30, No. 4 April
Kenneth Jernigan, Editor
in inkprint, Braille, on talking-book disc,
and cassette by
National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, President
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THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
THE BLIND IS NOT
SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES
Vol. 30, No. 4 April 1987
THE KEVAN WORLEY CASE: A LESSON IN CIVIL RIGHTS
by Peggy Pinder
WELCOME TO ARIZONA
DIABETICS SHOULD LOSE WEIGHT, AVOID DIET FADS
by Gina Kolata
DIABETIC DIVISION OF NFB
by Karen Mayry
A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES
by Dave Hyde
MARCH ON WASHINGTON BIGGEST AND MOST ENTHUSIASTIC EVER
THE WILL TO BE FREE: ANOTHER AIRLINE LETTER
by Kenneth Jernigan
HAZEL tenBROEK HONORED ON HER 75TH BIRTHDAY
by Marc Maurer
BLINDNESS AND THE FAMILY--ANNOUNCING THE 1987 NFB SEMINAR AND
WORKSHOP FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN
by Barbara Cheadle and Mary Wurtzel
Copyright, National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1987
The National Federation of the Blind continues to grow in both membership and service. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the Federation is the only national organization of the blind which is expanding in both areas. As you know, our magazine, the Braille Monitor, (which now has a circulation of more than 25,000 copies a month) is currently available in Braille, in print, and on talking book record. Beginning immediately, we are also making the Monitor available on cassette. It is being recorded on four tracks at the slow speed.
If you or anyone you know would like to have the Monitor on cassette, write to: Braille Monitor, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. In your letter tell us whether you are now receiving the Monitor; if so, in what form; and whether you would like to continue receiving it in that form as well as on cassette.
Although we want to provide the Monitor to anyone who wants to read it, and in whatever form it is wanted, we should add that the cassette edition is quite a bit more costly than the disk edition. If you can use the disk edition as conveniently as the cassette edition, it will conserve money and allow us to allocate resources to other important programs. In any case the Monitor is now available on cassette, and we believe this will expand the readership and provide a needed service.
THE KEVAN WORLEY CASE:
A LESSON IN CIVIL RIGHTS
by Peggy Pinder
(Editor's Comments: In the middle part of the nineteenth century, America was torn by the question of slavery. At that time James Russell Lowell said:
Truth forever on the scafferd;
Wrong forever on the throne.
Yet, that scafferd sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadows,
Keeping watch above his own.
On another occasion Lowell said:
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.
The kind of slavery which Lowell protested no longer exists in America, but that does not mean that oppression has been eliminated or slavery completely abolished. As you read the following article, ask yourself what you would have done if you had stood in Kevan Worley's place in the line at the bus station.
How would you have felt as your small children, your wife, and the crowd of bystanders witnessed your humiliation? What scars will be left on the nine-year-old son and the two-year-old daughter?
Ordinarily the Monitor does not make a practice of printing offensive language, but we make an exception in the present instance. The blind of the nation and their friends must know what was said by the police. It is no game we play, this business of self-organization and struggle for equal treatment. It is as vital and important as the lives and destinies of us all, and those who fear the consequences of the struggle for freedom should consider carefully and quietly drop out of line. There is a price to be paid, and the time of payment is now. There is also a reward to be achieved. Its name is freedom, and we do not intend for it to be postponed until future generations.
We intend to have some of it now--some for ourselves, and even more for the blind who come after us. However, we can only have it if we are prepared to work for it, sacrifice for it, and fight for it. Freedom is like that. It is never given. It must always be earned.
With this in mind what are you prepared to do on a daily basis as you interact with family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers? And what are you prepared to do to build and strengthen the National Federation of the Blind? Individual action and collective action--both are required. In short, you and the Federation. Each of us should think of these things and ponder our own level of commitment as we contemplate the Kevan Worley story. Here it is in the words of Peggy Pinder, who served as attorney for the Worleys.)
What happens in the United States if an individual stands up and asserts rights guaranteed by law? Our textbooks and our traditions tell us that law protects us, that human and civil rights lie at the very core of our nation's jurisprudence. But human and civil rights are the end result. Someone had first to stand up for those rights and often had to suffer for doing so.
A glance at American legal history reveals many victims, men and women whose rights were trampled upon and who never personally achieved redress in court. The great case of Marbury v. Madison established the Supreme Court as the final decider of what is and is not permitted under our Constitution. As a footnote to history, William Marbury, who originally brought the suit, lost completely. The slave plaintiff Dred Scott lost his case to compel his freedom, a defeat which helped to bring about the Civil War. Homer Plessy lost his case for equal treatment of blacks and whites by railroad companies, ushering in the legal permission to segregate people by race known as "separate but equal" treatment. Japanese-American internee Toyosubaro Korematsu lost his case to have the World War II internment of Japanese- Americans declared unconstitutional. The Supreme Court's permission for imprisonment based on race in Korematsu provoked the Federation's founder Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, then a university professor and legal scholar, to write a learned protest which earned him a permanent place in American legal tradition. Dr. tenBroek's analysis is the starting point of every first-year law student's study of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and his insights and language are used routinely by today's lawyers.
History has slowly righted the wrongs inflicted in these individual cases. But many of the individuals who first asserted important civil rights did not live to enjoy those rights themselves.
The suffering of these men and women did not begin with their final defeat in court. When a human or civil right is violated, the pain and humiliation are immediate and last a lifetime. When one human being treats another as an inferior, as second-class, as subhuman, both human beings are degraded. The one who receives the injury must be strong indeed to prevent it from warping and embittering the outlook.
We blind people are accustomed to dealing with people who believe us less capable than our neighbors. The National Federation of the Blind serves as our vehicle for righting these wrongs and for bringing about a better world in which the blind will be accepted as equals. The Federation also serves each of us as a source of strength, helping us to keep perspective and teaching us that bitterness and resentment will not change the world. Only a strong belief in ourselves and a willingness to work for creative change will bring the results we seek.
There is a long list of Federationists who have led the way in suffering arrest and public harassment because they stood up for their rights. Judy Sanders, Russell Anderson, Steve and Nadine Jacobson, Gary Mackenstadt, Barbara Pierce, Larry Krejci, Sharon Gold, Sheryl Pickering, David Estes, Kevin Harris, and Fred Schroeder have all been arrested in the last two years for sitting in their assigned airline seats, seats which turned out to be in exit rows. Only Steve and Nadine Jacobson were ever tried in a court of law. As for all the others, they were never even charged, or the charges were dropped by local prosecutors or judges who knew that the blind person had committed no crime. The Jacobsons told their story to a jury as did United Airlines. The Jacobsons won, receiving a complete acquittal from the jury. Other Federationists--President Maurer, Mary Ellen Reihing, Bonnie O'Day, Paul Gabias, Curtis Chong, Jan Uribes, Steve Hastalis --have been physically removed or barred from airplanes or have been falsely told that their flight was "canceled," though the airlines did not have the courage to arrest these men and women. They were simply refused passage when they insisted on sitting in their exit row seats--seats assigned to them (not by their request) by the airlines.
Each of these men and women underwent the pain and humiliation of public harassment when they stood up for their rights. Each was finally vindicated by the courts as completely as by their own consciences. Each has learned the lesson of Federationism in a new way. But even if a court had found each and every one of them guilty of some criminal charge, every one of them would still stand acquitted before their own beliefs. Each of them chose their beliefs over immediate comfort, their beliefs over the wishes of those around them, their beliefs over the usual practice of complying with directives of those in charge. Each is stronger, and we are all stronger for it.
