This is Sunshine Week, March 11 – 17, celebrating the public’s right to know, a concept which these days goes by the less clarifying expression “transparency.” The culminating event of the week is Freedom of Information Day on March 16, the birthday of James Madison, the fourth U.S. president, who is considered the “Father of the Constitution” and champion of the Bill of Rights.
Sunshine Week is a nonpartisan event supported by politicians and public officials, journalists, libraries, schools, historians, museums, archives, and anyone who values open government.
You can find out more about activities in your community on the Sunshine Week website, which notes that events have been organized across the country to “enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.”
If you can’t get to one of the celebrations in your community, celebrate by viewing and re-reading the U.S. Constitution and learn more about Madison’s long road to ensuring its ratification on the National Archives website.
Writing that inspired me this week:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
~ First Amendment, U.S. Constitution