Churches around the globe have agreed to ring their bells 49 times to commemorate the anniversary of the Pulse tragedy.

Two mothers who lost their children during the Pulse massacre came up with the idea and started a website, 49bells.org. So far, 34 churches have signed up and thousands more are expected to join the movement before the one-year anniversary on June 12.

The churches will ring their bills at high noon June 12 to commemorate each of the 49 lives lost at the Pulse nightclub.

“As parents, we don’t want our children to be forgotten, and most importantly, we would love the support of spreading love, not hate, as a message for humankind.” said Mayra Alvear, mother of Amanda Alvear, who was only 25 when she lost her life during the Pulse shootings.

“Bells are sacred. We toll them for death and we ring them for celebration,” said Maria Wright, mother of Jerry Wright, 31 at the time he was killed at Pulse. “Many faith traditions use bells as they resound within our innermost being.”

The mothers wrote a letter to Pope Francis and leaders of other faith organizations throughout the world, asking churches to honor the 49 innocent lives taken at Pulse with their bells.

The 49 Bells project recognizes and reaffirms the community’s commitment to the Pulse survivors, family members of the victims and their loves ones, in addition to recognizing an outpouring of global compassion and love displayed in the wake of the tragedy, according to their website.

The two mothers are part of an advisory group of about 40 family members and loved ones offering suggestions to the One Orlando Alliance (previously known as the the LGBTQ+ Alliance), a coalition of more than 30 local service organizations supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The ringing of the bells is one of many events scheduled on “Orlando United Day – A Day of Love and Kindness.”  The celebration is sponsored by the City of Orlando and the One Orlando Alliance.

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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