Each is stronger because he or she learned that, when you seem most to be alone, when the people all around you seem to be united against you, that is when you feel most strongly the supporting force of 50,000 other blind people encouraging you to endure for principle and belief. The journey from second- class citizenship to first-class status is never easy, but it is always worth the effort and exceedingly rewarding. In fact, it is likely to be more painful than anything else except staying where you are as a second-class citizen.
Kevan and Debbie Worley are Federationists from St. Louis where Kevan serves as a chapter president. Both are blind. Neither had ever been arrested for insisting on equal treatment before September 4, l986. They had always been there when someone else needed encouragement and support. They knew that their rights in Missouri were protected by a White Cane Law making violation of the civil rights of a blind person a crime, and they had a friend whose recent illness called them to make an eighty-mile bus trip to cheer and encourage the long hours of convalescence.
On September 4, l986, Kevan and Debbie Worley, both carrying their white canes, arrived at the Trailways bus station in St. Louis at about 7:00 a.m. with their son and daughter. The Worleys got in line while their son went to play video games. When they arrived at the ticket counter, they stepped into that twilight world where a person's simple dignity and humanity must be fought for before the judge of conscience and belief. Here in their own words is what happened:
Affidavit of Kevan Worley
Comes now Kevan Worley and, being first duly sworn, deposes and states as follows:
1. My name is Kevan Worley. My address is 5432 Odell Street, St. Louis, Missouri, 63139. I am totally blind.
2. On Thursday morning, September 4, 1986, my wife Deborah and I and our two children, Jayson, age nine, and Megan Beth, age two, took a cab from our home to the Trailways Bus station in downtown St. Louis. We left our home at approximately 6:50 Thursday morning, arriving at the bus station a little after 7:00. Our son Jayson went to play video games, while Megan, Deborah, and I got in line to buy tickets. We were going to visit friends in Festus, Missouri, some forty miles south of St. Louis.
3. When it came our turn to purchase tickets, Deborah asked the female ticket agent for two adult and one child's ticket to Festus. The ticket agent asked to see a doctor's letter. Deborah said we did not need a letter from a doctor since we weren't asking for any half price fares, except for a child's ticket which is always half fare. The lady asked again for a doctor's letter and Deborah said, "I don't understand. We've never used a doctor's letter before, and anyway we want full fare tickets for my husband and me and the full fare charged for our children."
4. The ticket agent got very loud and once again told Deborah that she would not be allowed to buy tickets without a doctor's letter. At this point Deborah asked to see a supervisor and was told that the supervisor would, "not be in until nine and by that time your bus will be gone."
5. At this point I decided that the ticket agent must be confused about my white cane and the fact that Deborah had asked for a half fare ticket for our son. I explained that my wife and I wanted full fare tickets and that the half fare ticket we wanted was for our nine-year-old son. I explained that we didn't want any special treatment or reductions in fare because of blindness, just the ordinary tickets for adults and for children.
The ticket agent angrily replied that she wasn't going to sell us tickets. I then said, "You've been rude to everyone in this line. We've heard you. Please just sell us the tickets. We do not want special treatment from you and we have a right under the law to buy regular tickets. All we want to do is go to Festus." The agent said, "I cannot sell you any Godamn tickets without a doctor's statement."
6. At that time I told the ticket agent that we would not move until she sold us tickets. She said, "I won't sell you any fucking tickets so get out of my line." She then moved to the next ticket window to my right. I picked up my cane, moved to my right, and attempted to bar that window with the cane by holding it horizontally across my body, five to six inches out away from my chest along the edge of the counter. My right hand extended down to the tip of the cane and my left hand was placed on the handle of the cane. At no time did my cane leave our side of the window or rise higher than the level of the countertop. My attempt was to bar the window as a sign of defiance and I said, "We won't be leaving if we're not allowed to buy tickets and go to Festus, and neither will anybody else." As I moved to my right, I accidentally brushed against an older lady. Deborah put her arm around me and said, "it's an older lady." At that time, the older lady moved around behind me to the ticket window located to my left where we had orignally been standing. The agent went back to that ticket window and they began to transact business.
7. Realizing that I could accomplish nothing by preventing others from buying tickets, I then moved farther down the counter to my right. As I did, I accidentally knocked over some object sitting on the counter. It sounded like one of those hard molded plastic cases that they put on the counter to display schedules or credit card applications. The ticket agent then called the police and said, "Somebody's bustin' up my station."
8. I continued every twenty to thirty seconds to say, "I would like for my family and me to be sold tickets to Festus. Please sell us tickets. Will someone from Trailways please sell our family tickets to Festus. Look, all I want are tickets to Festus." Those kinds of things I was saying every time I heard someone walking up to the counter to buy tickets.
9. While I was doing this, I asked Deborah to go call the police. Our rights under the Missouri White Cane law were being violated, and I felt that we should call for police assistance. Deborah went to call while I continued saying, "Please sell us tickets to Festus" for another five to seven minutes.
10. As Deborah returned to my side with Megan in her arms crying, police came up from behind us and asked Deborah, "Is this the asshole busting up Trailways? Why in the hell does he want to go to Festus?" Deborah said, "I don't know. You'll have to ask him." They spun me around and the older sounding officer said, "What the hell are you doing here? Why don't you get out of here? This isn't a play." The younger-sounding one (I learned later his name is Steve) said, "Where are you from? I know you can't be from St. Louis. You're too fucking stupid." I had been holding forty dollars in my hand the entire time. I held the two twenty-dollar bills out to the officers and said, "I want to go to Festus. That's all we want to do is go to Festus. You can resolve this by talking to the agent. Would you please buy the tickets for us? All we want to do is go to Festus." One of the officers said, "You're not going anywhere. Just get the fuck out of here." I said, "I'm sorry. I cannot leave if my family does not get bus tickets to Festus."
11. The next thing I remember is officer Steve telling me, "We'll take you in for resisting arrest." At this time Deobrah said, "Are you arresting him? Is he under arrest? You can't do that. You haven't told him he's under arrest." "The fuck we can't. We can do anything we want. We're St. Louis police officers," Steve said. Deborah asked, "Don't you have to read his rights or anything?" "We don't have to read him shit," one of the officers replied. At this point, they wrenched the cane from my hands while Deborah protested by saying, "You can't do that. You can't take his cane away." One of the officers said, "The hell we can't" as I was spun around and handcuffed.
12. They started taking me to the door, and Deborah asked if she could have the money in my front left pocket if they were taking me in. One officer yelled, "No you can't" and the other one said she could. All I knew at the time was that someone did reach in my front left pocket and take the hundred-dollar bill. (I later learned that Deborah had moved quickly to my side and taken the bill before anyone tried to stop her.)
13. The two officers then marched me out to the street in handcuffs. As they did, one of them said, "We'll take you down with the niggers and see how your asshole likes that." The one officer, Steve, was on my right. He moved very fast, while the other officer on my left walked very slowly and started bending my elbow up at a peculiar angle. This put me in an awkward and painful position. By the time we reached the street, my elbow had been bent up high enough that, combined with the different paces of the officers, I was suffering considerable pain. I had to try somehow to get my elbow down a little to ease the pressure.
14. It was at this point that one officer said, "Oh, you want to struggle, huh, you mother fucker?" and threw me to the ground. The other officer said, "Oh, he wants to fuckin' struggle, huh?" When I fell, I landed on my right side. Steve walked around me, prodding me with his shoes. I turned on to my stomach to protect my face. Immediately the older sounding officer called for an ambulance while Steve waived a billy club over my head. I could feel the air and hear the whistling sound of the club being waved over my head as Steve cursed me and threatened me. He said, "Do you still want those fucking Trailways tickets to Festus? Why don't you beg for them and I'll split your fucking brains all over the sidewalk."
