ATLANTA (RNS) The King Center is urging communities around the world to participate in a bell-ringing ceremony next month to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

King Center officials say they have reached out to all 50 governors and to cities across the globe asking them to participate in the bell ringing at 3 p.m. ET on Aug. 28, or at 3 p.m. in their respective time zones.

“My father concluded his great speech with a call to ‘let freedom ring,’ and that is a challenge we will meet with a magnificent display of brotherhood and sisterhood in symbolic bell-ringing at places of worship, schools and other venues where bells are available from coast to coast and from continent to continent,” said Bernice King, King’s daughter and CEO of the King Center.

The King Center and the 50th Anniversary Coalition will host a seven-day celebration in the nation’s capital of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. King’s riveting speech was the keynote event of that march.

The bell ringing is planned as a way to allow those who can’t make the trip to Washington to participate in the celebration, according to the King Center.

On Aug. 28, 1963, King ended his speech with a call to “let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire … from the mighty mountains of New York … from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania … from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado … from the curvaceous slopes of California … from Stone Mountain of Georgia … from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee … and from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.”

Bernice King asked that participating communities come up with diverse commemorative programs that “bring people together across cultural and political lines to celebrate the common humanity in creative and uplifting ways in the spirit of the dream.”

Bell-ringing ceremonies are currently planned in communities such as Concord, N.H.; Allentown, Pa.; Lutry, Switzerland; and Tokyo, the center says.

The King Center is asking that communities wishing to participate submit a brief description of their bell-ringing event to website@thekingcenter.org.

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the civil rights movement, “Parting the Waters,” Taylor Branch wrote that King departed from his prepared text and that much of the speech’s greatness was extemporaneous.

“More than his words, the timbre of his voice projected him across the racial divide and planted him as a new founding father,” Branch wrote. “It was a fitting joke on the races that he achieved such statesmanship by setting aside his lofty text to let loose and jam, as he did regularly from two hundred podiums a year.”

(Larry Copeland writes for USA Today.)

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  • Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

  • The Dalai Lama

    "All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives."

  • Desmond Tutu

    "My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together."

  • Rumi

    "There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

  • Maimonides

    "You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes."

  • Gandhi

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."

  • Mother Teresa

    "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

  • Baha'u'llah

    "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens"

  • Khalil Gibran

    "I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit."

  • Swami Vivekananda

    "The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him - that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free."

  • St. Francis of Assisi

    "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love."

  • Carl Sagan

    “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”

  • Buddha

    "The mind is everything. What you think you become."

  • Tariq Ramadan

    “I have learned that one should say "Peace!" to those who shout their hatred for one's being and presence or at one's passage.”

  • Confucius

    "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire."

  • Julian of Norwich

    “The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.”

  • Socrates

    "Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us."

  • C.S. Lewis

    "I gave in, and admitted that God was God."

  • Martin Luther

    "All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired."

  • Thich Nhat Hanh

    "Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth."

  • St. Thomas Aquinas

    "To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."

  • Imam al-Ghazali

    "God does not become weary of forgiving until the servant becomes weary of asking for forgiveness."

  • Lao Tzu

    "Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained."

  • Abraham Joshua Heschel

    "A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair."

  • Karen Armstrong

    "All religions are designed to teach us how to live, joyfully, serenely, and kindly, in the midst of suffering."

  • Mary Baker Eddy

    "I would no more quarrel with a man because of his religion than I would because of his art."

  • Eboo Patel

    "To see the other side, to defend another people, not despite your tradition but because of it, is the heart of pluralism."