Beginning at sunrise on January 21, 2017 scores of people from every faith, race, gender, age, class, ability, and legal status in the United States made committed to marking each sunrise and sunset with the ringing of bells for the duration of the Trump administration.
One year into that administration, it became clear that Ring the Bells could no longer be about Donald Trump and instead should be a way to demonstrate our values of justice and peace, generosity and dignity, and denounce hate and oppression, cruelty and greed — in all their forms and by all their names.
Trump himself is too narrow a field, too unworthy an adversary for such a beautiful commitment. We don’t want to give him any more of our energy than he is already getting. The inspiring feeling that comes from ringing the bells need not be held back from him, but it certainly shouldn’t be defined or propelled by him. This year of ringing the bells to be such a powerful commitment that its scope is well beyond him and we want to reflect that in the general orientation of the practice.
The aspiration remains the same, and is now open ended in time. As the sunrise moves over the country, we ring our bells as a commitment to stay watchful and woke, as a reminder of our solidarity based on love and possibility, as an affirmation of our determination to stand against oppression in all its forms.
Over time, the ringing of church bells, school bells, alarm bells, temple bells, cell phone bells, pots and pans, cowbells, doorbells, sleigh bells, the bells of town halls and city halls, hand bells, meditation bells, and hell’s bells will sweep across the cities and fields, mountains and meadows, streets and valleys – to remind us all of our solidarity in the face of divisiveness, of our commitment to love, dignity, justice, and peace, and our opposition to the forces of greed, hatred, degradation, and exploitation.
As the sun sets, we remember those who have struggled for goodness, who have suffered at the hands of the powerful, we commemorate the close of another day in an empire of hate, offering solace and assurance to one another as we come to rest.
When we ring our bells, we denounce policies that are rooted in fear and perpetuate hate; We feel and express our allegiance to a society that protects its most vulnerable, cares for its most pained, encourages our brilliance, thrives off of our genius and the highest achievements of the human character while propelling us toward a greatness that excludes none.
Whatever actions we are involved in to defend the goodness in our society and our world they are led by the heart and we must do what we can to keep it soft and strong, tender, penetrating, and clear. We know that Ringing the Bells is not going to topple the regime, but it is not really about Trump. It is one small way of securing the sanctity of our own hearts, of strengthening the connection to our own and each other’s goodness, and of nourishing ourselves with the camaraderie of care.
Spread the word and organize your place of worship, your town hall, your workplaces, and community groups to join in as institutional leaders of the demonstration.