Amendment XXVIII: Open Government

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like [citizens], undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
~ Thomas Paine: Patriot, Founding Father, Data Liberation Rockstar

A couple of weeks ago, to celebrate Independence Day, we launched Open Impact — a campaign at Code for America to encourage and enable municipal governments to declare “data independence.”

The Open Impact is a campaign that CfA that will run throughout the Summer. It’s aimed at encouraging more cities to follow the lead of pioneers like San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia in establishing official policies for open data and transparent governments.

Open Impact brings together resources that both citizens and cities can use to advocate and activate for open government. Citizen tools help facilitate a community conversation about why open government matter to each of us, and provide means to solicit government officials to take action on the matter. Cities can see what’s happening in the world of open government – sample open data policies that cities can adopt, concrete steps that can be taken to be a more open city government, as well as ways that cities can engage with citizens in new and innovative ways.

We’re encouraging cities to think big about ways to institutionalize openness and transparency:

  • Adopt a formal open government policy for your city.
  • Establish an official open data repository, and fill it with valuable and useful city data.
  • Create a new office of innovation within city government, to pilot new ideas and create a culture of creativity and change.

It all begins with a pledge – a declaration by city leaders that they are committed to working toward the principles of open government.

The famous patriot and founding father, Thomas Paine, once said that citizens who want freedom to bloom need to sweat for it. At Code for America, we see citizens stepping up all across the country through our Brigade program to volunteer their talents and their time to make their cities better.

Open government data and transparent governance are the raw materials these civic volunteers, activists, and doers need to collaborate with city leaders to make their communities better.

Will your city honor the commitment and spirit of this new generation of patriots?

Will you step up? Will your city?

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