Open Government Summit – March 2020

Celebrate Sunshine Week each year with us in March when the D.C. Open Government Coalition hosts a free reception and program. All are invited and those attending include government officials, nonprofit leaders, press and researchers, and a wide variety of community members who rely on open government law.

March 16 is the birthday of James Madison, who once wrote:

“[a] popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”1

He also wrote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge” is “the only Guardian of true liberty.”2

Sunshine Week was March 10-16 in 2019. Jonathan Make wrote up this year’s summit event in a post on Medium, March 12.

Earlier summits are described in older blog posts, for example 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 or 2017.

The Coalition’s summit is the annual event where the open government community comes together to celebrate accomplishments and look ahead to next steps.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has joined as well as top officials such as the Chief Technology Officer and directors of the Office of Open Government.

News breaks sometimes, as this year when summit presenters included charter school teachers who detailed their advocacy for change in the law after secret board and management actions at their schools, and Council member Charles Allen who previewed a dramatic charter school transparency bill he would introduce just 48 hours later. Two elected ANC commissioners also joined us in 2019 to describe their own efforts to find the government information they need to do their job of being the voice of their neighborhoods, And civic hackers over the years have showcased amazing applications built on open data.

You’re invited to the next in March 2020. Check back to this page for details.

1 Letter from James Madison to W.T. Barry (August 4, 1822), in The Writings of James Madison (Gaillard Hunt ed.).

2 Letter from James Madison to George Thomson (June 30, 1825) (on file with The James Madison Papers at The Library of Congress).