15. At this time I was very panicked and felt I should do anything they said because I was feeling very threatened. I started saying, "I'm sorry, man. Let's forget it, man." Steve said, "Man? I'm not 'man.' I'm a fucking St. Louis police officer." He then said something about showing him respect.
16. The officers then told me to get up. I tried to get up and found that the handcuffs made it difficult to get my balance. I fell back slightly, so they both jerked me to my feet and shoved me into the back of a car. Steve got into the front seat of the car while continuing to curse me by saying, "What in the fuck do you think you're doing, you stupid, blind-assed mother fucker." He continued to berate me with real anger and outrage. I could hear real violence in his voice. I was terrified and said nothing.
17. At this point I heard my wife approaching the car and asking if she could have the house keys. One of the officers relayed the message from Deborah to Steve in the front seat. Steve reached back and attempted to get in my right pocket. He was unsuccessful in getting the keys, so he got out of the car and said, "I'm not going to strip search the son of a bitch out here. I'm just not going to do it. You don't need the fucking keys." Deborah said, "Where will you be taking him?" Steve replied, "We'll be taking him to the Twelfth and Clark police station."
18. By this time there was at least one more officer (a third one) on the scene--a police sergeant, I believe. I heard one of the officers talk to a passer-by. The officer said something about a civil matter and that this was a criminal matter and the passer-by should "get the hell out of here." I presume that this passer-by was offering information which would help us.
19. The police officers then laughed at Deborah, who was attempting to get into a cab. They said, "Look at the bitch now. She's trying to take those kids home without her cane. Where the hell is her cane? Why don't we arrest them both, throw them into a cell and see how blind people fuck?" They all got a good laugh out of this.
20. "They'll probably win a civil action and get about half a million dollars," one of the officers said. "Why don't we just put a gun to his head right now and ask for $10,000 in advance." Again they all laughed heartily.
21. At this point, I heard another vehicle drive up. They told me to get out of the car and asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital. I said, "That will be up to these gentlemen." They said, "Look, you either want to go to the hospital or you don't." I said, "I don't know what you want me to do. I'll do whatever it is you want to speed this thing up. I don't know what you want me to do." The woman and man (they were new arrivals) asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital. I said I didn't know. They asked if I had any bruises or scratches and I said I had some elbow scrapes, but I didn't know if they needed hospital treatment. They turned me around slowly and said they didn't think I'd be treated. I said I'd do whatever the officers wanted me to do. At that time they exchanged information. I heard papers shuffling. I was put back in the car where I sat by myself for three to five minutes. I was then led out of the car into a paddy wagon and taken to the police station.
22. I was taken from the paddy wagon by one officer and led into the police station. On the way in, the other officer was banging my cane on the ground repeatedly and quite hard. One officer said, "Does that damned thing have some kind of sensor?" The officer with the cane banged it harder, and I heard the ring from the tip slide up the cane. He said, "It sure the fuck doesn't now," and they both laughed about that.
23. Once inside the police station I was with Steve alone. He took me to different desks. He didn't seem to know what was going on. He was asking people, "Where do I take him? Where do you want him?" He seemed to be confused about where to process me. I was finally taken upstairs. It took almost half an hour to fill out forms listing my property and getting information such as my name and address, etc. He asked me to take everything out of my pockets and asked me to count my money. I counted it and said, "I believe there's about $5.80 there." He said he would count it and said, "There's $6.10. The stupid blind fucker can't even count." The two officers then debated for a while what to charge me with. They didn't seem sure about this, and they finally decided to say that I had assaulted each officer, disturbed the peace, and resisted arrest. When they had mentioned all these charges, they talked them over, and each one agreed that I had done all those things.
24. I was then escorted by two other men to a cell after waiting for a while for a woman to get sheets to put on a bed. They talked about priding themselves on having special accommodations and said they couldn't put me with others in the jail. I said I didn't need sheets and that I'd just sit on the bed. They again said they were able to deal with people "in your condition." I was then locked in a cell for an hour and a half. I was offered a honey bun which I did not accept. I was taken to pre-trial, where I talked with a man named Mr. Webber. He said, "You've got a business at the Municipal Court Building, don't you?" I said, "Yes sir." Mr. Webber told me what my charges would be and said a lawyer had already contacted them. I asked which lawyer, and he said he didn't know, but that I should be out shortly. I was then taken back to my cell for a time. Then a man who works for the Muncipal Court came and apologized for my being in there so long. He said he recognized me from our business. He said, "I'd have been back here sooner, but I've been so busy with all these real criminals. You will be released on your own recognizance without having to put up any money." He gave me something to sign, which I did. I waited for probably another hour at which time I was taken to the finger- print man named Stephen. He did many fingerprints on me, taking thirty or forty minutes. Mug shots were also taken of me. I was then escorted by another policeman on an elevator downstairs where I was given my summons as well as my personal property. I next went out to the lobby where I met my wife and my friend, Mr. Mark Harris. This was at approximately 2:00 in the afternoon.
25. I later discovered that the jail officials had not returned my wedding ring, a simple gold band, when they returned my other property to me.
St. Louis, Missouri
This 8th day of September, 1986, KEVAN WORLEY personally appeared before me.
Barbara A. Spoon, Notary Public
Affidavit of Deborah Worley
Comes now Deborah Worley and, being first duly sworn, deposes and states as follows:
1. My name is Deborah Worley. My address is 5432 Odell Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63139. My husband is Kevan Worley. Both of us are blind.
2. On Thursday morning, September 4, 1986, I accompanied my husband Kevan and my two children, Jayson and Megan, to the Trailways bus station. We were on our way to visit some friends in Festus, Missouri. Kevan and I had our long white canes with us as we always do. We arrived at the bus station at a little after 7:00 in the morning. We went to the ticket counter and waited in line.
3. When we made it to the front of the line, I approached the ticket agent, a woman, and told her that I wanted to purchase a half-fare ticket for a child and two round trip adult tickets. We did not need a ticket for our daughter since she is two and would ride on one of our laps. The agent told me that I needed a doctor's statement in order to do this, and I said we did not. The agent said that in order to travel with the handicapped fare one had to have a doctor's report. I said I did not want to purchase a handicapped ticket and that I wanted to purchase full-fare tickets for my husband and me, and a half-fare child's ticket for my nine-year-old. I asked to see a supervisor and was told her supervisor was not there and would not be in until nine o'clock. She said that would be too late for our bus.
4. At this time Kevan tried to explain to her that we were not asking for special treatment. She still refused to sell us the tickets. Kevan then told her that she would sell us the tickets. The agent again refused. Kevan and the agent continued to disagree and the agent became louder and louder as well as beginning to swear. She was abusive to Kevan. At this point Kevan moved down the counter to the right. The agent called the police.
5. Kevan told me to call the police. I went to the pay phone and called 911. I told the person who answered that I needed an officer sent to the Trailways bus station. I gave her my name and described the situation. She said there was an officer on the scene. I said there was not an officer in the station, and she insisted there was. I explained that we were blind and that Trailways was refusing to sell us tickets, which is a violation of Missouri law. She told me that Trailways did not have to sell us a ticket if they didn't want to do so. I asked if she was refusing to send an officer and she replied that she could not send an officer without an address. I said we were at the Trailways station downtown and that certainly any officer would know its location. I was told she would need a street address. I finally came up with the address and she said she would send an officer.
