Making Access Happen – Sunshine Week 2023

FOIA Advisory Committee member Alex Howard and OGIS Director Alina M. Semo at the Department of Justice Office of Information Policy’s Sunshine Week program on Monday, March 13, in Washington, D.C (Photo courtesy of Alex Howard)

March 12-18, 2023, is Sunshine Week and the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) have embraced the theme of Make Access Happen as a part of our 2023 Sunshine Week activities. Make Access Happen is also a NARA strategic goal. Throughout this week, many NARA offices have shared information and programs about how the agency goes about fulfilling our mission as a means of “shedding light” on government records. Below are some highlights. 

  • On March 13, OGIS hosted a panel discussion moderated by NARA Chief FOIA Officer Gary M. Stern, titled “Make Access Happen: FOIA at the National Archives.” Representatives from the Office of General Counsel, National Declassification Center, Presidential Libraries, and Special Access & FOIA discussed how FOIA governs access to records accessioned to the National Archives as well as Presidential and classified records, and those created by NARA and its employees in the process of carrying out its mission and responsibilities. The program is available for viewing on NARA’s YouTube channel. 
  • National Archives News interviewed OGIS Director Alina M. Semo about the role OGIS has in the FOIA process. 
  • A curated playlist is available on NARA’s YouTube channel that highlights a myriad of programs across the agency including the National Historical Publications and Records Commission; Office of Innovation; Presidential Libraries and Research Services
  • National Archives News published an article highlighting the ways NARA Makes Access Happen by featuring 15 different stories from the records held across the agency. This includes varied topics on materials related to women’s history, Puerto Rico, Chinese heritage, Native Americans, African Americans and the 1950 census.  
  • Today, March 16, is Freedom of Information Day and the birthday of James Madison, who is often regarded as the Father of the Constitution and an advocate of open government. Madison served as the fourth President of the United States from 1809-1817.