Show of hands – who here thinks Sunshine Week marks the horrible time of year we drag ourselves out of bed after “losing” an hour of sleep with the change to Daylight Saving Time? Okay, sorry, those of you with your hands up, put them down, you’re wrong. Sunshine Week is actually a national initiative designed to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Started in 2005, Sunshine week is celebrated annually in March and coincides with National FOIA Day and James Madison’s birthday.
There are a variety of events held all over the country during Sunshine Week , a round up of which can be found at the Sunlight Foundation site. That said, to participate, you don’t need to attend an event, all that’s required is that you do something to engage in a discussion about the importance of open government. Check out Sunshine Week’s Local Heroes to see examples of what other folks have done to engage in the conversation.
Want to Learn More? Check out these additional Sunshine Week resources.
Last week, Tim and I had the chance to attend a panel discussion at Stanford titled, “The Open Government Initiative and the Promise of a Transparent Government.” The panel reviewed various U.S. and international initiatives designed to get citizens more engaged with their government via transparency, collaboration and participation. Of particular interest to us, given Justia’s focus on law.gov, was listening to the panelists share their thoughts on the challenges faced by groups both in and outside government as they work toward collecting and turning raw government data into usable information, processes and systems. The general consensus is that we still have a long way to go, but it was heartening to hear more about some of the exciting things going on related to the transformation of our civic culture. As an added bonus, after the discussion we had dinner with Daniel Schuman, one of panelists and the policy counsel at the Sunlight Foundation, and Stanford friends Vicky Reich and James Jacobs. It was great to sit down and talk about different ways Justia might help in their efforts to bring more transparency to government. Stay tuned. . .