Mothers of Pulse victims want churches to toll bells 49 times on June 12

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PHOTO BY JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo by Joey Roulette
Mothers of victims who died in the massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse are asking churches around the world to toll their bells 49 times at noon on June 12.

The bell tolling is a tribute to the 49 people who died a year ago on June 12, 2016 when a gunman started a mass shooting at Pulse. The mothers are part of One Orlando Alliance, an organization made up of local LGBTQ groups and community leaders who are working to commemorate the one-year mark of the tragedy through acts of love and kindness. The bell tolling is part of the remembrance activities that will take place on Orlando United Day.

So far, 41 churches have signed up, including a number of churches in Orlando and the rest of Florida, according to the organization's website. Mayra Alvear-Benabe lost her daughter Amanda Alvear, 25, in the mass shooting that night.

"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," she says in a statement.

Maria Wright's son, Jerry Wright, 31, was also a victim of the Pulse tragedy.

"Bells are sacred," she says in a statement. "We toll them for death and we ring them for celebration. Many faith traditions use bells as they resound within our innermost being."

The mothers have also sent a letter to Pope Francis and other faith communities throughout the world asking them to honor the 49 victims with their church bells or by posting the number "49" on their signs if their place of worship does not have a bell.

Below are the churches that have signed up so far. Churches who want to register for the event can click here.




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