To the Women of City Hall: Detroit

It’s time to say thanks to the dedicated public servants that helped our Fellows navigate City Hall and champion our mission. And to the Cities that opened their doors, their minds, and their databases to the 2012 Fellows.

In the spirit of thanks after the recent Thanksgiving holiday, we wanted to extend an enormous thank you to Detroit’s Code for America city champion: Ms. Karla Henderson. Karla is a woman who represents a great many things. On one hand she is a shining example of an accomplished and powerful woman in city government who had the foresight and optimism to see promise in welcoming in a handful of geeky young technologists into the fast-paced day-to-day of City Hall. On another, she is a warm and powerful “doer,” providing an unparalleled realism and sincerity in her work.

Karla has been instrumental to the progress made on our projects. Our relationship began serendipitously — Karla was the third in a line of city contacts who for various reasons had left the City of Detroit before we had come to town. Not without skepticism, Karla stepped up to the plate on the day before our arrival and gave us a chance. Every step along the way, she was pivotal to our momentum.

Karla’s words have inspired new cities to collaborate with Code for America in the future and the vision of her city is a bright one. Karla contributed countless hours and words to our projects this year and:

  • Opened seven public datasets from the City of Detroit
  • Opened public transit data for web developers
  • Sponsored the first “Apps for Detroit” challenge
  • Connected business leaders, technologists and community organizers around achieving change through technology

Karla forged our connection to another amazing woman inside Detroit’s City Hall — Portia Roberson, the White House SC2 in Detroit. Together these leaders found a budget where there was none, and brought together Detroit Department of Transportation, The Mayor’s Office and the Federal Transit Agency to support our work and other progressive changes to transit in Detroit.

These women and many more deserve our thanks. It was a privilege to work with you.

– Alicia, Matt and Prashant

Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.

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