6. At this time I returned to Kevan. My son joined us, and my daughter was crying because she became frightened with everyone starting to yell. Soon two police officers arrived. One of them asked me if this was "the asshole tearing up the station" and "what does he think he's doing here?" I said, "I don't know. You'll have to talk to him." They began talking to Kevan, asking him what he thought he was doing there. Kevan explained what we had tried to do, showed them the money in his hand. He even asked if the officer would purchase the tickets and resolve the situation. He explained that all we wanted to do was to go on our trip.
7. The officer told Kevan that we had to leave, and we refused to do so because we thought that Missouri law protected our right to be treated like everyone else.
8. The officer said he was going to arrest Kevan for resisting arrest. I said, "Does this mean he is under arrest? Are you arresting him?" The officer said he could do anything he wanted to do. His language was very foul. The officer very quickly grabbed Kevan and pulled Kevan's arms behind his back. Kevan's cane was grabbed from his hand, and I reached for the cane, saying, "You can't take that! What are you doing?" An officer slapped hand-cuffs on Kevan very roughly and said, "I can do any fucking thing I want to do." I again asked if Kevan was under arrest and said, "You have to tell him what his rights are." He said, "I don't have to do a fucking thing."
9. The officer also said, "I'll arrest you, too." At that time I took a step or so backwards because my children were with me.
10. They hurried Kevan outside. I got my children as quickly as I could out to the front of the station. By the time I got there, the officers had Kevan on the ground. He was lying face down on the sidewalk. I ran over and said, " What are you doing to him?" One of the officers was circling Kevan. I believe it was officer Steve Holt, and he was yelling at Kevan about having to respect him because he was an officer of the law. He was again using foul language and I said, "What are you doing?" He told me to get the fuck away from him. I backed up again because he seemed to be violent, and I felt that any minute he very well might strike me or Kevan or possibly my children. He held a club as he circled Kevan. He was screaming just like a person who didn't know what he was doing. There was no logic to the things he was saying.
11. I went into the station at this time, trying to think of what to do. I left my son standing there but carried my daughter with me. I knew I had to call for help from somebody. I attempted to call Mark Harris, and in being frightened I first dialed my home number.
12. I went back outside. At this time Kevan was in the police car. I again attempted to talk to the officer. I asked where Kevan was being taken and he told me to the Clark Street station. I said, "So, is he under arrest?" I asked if I could get our house keys from Kevan. At this time the officer became angry and again threatened me with arrest. I asked Kevan if he was okay, and the officer started to move from the car. He picked up his club again and told me to, "Shut the fuck up; I'm tired of messing with you. Keep it up and I'll arrest you too." At that time, Kevan yelled from the back seat instructing me to call Mr. Maurer.
13. Another police car pulled up along with a police van. I approached one of the new officers, asking if I could get Kevan's house key. They refused to let me do this. I was again threatened with arrest by Officer Holt.
14. At this time I was able to get a Laclede cab and I took my children home. My son climbed through a window in the house because we did not have a key. I then contacted Mr. Maurer of the National Federation of the Blind.
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN before me this 8th day of September, 1986.
Ardith I. Hammond, Notary Public
Despite the Worleys' belief, Missouri law did not protect their rights at the Trailways bus station. The National Federation of the Blind immediately swung into action. The next day, Federationists from Missouri and three other states--more than fifty blind people with less than twenty-four hours' notice--converged on the St. Louis bus station to picket Trailways and to protest the treatment of the Worleys.
Television, radio, and newspaper reports of these incredible events spread throughout the St. Louis area. The common reaction throughout St. Louis was outrage that such a thing could occur.
The public responded in person as well. Many people came into Debbie Worley's vending location in the Municipal Building (across from the court building) to express their support and came back again and again as customers. Debbie's business has benefited, despite the threats of the police who arrested Kevan that "We'll see how her business does now."
The day after Kevan was arrested, a Trailways spokesperson further fanned the flames of resentment against his company by defending its refusal to sell tickets to blind persons. As he put it, " We don't hire drivers to take the blind to the bathroom."
The police remained firm through this barrage of bad publicity. They insisted that Kevan had kicked each officer, thus committing two assaults. They insisted that it was Kevan who had disturbed the peace of the bus station. And they insisted that Kevan had resisted arrest. They insisted that charges be filed.
The two assault charges were immediately refused. The state prosecutor obviously didn't believe the police officers' story that they were brutalized by a handcuffed blind man. No prosecution there. But the city prosecutor backed the police. After all, they are another arm of the same city government he serves. City charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest were filed against Kevan Worley, and the trial was scheduled for January 5, 1987.
Painful though it was, the Worleys hoped that this would provide an opportunity to tell their story in court. They had tried twice (once in the bus station and once afterwards) to file charges against the ticket agent for violating their rights under the Missouri White Cane Law. Nobody would touch the case. The subject had gotten too hot to handle. Their nine-year-old son, a thoughtful and observant child, refused to talk with them about the incident, retreating into hurt silence. Their two-year-old daughter started playing a game she had never played before. She would run up behind someone, grasp both wrists, and say, sternly and unsmilingly, "I'm police." The police department refused the Worleys' complaint against the two officers, denying that any wrong had been done and denying that the wedding band had been taken. The courtroom was the only place left.
Court opened at 1:00 p.m. Monday, January 5, 1987. The Worleys waited with their son in the courtroom until nearly 4:00 p.m. while the presiding judge, the Honorable Michael Riley, handled other cases--accepting guilty pleas and conducting three other trials scheduled before the Worleys'. At about 4:00 p.m., the case of the City of St. Louis v. James Kevan Worley was called for trial.
Anyone who has ever been involved in circumstances requiring a blind person to stand up for his or her rights knows just what happened next. When we assert ourselves, insist on equal treatment, maintain that we are full and equal members of society, many of the people around us are so astonished and upset by the thought that they magnify and expand everything the blind person does a hundredfold. Fellow passengers shout, swear at, and physically threaten the blind person sitting peaceably in an airline seat and later describe the blind person's demeanor as loud, rude, and abusive. Potential employers become angry and resentful when pressed to treat a blind applicant fairly and recall the articulate blind applicant's behavior as inappropriate and rude. The health club owner, the roller rink manager, the horse stable master are all likely to excuse their discriminatory behavior by insisting that the blind person did something wrong. This is all part of the pattern, part of what people moving from second-class status to first-class citizenship must face. It is what Kevan Worley knew he was about to face as his trial began. It is why the Federation, with all its support and encouragement, means so much to Kevan and to all blind people.
The City of St. Louis produced three witnesses to show that Kevan had disturbed the peace and resisted arrest. The three were excluded from the courtroom except when they were testifying so that they could not hear the testimony of the other two. While in the hallway waiting to testify, excluded witnesses are not allowed to speak to one another about the case. Even in this exclusion, the witnesses against Kevan could not bring themselves to deal fairly with a blind person. While the second witness was testifying, the first and third were comparing their testimony out in the hall. This showed great disrespect for Kevan and the case involving him. But it also showed great disrespect for the judge. When he found out, the judge almost jumped off his bench while the city prosecutor started dropping all his books and papers as he sought to excuse himself from this violation of the court's order that witnesses were to be separated. When the third witness came into court, he coolly told the judge under oath that he had not been discussing the case in the hall, just the other witness's grandchildren.
The testimony of the three witnesses against Kevan was like testimony of three entirely different incidents. The first witness, Pauline McCelleary (pronounced like the vegetable) was the ticket agent on September 4, l986. She insisted under close questioning that Kevan had asked for a half fare ticket and that he had refused to provide the necessary documentation. She said that Debbie never spoke to her and did not have a white cane. She said that Kevan "hollered and screamed" at Debbie while he was being handcuffed, then "hollered and screamed" at the police as they led him out. She said that Kevan kicked each police officer in the leg while the three were still inside the bus station. She said that Kevan struggled as he was being led out and kicked over an ash can. She said that Kevan held his cane by its handle and, two separate times, leaned over the ticket counter, waving the cane in her direction in an effort to strike her with its end. She said he missed her both times.
After these interesting statements were made under oath, the first police officer came to the stand. His name is Steve Holt and he is identified in Kevan's narration as "the younger officer." As he was testifying, McCelleary and the other police officer were comparing notes outside. Officer Holt stated that he was never kicked inside the bus station. He stated that Kevan did not struggle or shout as he was led outside. He stated that Kevan did not kick over an ash can on his way out of the bus station. He said that anybody who said so would be mistaken. Officer Holt stated that he was kicked by Kevan after they got outside of the bus station. He stated that, after being kicked, he and his partner "gently placed" Kevan on the sidewalk and that he then knelt by Kevan until Kevan "regained his composure." He said this took place right outside the station door, sixteen to twenty feet from the police car. He denied using any foul language, any threats, or any filthy sexual suggestions. He also said that, when he and his partner first approached Kevan, they both carefully gave their names and their titles as police officers. He stated that each officer then permitted Kevan to feel their badges to satisfy himself that the two were really officers.
Officer Holt repeatedly insisted that Kevan had "resisted the officers" while everyone was still standing at the bus counter. He described this resistance as "tensing up" when an officer first placed a hand on Kevan's arm. He stated that, as soon as Kevan was told he was under arrest, he submitted to being handcuffed without protest. He continued to refer to this as "resisting" throughout his testimony. He also recalled, under questioning, Kevan's holding money in his hand and asking the officers simply to buy the tickets and resolve the matter easily that way.
When this officer was finished, the other officer, named William Bereitshaft (pronounced BRRR-RIGHT-shaft) took the stand.
He said that he had not been kicked inside the bus station, that Kevan had not struggled or hollered when being led from the station, that Kevan did not kick over an ash can on his way out, and that Kevan had not physically resisted the officers in any way at the ticket counter. He said that anyone who said so would be mistaken. He also claimed that he was kicked by Kevan outside the station, though he insisted that he was kicked two to three feet away from the police car and twenty feet or so away from the station door. He testified that Kevan tried to break away from the officers, though Kevan had his hands cuffed behind his back and had no cane. The officer said he didn't know why Kevan was trying to break away, but that he was. He also stated that Kevan was "gently placed" on the sidewalk to "give him time to compose himself," though he insisted that he, not Officer Holt, was the one who knelt by Kevan until calm returned. He also denied using any foul language and maintained that Kevan had been told their names and felt their badges before any conversation occurred.
Both officers insisted that they had read Kevan's rights to him. Both officers insisted that Kevan had been trying to buy a half-fare ticket without proper documentation. Both officers vigorously denied that either of them had threatened anyone with a billy club. Officer Holt even denied that he had his billy club with him, but officer Breitschaft clearly recalled that both officers had had their billy clubs at all times.
Kevan and Debbie both testified in accordance with their affidavits and both added that no constitutional rights were ever read to Kevan and no feeling of policemen's chests had been invited by the officers or done by Kevan. Kevan told the judge that he wouldn't even know where to feel to find a badge.
By this time, it was nearly 7:00 p.m. and the judge informed the courtroom that he had heard enough. He dismissed both charges against Kevan and the case was over.
Nine-year-old Jayson had come to court with his parents and had sat quietly all afternoon waiting to testify. When witnesses were excluded, he went into the hall with the rest. He was scheduled to be the last witness and was still in the hall (though the court marshal was with him because both his parents were in the courtroom) when the judge began to rule. The judge stated that he did not need Jayson's testimony and sent someone to bring Jayson back inside. Jayson marched in, marched right up the aisle, opened the gate, and was nearly up to the witness chair before anyone realized that the youngster didn't know that his father had already been cleared of the charges. Jayson was finally ready to talk, was eager to talk. It was a proud day for the son when his father was finally declared innocent by a formal court of law.
After the case was over, people who had been in the hallway during the trial began comparing notes with the people who had been in the courtroom. They discovered that Officer Bereitschaft who had sworn an oath to tell the whole truth, had then told only a small corner of it. After Pauline McCelleary testified, she came out into the hallway and discussed her testimony and the entire incident at length with Officer Bereitschaft as he waited to go inside. As she left, she mentioned that she was going to see her grandchildren. Officer Bereitschaft quite calmly told the judge that he had not discussed the case with McCelleary at all. The rest of his testimony was equally truthful.
McCelleary also spent some time in the hall complaining to the officer. She said that she had had previous complaints about her ticket selling, but that she had continued in that assignment until the day the Worleys appeared. After their incident, she had been removed from ticket selling. She resented this demotion and blamed the Worleys for it. This undoubtedly had a great deal to do with her truthfulness under oath.
The courage and good spirits shown by Kevan, Debbie, and Jayson Worley is the same courage and spirit shown by the other Federationists who have been arrested and publicly humiliated during the last two years. It is a courage based on the absolute certainty that they were right in the stand they took. It is a courage based on the absolute certainty that their brothers and sisters in the Federation would stand with them.
Kevan and Debbie are stronger because they stood up for their rights. The Federation is stronger. We are all one step nearer to that equality of treatment we seek because of what happened in the St. Louis bus station and the St. Louis courtroom.
Every Federationist who has stood up for equal treatment and been arrested for it has been declared innocent by the courts of this country. But, even if every one of them had been found guilty, they would still stand acquitted before the court of their own consciences. Each of these Federationists has given a deeper meaning to the words spoken so prophetically by Dr. Jernigan in his 1973 banquet speech "Blindness: Is History Against Us?": "Whatever the cost, we shall pay it. Whatever the sacrifice, we shall make it. We cannot turn back, or stand still. Instead, we must go forward. We shall prevail--and history will record it. The future is ours."
Through the Federation, we seek a world where equal treatment of blind persons is ordinary and commonplace. We haven't reached that yet, and much work remains to be done. It is certain that other Federationists will be called upon to stand up for their rights, to suffer humiliation and even arrest for their beliefs. Those who have already suffered have added much to our momentum toward freedom. Others will come along to increase the momentum even more. It is part of what we seek and believe in. It is part of our pledge to Dr. tenBroek and to Dr. Jernigan and to President Maurer. We will not falter. We will not turn back. With our brothers and sisters in the Federation, we shall prevail.
WELCOME TO ARIZONA
Note: This article is comprised of excerpts from an exclusive interview with two of our outstanding Federationists in Arizona, Bernard C. Remington, III and The Cactus Kid, regarding the upcoming national convention in Phoenix. Remember that requests for reservations should be sent (as soon as possible) to: Convention Reservations, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. Convention dates are June 27 through July 4, 1987.
Bernard: On behalf of the Arizona affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, let me say that we are honored to host the 1987 national convention in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona. The downtown Hyatt Regency hotel, our convention headquarters, is among the classiest and most elegant hotels we have ever had the good fortune to procure. Additionally, the Phoenix Convention Center, located across the plaza from the hotel, is now over twice as large and even more posh than it was for our 1984 convention.
Cactus Kid: But da garn, don't ya'll fret none just cuz'n Phoenix is all growed up and purty now as the ninth largest city in the US of A, fulla all sorts of culture and class calculated to please the slickest and refinest city dudes. Heck no, this is Arizona's diamond jubilee birthday. She's 75 years old and we're puttin' on a down home country fandango that'll make even the city folks' eyes light up like a tumbleweed in a brush fire.
