Governor Pat Quinn today joined millions across the globe in a simultaneous bell-ringing to commemorate the 50th anniversary, to the minute, of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
Governor Quinn was joined by other bell-ringers at Chicago's historic Quinn Chapel AME Church, home to Illinois' oldest African-American congregation. Dr. King once spoke from the Quinn Chapel pulpit.
"This week we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King's "I Have a Dream' speech, and we honor the courage and patriotism of all who marched," Governor Quinn said. "Standing here at Quinn Chapel - which played a key role in the abolitionist movement and from which Dr. King delivered his message of justice, equality and peace - we ring a bell to celebrate the joyous noise of freedom."
At the same moment Governor Quinn rang a bell at Quinn Chapel, bells were ringing simultaneously from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. - where President Obama rang bells with former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton - to such faraway places as Japan and Switzerland.
"Dr. King knew that the struggle for equality often requires mass action, so this global bell-ringing would have pleased him. But he would also see that there is much more work to do before his ideals of social justice are fully realized," the Governor added.
Organized by the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the 15-second bell-ringing was intended to remind everyone of the stirring lines of Dr. King's speech: "So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi "