UPDATE: There was a big push for these on April 7 -- with 150 Town Halls For Our Lives held so far-- but that’s there’s more work to do. If your district hasn’t held a THFOL, time to get organizing one. Read below and then let us know how we can help!
Hundreds of thousands of us marched across the country on March 24. But that’s only the beginning.
To take this message directly to lawmakers, we need them to hear us directly--and soon. Every single member of Congress is back in their district on District Work Period--better known as “recess”--between March 23 and April 9. And they are back in their district weekend after. So March for Our Lives has raised the call for a congressional Town Hall in every district in America.
This is only possible if Americans across the country rally to organize and mobilize for these events. Read the March For Our Lives Town Hall FAQ.
And Town Hall Project is here to help! Here are 6 simple steps to organizing your Town Hall For Our Lives event.
Step 1: Demand your Member of Congress hold a Town Hall
The easiest, best way for a Town Hall For Our Lives to become a reality is if your member of Congress holds one themselves.
Check townhallproject.com to see if they already have one scheduled. If so, organize around this existing event and make your voice heard!
If they don’t have a town hall scheduled: call, email, and tweet at them and let them know you expect them to meet with their constituents on this vital issue--it’s part of their job.
Every single member of Congress has a website--find contact info there.
If they will hold a town hall, submit the event info to Town Hall Project so we can help spread the word.
If they won’t hold their own town hall, it’s time to take action!
Step 2: CONNECT with other activists
Don’t shoulder this alone. If you’re not already part of a local grassroots group, connect with others in your area who can help plan this event.
Need help finding others in your area to work with? Email us with your district and any other information you can provide.
Step 3: FIND a venue
The biggest choice you’ll make is where to hold your event. You want a venue with ample size for the heavy interest this event will likely attract. This can vary by community--so use your judgment and don’t hesitate to consult other local activists.
And you also want to find a place as convenient as possible for people to attend in your district. Some districts are small, some encompass entire states.
Whenever possible, work with activists in your area who have experience holding events. Your member of Congress’s district staff may even be willing to help. Don’t hesitate to ask for low or no cost use of a space--you may find venue owners willing to offer discounts because they support this cause.
Make sure the venue has:
Good places to start include:
Choose a time of day that best fits your community. Try to find a time when the maximum number of your fellow constituents will be available.
Step 4: INVITE your Member of Congress
Make sure your member of Congress has no excuse for skipping this event. Invite them as early as you can--and through multiple channels if possible.
Give them all relevant details about your event and the host organization, if any.
If at all possible, we strongly encourage you to find common ground.
But don’t accept a vague excuse. If they can’t make a day you propose, ask them to a commit to a different one. If they are serious about meeting their constituents, they will make time.
If your MoC refuses, Step 4B: Invite candidates for Congress
If your sitting member of Congress won’t take the time to hear from her or his constituents, it’s time to let people speak out to those running for office who are going to put people over special interests. Invite any and all declared candidates for that congressional district.
Reach out to candidates of both parties. We recommend Ballotpedia as a resource to find all candidates who’ve filed to run for Congress in your district.
Need help? Email us and we’ll offer some guidance.
Step 5: GET THE WORD OUT
Submit the event to Town Hall Project--we’ll share with March For Our Lives and other partner organizations and broadcast to thousands of people in your district.
Invite local media. Make sure this event has an impact beyond just the people in the room--let local press know the details as early as you can.
Spread the word on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Patch. If you aren’t on a platform, find a fellow activist who is and will help get the word out. Encourage all of your leadership team and your members to do the same.
If you’re part of a local grassroots group, email, call, and text your members.
Reach out to other organizations in the district:
Step 6: RUN a great event
Talk through every step with your fellow organizers--you might find you’re forgetting a key detail. Make sure you know exactly who has the keys, access to the lights and PA system, any parking restrictions, etc. Talk through who will take mics into the crowd and how you’ll choose questioners. Every small detail matters.
Coordinate with the member of Congress’s staff (or candidates’ staffs) on timing, entrances and exits, holding room for the candidate before the event begins, rooms for potential press interviews, and other details.
Make sure to remind your attendees the day before the event. Confirmation calls/texts/emails are the key to a well-attended event.
Get there early. Millions of Americans are energized by this movement--you’ll find attendees there earlier than you expect.
Encourage attendees to share personal stories and ask serious questions that require the member of Congress to give a specific answer.
Have an activist livestream the event on Periscope, YouTube Live, Facebook Live or another format and let us know so we can help spread the word.
Use this as an organizing opportunity! You want this event to be a success. But it’s the beginning of this fight, not the end. Have tables set up to collect emails and phone numbers of people willing to join the effort. Register voters.
Ask your member of Congress--or candidates--when their next Town Hall will be? Get a commitment from them before they leave.
Step 7: Maximize your IMPACT
Post images and stories from the event on social media and tag @townhallproject, @AMarch4OurLives, your member of Congress (or candidates), and any other groups part of organizing the event.
Upload videos to Town Hall Project and we’ll share powerful moments with the press and partner organizations to amplify them.
Start planning your next event or action! This fight doesn’t stop here. Keep the momentum going!
By choosing to attend this event, you are committing to participate nonviolently and in accordance with the law, to work to de-escalate confrontations with others, and to obey the orders of authorized event marshals and of law enforcement. You also acknowledge that you are solely responsible for any injury or damage to your person or property resulting from or occurring during this event and that you release all event sponsors and organizers (and their officers, directors, employees, and agents) from any liability for that injury or damage.