Bernard: Fellow Federationists, you may recall that the first eight floors of the Phoenix Hyatt Regency Hotel have open interior balconies which overlook the luxurious lounge and Terrace restaurant. It also has exterior glass-walled elevators that enable one to enjoy the sights of the city while riding skyward to one's room. Additionally, atop this high class highrise Hyatt is the revolving Compass Restaurant where, while dining on exquisite cuisine, one can partake of all three hundred sixty degrees of Arizona's panoramic vista, which includes such breathtaking wonders as Squaw Peak, Camelback Mountain, and the legendary Superstitions--a truly awesome experience.
Cactus Kid: Well folks, I gotta admit I've taken a shine to that there Hyatt meself. She's a right fine kinda place even for an ol' cowpuncher like me. Them hotel folks really know how to make ya feel right ta home. One of the real pleasin' things about that hotel is that it's within spittin' distance (not that you'd ever wanna do it, don't ya know, but it is within spittin' distance) from the Matador Restaurant, one of the best da garn Mexican cantinas in the whole South West.
Bernard: As is customary, the Arizona affiliate will be hosting the annual NFB Ball on Tuesday evening. This year's gala event will be held in the elegant ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The orchestra will play, upon request, your favorite waltzes, polkas, tangos....
Cactus Kid: Orchestrie! You call them an orchestrie? Why they're the best hot dang country western band I ever hear'd and yer gonna be sorry if ya don't come join in the rip snortinest hoedown what ever was. But I might as well tell ya right now, the Marshal is gonna be at the door and he's gonna make ya check yer guns. And on account of this here dance be'in a fancy Sunday goin-ta- meetin' kinda jig in the Hotel's ballroom instead of Barlow's Barn, the Marshal may not allow chewin' tobaccee what with dosey doein' yer partner and all, some folks may have a hard time hittin' the spittoons. But I guarantee we're gonna have the toe-tappinist, foot-stompinest best night what you won't never forget.
Bernard: Moving right along, we wish to inform you that during Wednesday's afternoon and evening "time on the town" there will be an endless variety of both relaxing and exhilarating cultural, recreational, and historical tours and activities available.
Cactus Kid: Shoot yeah, there's great swimmin' holes, fancy muzeums, purty places to go shoppin'--ya got sumany ways to have fun out here, ya'll be as busy as a one-armed octupus with the hives if ya try to do it all. But the place I's partial to is the authentic 1880's wild west town just north of Phoenix know'd as Rawhide. They gots stagecoach rides, little critters fer the kids to pet, wild west shows, gun fights down main street, gift shops, and a whole bunch more. And they put on the meanist Bar-B-Q ya ever smacked your lips to. This here's the place to learn how the West was fun.
Bernard: You may recall that at the 1984 convention in Phoenix, Arizona, the quality and quantity of door prizes was far superior to that of any other convention. It is with pleasure that I announce that the Arizona affiliate will be spending more than twice as much money for door prizes at this convention as we did for the highly successful 1984 convention. The list of high quality electronic products, jewelry, small appliances, and other desirable merchandise, in addition to cash prizes, is simply too lengthy to elaborate on here. In addition to doubling our budget for door prizes, the grand prize to be given away at the 1987 banquet will be $1,500 in cash.
Cactus Kid: Folks, what Barney and me is tryin' to say is, it don't much matter whether yer from the big city or one of our country cousins and it don't matter how many conventions ya been to, ya ain't never sawed one like this one's a gonna be.
DIABETICS SHOULD LOSE WEIGHT,
AVOID DIET FADS
by Gina Kolata
(This article--which appears in the "Research News" section of Science magazine for January 9,1987--was sent to us by Karen Mayry, President of the Diabetic Division of the National Federation of the Blind. Since diabetes is one of the major causes of blindness and since so many of our members are diabetics, it seems appropriate to carry the article in the Monitor.)
If ever there were a disease that is caused by life-styles, it is noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). By far the predominant form of diabetes, it is a disease almost exclusively of overweight, sedentary adults. It accounts for 90% of all diabetes in this country and is a leading cause of death as well as the major reason for new cases of blindness, kidney failure, and limb amputation.
Last month the National Institutes of Health convened a consensus panel to review current data on NIDDM and to recommend ways to prevent and treat the disease. In particular, the panel considered the roles of diet and exercise in NIDDM. During the course of the three-day meeting, the panel heard and accepted data that contradict many commonly held beliefs about diet and exercise.
For example, it may not be true that exercise increases the metabolic rate for hours to come. And exercise is not necessarily a particularly potent adjunct to a low-calorie diet. People frequently compensate for a bout of exercise by eating more or by moving less for the rest of the day.
The diet picture is just as clouded. The problem, said panel chairman George Cahill of Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, is that "we have got to be so careful that fads don't get to be dictums before their efficacy is known." For example, researchers at the meeting questioned whether the current fiber fad is supported by good clinical evidence and cast doubt on the utility of using the glycemic index, which shows how different foods affect blood sugar levels, to plan a diabetic diet.
The diet and exercise questions are paramount in NIDDM because it is a disease of obesity. Excess body fat alters glucose metabolism even in persons who are not diabetic. What happens is that, for unknown reasons, obese persons become insulin-resistant. If the obese person is not diabetic, the pancreas compensates by producing more insulin; therefore, blood glucose remains within the normal range. But, in persons with NIDDM, the pancreas does not make more insulin and, as a consequence, cells do not take up glucose or take up very little.
In addition, the liver produces excess glucose, thus exacerbating the problem. The result is high concentrations of blood glucose, or diabetes.
Just as obesity leads to insulin resistance, so weight loss reverses this condition. When persons with NIDDM lose weight, they frequently are no longer diabetic.
For this reason, said Cahill, "diet is the hallmark" of diabetes therapy. Overweight diabetics should lose weight, and persons who know they have a family history of diabetes should avoid becoming overweight in the first place.
Gerald Reaven of Stanford University cautions that a negative family history by no means indicates that a person is not at risk. "Family history is a joke," he remarks, because as many as half of all persons with NIDDM are undiagnosed. It is easy to ignore diabetes since, in many cases, there are no warning signs and it is perfectly possible that family members had diabetes and did not know it.
Reaven--and the consensus panel--advise all overweight adults to consider themselves at risk for diabetes and to have their blood glucose levels tested. They also note that a subgroup of the obese is particularly at risk. People who have what Per Bjorntorp of the University of Goteborg in Sweden calls "apple-shaped" as opposed to "pear- shaped" bodies are particularly prone to develop NIDDM because abdominal fat, which predominates in the apple-shaped individuals, is more metabolically active, and individuals with large deposits of abdominal fat have more free fatty acids in their blood. This condition may lead to increased glucose production by the liver.
Of course, it is one thing to advise people to lose weight and quite another to have them do it. "The long-term effectiveness of any diet therapy is terrible and will remain terrible until we learn why people become obese," Clifton Bogardus of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Phoenix, Arizona, told the panel.
The panel wrote in its consensus statement, "While acknowledging the poor prognosis for weight maintenance, the panel recommends that most obese patients with NIDDM be maintained on diets moderately restricted in calories." It further suggested behavioral therapy, group support, and nutrition counseling to help patients lose weight and keep it off.
