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Eleanor Holmes Norton

Abolitionists represent the best of who we are as Americans. In the years leading up to Emancipation, they advocated tirelessly for the dignity and equality of all people – freedoms affirmed in our Declaration of Independence, but which were then, as now, left not fully realized.

This new carillon will not only be the first of its kind east of the Anacostia River, but it will also be the first of its kind in our nation. It will be a gathering place to celebrate community, enjoy the beautiful sound of music on bells, and reflect on our shared history.

I believe it is important to keep the voices of abolitionists alive, voices that still have resonance today. As we approach the 160th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, we must ensure the stories of these heroes are preserved and celebrated for generations to come.

Why? Because their work is not done. Our work is not done. I am reminded of a quote attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

This matters.

Let’s not stay silent.

Let’s let freedom ring.