Braille Monitor                                                                 December 2006

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The Momentum Is Building

From the Editor: As the calendar year draws to a close, the Imagination Fund team is shifting into high gear in preparation for the March for Independence next July on the opening day of the 2007 convention in Atlanta. Here is what they have to say:

The March for Independence logo includes these words along with five Whozits in a line.

The momentum is building as members of our movement prepare for the first ever National Federation of the Blind March for Independence. Each of us can find many ways to participate. First, join us for the march. Register now at <www.nfb.org> or call Kristi Bowman at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2406. Once you register, you will receive some helpful tools that you can use to reach out to friends, family members, and others in your community. These materials discuss our Jernigan Institute, the Imagination Fund, and our first ever March for Independence; they will help you raise your pledge and ensure your participation in the March. Use these materials to start a conversation with someone, tell your story--what your life was like before the NFB and how the NFB has helped to change what you understand it means to be blind. Raise awareness about the NFB and educate people you know and those you do not about blindness.

If you have already registered, you should have received or will soon receive the particularly attractive folding March cards. They are twice the size of a standard business card, but they are perforated, so they easily fold to fit in your pocket, wallet, or purse. As soon as you get your batch, simply fill in your name and state on the bottom of the top half. This will allow us easily to track those who are sponsoring your personal National Federation of the Blind March for Independence. The thank-you, or bottom half, of these cool cards contains the text "NFB.org" and our phone number "410-659-9314" in Braille. Use the Braille portion of the card as another public outreach tool to help you engage folks in conversation. You can talk about Braille and how it has helped you in your life. Ask your colleagues, family members, or friends to sponsor your March for Independence at whatever level they can afford and simply hand them one of these nifty March cards. Tell them to rip it in half and send in the portion with your name and state together with a check to sponsor you in this 5K walk. It really works.

Every single dollar contributed to sponsor a participating marcher like you and me will directly benefit the NFB Imagination Fund, so register now. Plan to march with us early the morning of July 3 in Atlanta. Remember that each year members, friends, and supporters of the NFB give and ask others to donate to the Imagination Fund. Many of you have contributed or sought donations to support our work in recent years. Thank you. You know that this important fund supports the innovative research and cutting-edge training of the NFB Jernigan Institute, our institute, the institute that we built, but you also know that the Imagination Fund provides financial support for the important work we all do in each of our fifty-two state affiliates.

Remember that everyone who has raised at least $100 for the Imagination Fund after June 30 and before the close of 2006 will be eligible for a drawing for $1,000 during the Washington Seminar. Each fundraiser's name will be entered into the drawing once for each hundred dollars raised.

As we approach five hundred fundraising marchers, please register now. Agree to raise $250 or more in order to march with us in Atlanta on July 3, 2007. Everyone at the $250-level will be awarded an historic March for Independence T-shirt. We will have other fabulous and fashionable awards for those who raise $500 or $1,000 or more. We can do this. It is important that we reach outside of our movement to raise the awareness and the money that are vital to continue our march toward complete equality. Raising at least $250 will be easier than you think. When you are motivated by the Federation spirit, you can ask three neighbors, a sibling, a member of your church, two coworkers, and someone you will meet tomorrow on a bus or plane to sponsor your March for Independence. It will be easier than you think to raise $250 or more if you make it a daily priority, if you use the tools and materials provided after you register.
Our committee, coordinated by Ron Gardner working with NFB of Georgia President Anil Lewis, is planning an historic route. This 5K march will take place early the morning of Tuesday, July 3, before the opening session of the Sixty-Seventh Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The momentum is building. Plan to be a part of the excitement, the spectacle, and the fun. Help us raise public awareness, and help us raise funds to continue the exciting work we do. Take ownership and feel good about your involvement.

This event and the public education and fundraising leading up to the march are of great significance to the ongoing work of the National Federation of the Blind. Imagine the blind of America marching toward a future filled with opportunity, and you can be a big part of it all. Remember that on July 3, 2007, we the members of the National Federation of the Blind and many of our friends and supporters will hold our first ever National Federation of the Blind March for Independence. Do not wait; act now. We need everyone's active support and involvement. The momentum is building.

Think of creative ways to get your fellow Federationists involved. Let's keep building the momentum, developing local activities such as March for Independence training walks to get folks excited and informed. At the recent Colorado state convention about 150 of us held a mini March for Independence. It followed our luncheon, so we needed the exercise. We videotaped our little mini march. It is on the Web site at <www.nfb.org>. What chapter and affiliate activities can you dream up?

The momentum is building. If you are unable to attend next summer's convention in Atlanta, please consider registering and raising your $250 or more anyway. Perhaps you could sponsor someone else. As we build momentum toward the big day, we will be rolling out more tools and materials to support your effort, so please keep reading these pages, keep listening to presidential releases, and keep checking our NFB Web site for more details and helpful support materials.

The National Federation of the Blind March for Independence--with your help it is another way we are changing what it means to be blind.

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