Community leaders and representatives from more than 100 civil society organizations gathered in Mexico City for Global Exchange’s Peace Summit last week – February 23-24.

“The need for change is obvious and urgent,” said Marco Castillo, Global Exchange’s Co-Executive Director, during his opening remarks. “After 30 years of grassroots cross-border organizing we know that those who are most deeply impacted belong at the forefront of policy debates and planning.”

Over 300 community leaders and organizations from Mexico and the U.S. came together at the Peace Summit to denounce discrimination, violence, injustice, poverty and inequality and define collective solutions for the region. Participants included Afro-descendant collectives, representatives of Indigenous peoples, migrants, LGBTQIA+ community, victims of violence, collectives for the disappeared, community journalists and human rights activists.

Twelve months in the making, the Summit held more than a dozen preparatory meetings in the U.S. and Mexico to define a set of perspectives and demands. These were deepened and clarified on day one of the Summit.

And on day two, representatives of the Peace Summit had the opportunity to share their concerns and demands with Mexican government officials including Alejandro Encinas, Sub-secretary of the Interior for Human Rights and Jesus Ramírez Cuevas, Spokesman for the President.

The Mexican officials committed to participate in the binational agenda proposed by the Peace Summit for the next two years. Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez proposed the establishment of a working group to promote the Summit’s proposals.

We are proud of all that was achieved last week, and we are grateful to everyone who took part. Thank you!

We know, this is just the beginning. … A very exciting beginning, where now our communities know one another and have agreed and committed to working together to cultivate and catalyze a united cross-border movement that denounces injustice and elevates community-led solutions to the growing inequality, violence, human rights and migration crises affecting the region.

“What excites me most about these platforms is that we will all be able to speak together, regardless of borders, we will not raise our voices alone,” said Carla Garcia, of the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization, OFRANEH.

Stay tuned for ways you can get involved.