The next question is what sort of foods are best for diabetics. The American Diabetes Association recommends a diet that is high in complex carbohydrates and rich in fiber. But, says Aaron Vinik of the University of Michigan Medical Center, "the dogma is now coming under closer scrutiny and remains a controversial issue." For one, he notes, "these diets are substantially different from the average American diet," and their safety and efficacy are not well-established. The existing studies are difficult to compare because they use different kinds of fiber, and some use combinations of soluble and insoluble fibers whose effects, Vinik suggests, "may counteract each other." In addition, researchers frequently change other components of the diet in addition to fiber content, and different researchers use different criteria to assess the effects of high-fiber diets.
Finally, the high-fiber diets may have some adverse consequences. "There is more and more evidence that diabetics are prone to bone thinning," says Vinik. There are some hints that persons with digestive problems--and that includes 80% of all NIDDM patients over age 55-- may not absorb calcium and other minerals properly when they eat high-fiber diets.
The consensus panel agreed with Vinik. The results of fiber studies are inconclusive, it said, and the diets may be unpalatable and not even safe for all diabetics. Robert Silverman of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, who chaired the planning committee for the consensus conference, comments, "We're not saying that fiber is bad. We're saying that, frankly, from the data we've seen, we're not impressed."
The panel also looked at the glycemic index as a way of planning diabetic diets. David Jenkins of the University of Toronto and others find that certain foods, including pasta and beans, produce a gradual increase in blood sugar and insulin whereas other foods, including potatoes, produce a more rapid rise. Proponents of the glycemic index suggest that diabetics emphasize the slow-release foods.
But the panel disagreed. "We are withholding judgment," says Silverman. "A lot of ink has been spent on the glycemic index, and it may turn out to be interesting, once we figure out what the meaning is." The problem is to determine how combinations of foods affect blood sugar as well as how a person's race, sex, age, body weight, and even the time of day he eats the food affect blood sugar responses.
Cahill stresses how much work needs to be done on the glycemic index before it becomes practical. "One of the questions we asked during the conference was, 'How reproducible is the index in a single individual?' No one's done that experiment. They just look at averages across groups. For a given individual, it may be meaningless or it may be very important." For now, Cahill says, his personal opinion is that the glycemic index is "a bucket of fluff."
When it came to the question of exercise, the consensus panel concluded that "the risk-benefit ratio of exercise in NIDDM remains to be defined." But it recommended moderate exercise because of evidence that exercise may help prevent heart disease.
Exercise has been advocated as an aid to weight loss and as a way to normalize blood glucose levels. Both of these claims were disputed by speakers at the conference.
F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer of Columbia University, for example, reported that when obese people entered an exercise program, they moved less for the rest of the day, negating the extra calories they burned exercising. This occurred even when the people exercised enough to burn 25% of their normal daily calories. Afterwards, they would lie down and not move much, Pi-Sunyer said. In addition, he said, "there is no substantial effect of exercise on metabolic rate. This is touted as a great benefit of exercise and it just does not occur." Pi-Sunyer concluded that he is "relatively pessimistic" that the amounts of exercise that are reasonable for diabetics can have much effect on weight loss.
Several of the meeting participants, including Neil Ruderman of Boston University Medical Center, reported that diabetics consistently are less physically fit than nondiabetics as measured by their maximum oxygen consumption. And diabetics, after exercising, have an increased insulin sensitivity. This might indicate that exercise could alleviate diabetes, but Ruderman and others find that the effects of exercise are short-lived, disappearing in as few as 72 hours. So if exercise is to benefit diabetics at all, they must exercise regularly. But, like weight control, regular exercise is easier said than done.
The panel concluded, says Cahill, that "exercise in general should be demystified."
So, in the end, the panel stressed weight loss as the one clearly beneficial treatment for NIDDM and the avoidance of obesity as the one clear way to prevent the disease. But, unfortunately, of all the health advice, weight loss is among the most difficult advice to follow.
High-Carb Diets Questioned
The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend that diabetics, like the rest of the population, consume no more than 30% of their calories as fat. Most Americans now consume 40% of their calories as fat and, according to the heart association, the only way to consume 30% fat is to substitute vegetable meals for some that now contain meat.
But Gerald Reaven of Stanford University School of Medicine questions whether diabetics and hypertensives, who share many of the same biochemical abnormalities, should reduce their fat calories to less than 40%. For these populations, Reaven argues, very low fat diets can actually increase the risk of heart disease.
Reaven presented his hypothesis at a recent consensus conference at the National Institutes of Health that met to assess the data on the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The panel did not ignore Reaven. It suggested that any diabetic who goes on a high- carbohydrate diet should be tested soon after starting the diet to be sure the diet does not adversely affect the blood lipids. "I think there's a lot to Reaven's argument," says Robert Silverman of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and a member of the planning committee for the consensus meeting. "His data speak for themselves."
George Cahill of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, who was chairman of the consensus panel, thought Reaven's comments were "very appropriate. There are fads in nutrition and we (the panel) feel the high carbohydrate one has gone a little too far."
The problem, according to Reaven, is that the low-fat diets that are currently in fashion are also high-carbohydrates. Reaven says, "anyone who consumes more carbohydrates has to dispose of the load by secreting more insulin." A slim, physically fit person is already very sensitive to insulin and secretes only a small amount in response to carbohydrates. But diabetics--and hypertensives--secrete much more because their tissues are relatively insensitive to insulin. (Reaven and others find that persons with high blood pressure have higher levels of blood glucose and insulin than persons whose blood pressure is normal.) High concentrations of insulin are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
There is already a threefold variation in insulin sensitivity among normal, apparently healthy individuals, Reaven points out. Rsearchers studying large populations in Paris, Australia, and Helsinki have shown, in prospective studies of nondiabetic people, that the 20% who secrete the most insulin in response to carbohydrates are at the highest risk of heart disease.
There are two explanations that might account for this association between insulin and heart disease. First, there is a good correlation between hyperinsulinemia and very low density lipoproteins, or VLDL, synthesis by the liver. Insulin, Reaven notes, activates liver enzyme systems that favor VLDL synthesis. High VLDL levels are a risk factor for heart disease.
Second, there is a good correlation between high insulin levels and low levels of high-density lipoproteins, which protect against heart disease. The biochemical reasons for this are unknown, but it is, says Reaven, a consistent finding.
Reaven emphasizes that a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet may only be risky for diabetics and hypertensives. But he also says that his advice that diabetics and hypertensives get 40% of their calories from fats does not mean that they should consume saturated fats.
But, for now, Reaven's advice to diabetics and hypertensives places nutritionists in a bind. "High protein levels can be bad for the kidneys. High fat is bad for your heart. Now Reaven is saying not to eat high carbohydrates. We have to eat something," says Silverman. Although he thinks Reaven's argument is justified, he says, "Sometimes we wish it would go away because nobody knows how to deal with it."
DIABETIC DIVISION OF NFB
by Karen Mayry
Reprinted from the December, 1986, Michigan Focus
The National Federation of the Blind Diabetic Division was formally organized in 1985, when a need was felt by members of the NFB to share experiences they were facing as diabetics. Many of us had faced vision loss, renal failure, amputation, nerve damage, strokes, heart attacks, et cetera. We felt we could offer our support and information to other diabetics who might be undergoing the same ramifications of diabetes.
Since our formal organizing as a division within the NFB, we have nearly tripled our membership. Members meet together, phone one another, and correspond regarding similar interests and problems. Information is exchanged, thereby better educating all of us.
