue to cherish the value of freedom, democracy, diversity and equal opportunity.
“Though our actions are symbolic, they have tremendous potential,” said John Campbell, commission executive director. “Energized by the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the bell ringing is a statement of personal conviction and community involvement. It provides a moment for both reflection and resolve.”
Friday’s bell-ringing event is one of many observances planned by organizations across North Carolina. Gov. Bev Perdue, who will issue a 2012 MLK Day proclamation, is scheduled to speak at the annual State Employees’ Dr. Martin Luther King Observance Program. Additionally, the 32nd Annual Interfaith Prayer Breakfast will be held at 7 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham. For additional activities, visit the Human Relations Commission website.
The commission, which promotes among the people of North Carolina an awareness and appreciation of the life and work of Dr. King, was established by the General Assembly in 1993 and is part of the N.C. Human Relations Commission of the N.C. Department of Administration. For information, contact the N.C. Human Relations Commission at (919) 807-4420 or visit the website.