Last week Town Hall Summer launched — a campaign of unity and civic mobilization — in Fresno California.

The event was a great coming together of progressive groups and people. Many of them — from the immigrant rights struggle, anti-war organizations, environmental groups, civic organizations, fair trade networks, voter registration powerhouses, labor unions, and other movements — said that they were happy to meet fellow activists and organizers because, while living in the same town, they rarely meet up or find ways to work together.

That is the idea of Town Hall Summer:  In the face of an unprecedented attack on immigrants, the environment, workers, and the very foundations of democracy and civility we are coming together to strengthen our movement and build a different future; A future where all of us can live together, work together, and show respect for one another.

The Fresno Town Hall started with wrenching testimonies from immigrants who shared painful stories of abuse and separation. You can read more the stories shared in the Fresno Bee or watch it online here.

Their stories underlined the urgency of the crisis we are facing and the need for unity, civic participation and massive voter turnout this fall to turn our words into action and start to turn our country around.

Movement leader, Armando Gudino, from Drug Policy Alliance, took the stage to demand an end to the War on Drugs, because it’s clear it’s “war against the people, and particularly a war against people of color and immigrants. This can’t continue”.

Amy Arlund, from the California Nurses/National Nurses United, said that the separation of families “is an attack on our health system, because it affects the health of thousands of migrants. Health is a basic right that everyone should have access to”.

And Samuel Molina from Mi Familia Vota called the public to act, register to vote and help others getting registered, so we can change the current state of things.

All the many speakers were all clear about this: while participation means a lot more than voting, voting is one of the few ways we can all come together to have a voice and collectively transform our communities. Many speakers exhorted those who can vote to remember that voting is a privilege not everyone has – and that those who can need to exercise this right on behalf of those who cannot.

The day ended in a spirit of unity and good vibration as the band La Meta serenaded the crowd and got lots of folk on their feet and dancing.

Town Hall Summer continues — next in Arizona and then in Florida and Texas.  And for those of you who are at a distance, we will have virtual Town Halls online that you are invited to join.

A big thank you to all of our local and national partners who supported this event:, SEIU-USWW, Drug Policy Alliance, Alianza Americas, Democracy Initiative, LEAP, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, California Trade Justice Coalition, Central Valley Partnership, California Nurses/National Nurses United, Mi Familia Vota, Californians for Justice, ACT for Women and Children, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, United Farm Workers, WILPF, ILRC and FIOB.


Parents seeking asylum in the US and separated from their children by immigration authorities will launch a national education and defense campaign in partnership with a broad front of national and local organizations convening in Fresno.

The Fresno event is the kickoff event of a nationwide civic mobilization called “Town Hall Summer” that will convene a series of events in California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida to defend basic human rights, the health of our planet, healthcare as a human right and the vitality of our democracy.

Town Hall Summer is sponsored by Global Exchange, the San Francisco based human rights organization. It has the active support of dozens of national and local organizations including:, Alianza Américas, Drug Policy Alliance, California Nurses Association/  National Nurses United, California Trade Justice Coalition, Democracy Initiative, Law Enforcement Acion Partnership, Mi Familia Vota, Californians for Justice, ACLU of Northern CA, Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte, Youth Leadership Institute, SustainUS, ACT for Women and Children, CHIRLA (Fresno), Centro La Familia, Californians for Pesticide Reform, Fresno Center for Non-Violence and many more.

The Town hall will include entertainment, skills workshops, voter registration, and presentations by the representatives of national organizations and local their local partners. Some national organizations are sending speakers including:

  • Neil Franklin, Law Enforcement Action Partnership
  • Cristina García, Alianza Americas
  • Amy Arlund, California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United
  • Tianna,  SustainUS and Powershift Network
  • Will Witschko, California Trade Justice Coalition
  • Armando Gudino, Drug Policy Alliance

When and Where:

July 21st, from 11:00 AM to 3:00PM , at the Mosqueda Community Center, located at 4670 E Butler Ave, Fresno, CA 93702.


This will be the first of a series of events that Global Exchange and its partners will be organizing throughout the US, including Arizona, California, Texas and Florida in the lead up to the election and beyond.

According to Marco Castillo, Town Hall Summer’s lead organizer,  “We have had enough of our federal government pushing policies that result in the violence of family separation and mass incarceration; Policies that lead to irreversible environmental destruction, criminalization of minorities, disregard for public health and healthcare as a right and the loss of labor rights. We need massive mobilization and unprecedented civic participation to change course.” 

We are starting this campaign in Fresno to give voice to people –like parents whose children have been snatched away by U.S. government agencies.  

Please join us in standing up for ourselves — and each other.

Please visit for details on upcoming events and actions.

More information: contact Marco Castillo at 646.826.9834 or