The Braille Monitor                                                                                               January, 2004

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Georgia on My Mind

by Anil Lewis

Anil Lewis
Anil Lewis

From the Editor: Anil Lewis is president of the NFB of Georgia and a newly elected member of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind. This is what he says about the 2004 NFB convention:

Atlanta, Georgia, is my home. I have always taken for granted the ability to travel from ocean, past countryside, through city, to mountain within a six-hour drive. I have been privileged to rub elbows with one of the most diverse populations in the country. Atlanta is a melting pot within the American melting pot. We have citizens from across the country and around the globe. Atlanta has something to offer regardless of where you are from. Those from little towns marvel at the tall buildings, shops, restaurants, and nightlife. Those from the big cities enjoy the laid-back, friendly comfort of a southern city experienced in offering hospitality.

I personally like to say that Atlanta is a little country town disguised as a big city. Indeed Atlanta is a lovely city with wonderful people, presenting tremendous possibilities. As the National Federation of the Blind prepares to hold our annual convention in the Possibility City of Atlanta, in the Peach State of Georgia, I am delighted to welcome you to my home.

This is the first of several opportunities I will take to encourage you to attend the 2004 NFB convention, which is destined to be one of our best yet. The following paragraphs are meant to whet your palate, as the members of the NFB of Georgia put the final touches on our plans as your hosts.

Of course the experienced staff of our national office will coordinate the lion's share of the convention. Because of their efforts we are fortunate once again to be in the world-class facility of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, with convention room rates that continue to be the envy of all. The program being developed will assure that we will hear speakers and presentations to educate and enlighten us. The exhibit hall will provide blind people from around the world the opportunity to check out the latest developments in technology and other products and services that allow the blind to be more independent and more productive. By this time Dr. Maurer is well into his preparation of an entertaining and insightful convention banquet speech that clearly defines our purpose and motivates us to reach our goals.

We are tapping the experienced members of the Georgia affiliate who helped to host the superb conventions of 1999 and 2000 to plan complementary events that will round out everyone's convention experience. We are currently working on tours that should make the convention feel more like a vacation than a conference. Georgia is rich in Civil War history. One tour is specially designed for the Civil War buff. This will include a trip to Stone Mountain and perhaps the opportunity to attend an impressive laser show. Further, Atlanta is a city rich in civil rights history and the home of Martin Luther King, Jr. The conventioneer interested in civil rights history will not want to miss an opportunity to visit the King Center and other historic civil rights landmarks.

We are also working collaboratively with the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) and Atlanta's Fernbank Science Center to develop a Touch the Universe tour that takes the Touch the Universe experience of the 2003 convention to the next level. We will also have tours that are just plain fun. We are putting together trips to Zoo Atlanta, World of Coca-Cola, and maybe even a baseball game or a trip to the Six Flags over Georgia amusement park. In addition there will be other options like trips to special locations, visits to local entertainment spots, a dinner dance, and dinner theater.

The two parties being planned by the Georgia affiliate will give everyone time to relax and have fun. It will indeed be a challenge to surpass the musical entertainment of our 1999 and 2000 conventions of blues, swing, and rock and roll. We have gotten such wonderful feedback about all the previous performances that it will be difficult deciding what form the entertainment should take this year. We welcome this challenge, however, and remain certain that everyone will have a good time.

While you are here, be sure to stop by the Georgia affiliate suite for a little southern hospitality. There you will experience Georgia with your taste buds. Georgia peaches, peanuts, and sweet potato pie will be available to sample. If you desire more than a sample, these delicacies, along with other Georgia trinkets and memorabilia, will be on sale at the Georgia table in the exhibit hall.

We recognize it is our job as the host affiliate to make sure that all of you enjoy yourselves. We are busy putting the friendly touches on a national convention that we hope will be second to none. I hope all of you will be able to attend. Georgia is on my mind; I hope it is on yours as well.

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