Code for Raleigh becomes Open Raleigh Brigade

This announcement was approved by Open Raleigh Brigade captains Zach Ambrose, Jason Hibbets, and Chris Mathews.

It’s with great excitement to let you know that as of February 7, 2018, Code for Raleigh will now be known as the Open Raleigh Brigade. We hope you are as excited as Chris, Zach, and I. I’d like to give you a little background about this change.

Code for Raleigh, established in October 2012

Five and a half years ago when Reid Serozi, Jason Horne, Chad Foley, and I started Code for Raleigh, we didn’t give much thought to the name. We were one of the earliest brigades to join the Code for America brigade program started by Kevin Curry. Most of the other cities were following the “Code for [City]” nomenclature, so we followed suit.

Basically, the group that was planning CityCamp Raleigh in 2011 and 2012, just became Code for Raleigh. We started a monthly meet-up and planned a few events throughout the year and figured out the rest as we went along.

Fast forward to today. CityCamp Raleigh eventually became CityCamp NC. And CityCamp NC began a great partnership with NC DataPalooza two years ago. Now, our teams have joined forces to plan an annual event series called NC Open Pass. But we, Code for Raleigh, never really did much coding and weren’t very successful at sustaining civic tech projects.

Fun fact: February 7, six years ago, the City of Raleigh city council unanimously passed their open government resolution.

Why Open Raleigh Brigade?

Over the past two years, we’ve been fighting an increasing trend to let people know that Code for Raleigh isn’t a coding school. Additionally, we’ve always wanted to be more inclusive. We need more than just coders and programmers as part of our brigade. We need designers, project managers, user experience experts, government partners, and people to help us with marketing, fundraising, collecting open data, and so much more.

We wanted to avoid any confusion with the open data program from the City of Raleigh, aptly named, Open Raleigh. We thought that by going with Open Raleigh Brigade, we would compliment that effort as the citizen volunteers helping to advocate for Open Raleigh, as well as the Wake County open data portal. We received positive feedback on this change from the City of Raleigh CIO and IT department.

We believe the purpose of the Open Raleigh Brigade is to:

  • foster citizen engagement and participation through our actions,
  • advocate for open source, open government, and open data,
  • partner with the City of Raleigh and Wake County IT departments,
  • partner with community stakeholders,
  • plan the NC Open Pass event series,
  • host meet-ups in-between major events, and
  • report our results to our governing bodies (Raleigh City Council, Wake County Commissioners)

We’d like to thank each and every one of you from the Open NC Collaborative for your support over the years and through this transition. 2018 is going to be a great year for the Open Raleigh Brigade. We value all of you as members and look forward to your feedback and continued support of our efforts to make positive change happen in our community and continue to develop ways for citizens to engage and participate with our local government.