A replica of Mexico’s famous Bell of Dolores arrived Saturday evening in Salt Lake City, where it will be on permanent display at the Centro Civico Mexicano.
“For us its incredibly emotional,” said Brandy Farmer, president of Centro.
The bell is a replica of the church bell rung by Father Miguel Hidalgo in the city of Dolores, Mexico, on Sept. 16, 1810, as a call to arms, launching the Mexican War of Independence.
The original bell is rung by Mexico’s president in a re-enactment each year on the eve of Mexican Independence Day, and it is a popular symbol of Mexico’s independence.
The replica bell, one of four made, was donated to Centro Civico by the Guadalajara entrepreneur and confectioner Enrique Michel Velasco.
Salt Lake City was chosen as a recipient after community organizer Natalia Solache appealed to the migrant rights group Consejo de Comunidades Hispanas. It will be displayed at Centro Civico’s new building, which is part of an affordable housing expansion underway at its current site, near 200 South and 600 West.
“Utah was selected because of Natalia Solache’s powerful presentation of the history, struggles and achievements of Utah’s Hispanic Communities and for her continual work and dedication for the migrant community in a bi-national way,” Farmer wrote in a news statement.
Solache was emotional Saturday when she and bell she’d driven from San Diego to Salt Lake City finally arrived at Centro Civico.
The drive was tiring, she said, but added her mission was like a shot of adrenaline and fueled her on the approximately 24-hour road trip.
Once the bell arrived in Salt Lake City, Solache drove it around the Capitol before a small procession, including a single Utah Highway Patrol escort, and then delivered it in the back of a small black pickup truck to Centro Civico.
It took at least four men to move the 440-pound bell from the back of the truck into the community center.
Solache said she hopes the bell is a reminder that there is a payoff for perseverance.
“[This bell] is the result of all the efforts and commitment,” Solache said. “It is a lesson to the rest of the community to show that when we have a goal, we can accomplish it if we dedicate ourselves to complete it.”
It will be displayed at the community center so visitors can look at it and learn a little bit about Mexican history. For instance Solache said, that Mexican Independence Day — Sept. 16 — is not Cinco De Mayo.