In January, 1986, we began publishing our quarterly newsletter. It is written primarily by members and is upbeat and positive. All of us are learning new information about our disease. Our newsletter--Voice of the Diabetic-- includes a question and answer column by Dr. Ronald James, who is a diabetic. The newsletter contains much information, including recipes, locations where aids for measuring insulin and other diabetic devices may be purchased, plus many other articles. The newsletter is available in print, as well as on cassette tapes. The tapes may be requested when one becomes a member for a $2.00 fee. The South Dakota Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped duplicates the tapes and sends them out. Individuals must return them in order to receive the next issue of the newsletter.
The Diabetic Division does NOT wish to replace an individual's own physician or the American Diabetes Association. But we felt a need to share which was not being met elsewhere. The majority of the members are diabetics who have undergone one or more side effects of diabetes. However, we have members who are not diabetic as well as diabetics who have not had any complications. Our primary purpose is to help one another through information, sharing of knowledge, and experience.
At this point, individuals from seven foreign countries have inquired about our Diabetic Division, reinforcing our belief that there is a need for our support network. Print copies of our newsletter are being distributed to radio reading services, A.D.A. Chapters, physicians, diabetic nutritionists, clinics, transplant centers, optometrists, and ophthalmologists, as well as many other individuals. You can help by informing your relatives and friends, as well as those listed above, about the work of our Diabetic Division. All of us will benefit as more and more individuals learn about our support network.
Dues for membership may be sent to: Carol Anderson, Treasurer, NFB Diabetic Division, 23 Lakeshore Drive South, Randolph, New Jersey 07869. For those persons who wish only to receive our newsletter without membership, the cost is $6.00. That, too, may be sent to Carol.
Questions regarding our Diabetic Division may be directed to Karen Mayry, 919 Main Street--Suite 15, Rapid City, South Dakota 57701. You may also phone: (605) 348-8418. Come join us.
A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES
by Dave Hyde
(This article concerning the attitudes toward blind people of the Oregon Civil Rights Division appears in the first issue of the newly established newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon. As most Monitor readers know, David Hyde is the President of the NFB of Oregon. As one reads the article, a familiar pattern emerges. The government agencies established to protect civil rights do little to protect the civil rights of the blind. If the National Federation of the Blind does not initiate action to protect the rights of the blind in a given case or if a blind individual does not do it with Federation backing, the action is usually not taken. Before officials of the government agencies charged with protecting our civil rights can try to change the attitudes and behavior of others, their own attitudes and behavior must usually be changed--and almost without exception we are the ones who must make it happen. The Oregon experience as related in this article is worth pondering.)
Over the last ten years, or perhaps more, the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon Bureau of Labor has claimed to assist blind persons with Civil Rights cases. All we need do, we have been told, is to file a complaint with this Division, and after negotiation, finding of facts, and consultation, should our cases have merit, the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon Bureau of Labor will help in promoting equal opportunities for blind Oregonians. Here are the facts. Judge for yourself.
In April of 1985 Dottie Burk Nealy filed a case with the division against Albertina Kerr Day Care Center in Portland. She alleged that she had been unfairly dismissed from her position as a care provider because of a rule promulgated by the Department of Public Welfare, now the Children's Services Division, which stated that blind individuals cannot be counted in the Center's child-to-adult ratios. Dottie left her job, and it was clear that this rule was the cause. In April of 1978 the Department of Public Welfare, because of pressure and threatened legal action by the Federation, changed the rule. It was clear that they found it discriminatory, too. In March of 1979 the Civil Rights Division came out with their "findings of fact." They stated that because the rule had been changed after the complaint, then no discrimination had occurred.
In September of 1977 Bill Shephard was refused service in an establishment serving food and beverages in downtown Portland. The proprietor called the police to remove him from the premises when he insisted that blind persons could not be refused services solely on the basis of blindness under the state's White Cane Law. The law was clear and unequivocal. Mr. Shephard filed a complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon Bureau of Labor. After about a year of inaction Mr. Shephard withdrew his complaint and filed a civil suit with Multnomah County, which we of course won.
In 1981 members of the Federation worked with the Ways and Means Committee of the Oregon Legislature to require that the Civil Rights Division finalize cases within twelve months of filing. After twelve months one can lose the right of private action in the courts. We were successful, over the objections of Labor Commissioner Mary Windy Roberts, who pledged to work with us and improve things.
In 1983 I filed a case with the Civil Rights Division against the Metropolitan Public Defender, Inc. in Portland. I had applied for a job, gone through three interviews, had discussed how I could perform, and had performed similar jobs to the Trial Assistant position for which I had applied in the Corrections Division. In their letter of refusal the company stated that they had concerns on how I might find the courthouse, how I could read the bulletin board, how I could take notes for transcription for delivery later, how I could use the telephone, and many other interesting questions. I had dealt with those concerns during our interviews. I had discussed them freely, listened to their suggestions, and had (I believe) answered all the questions before.
In the letter of refusal the company told me that I was their best applicant and would have gotten the job except that I was blind, and they would like to consider me for a more realistic position. The record was clear, and I filed. I wanted that job.
After a year of inaction, I withdrew the case. In doing so I found some interesting things about the process. Here they are for future filers with the division.
1. Although the proceedings are a quasi-judicial procedure, such as an administrative hearing, documents filed by one party are not available to the other. There is no way to refute evidence that you have no access to.
2. Even if you win, the respondent need take no action. The ruling of the division has no force of law. However, the Attorney General may take on the case if he chooses.
3. There are no rules of evidence. Opinion, innuendo, heresay, and downright lies are as admissible as are facts. After all, you, the plaintiff, cannot see them until the decision is already made.
4. If you choose a right of private action, the division closes your case.
We have no other course than to conclude that unlike Portia's justice, this procedure doth not fall like the gentle rain of heaven. It may fall of its own weight of paper and procedure, but it is not good to be under it when it does.
As I stated at the state convention, Mrs. Johnny Bell of the Bureau's Civil Rights Division (its Director, in fact) was a scheduled speaker at our convention. She told me in a letter that "more pressing things had arisen." It leads one to wonder how such things could have arisen for so many years and how things could have gotten in the shape they are in.
In considering legislation for the 1987 session, one of the more serious problems we must address is that of civil rights for the blind of Oregon. Is there hope for the division? Must the blind or handicapped remain among the less pressing things at the division? Must we wait for all other minorities to be dealt with before we are given the bones of justice to gnaw? The time has come for us either to reform civil rights for the blind in the Bureau of Labor by establishing timetables, rules of evidence, and discovery procedures or to remove that program from Commissioner Robert's jurisdiction. We have nothing to lose, since we have nothing now.
You should be aware, in the spirit of fairness, that a copy of this issue is going to the good commissioner and to Mrs. Bell.
I here pledge to print their comments without editing, so long as they respond to the above questions of evidence and good faith. Be it known, however, that we the blind are tired to death of justice denied and civil rights deferred. If we cannot depend upon the people who are charged with protecting our civil rights, then we must, perforce, do it ourselves.
MARCH ON WASHINGTON BIGGEST AND MOST ENTHUSIASTIC EVER
On Sunday, February 1, 1987, more than 300 members of the National Federation of the Blind from throughout the country met at the Capitol Holiday Inn in Washington, D.C., to kick off what has become an annual event of great importance to the blind. Early in the day there were meetings of blind vendors and those interested in promoting and strengthening the Associates program.
Then, at 5:00 p.m. President Maurer gaveled the general session to order. By actual count well over 300 people were present in the room. President Maurer gave a status review of the Federation and talked about developments throughout the country. He discussed the upcoming national convention in Phoenix, the scholarship program, the Job Opportunities for the Blind program, civil rights cases, and other matters. This was followed by a report from NFB Executive Director Kenneth Jernigan, who talked about the remodeling and renovation now taking place at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore and read a new NFB brochure entitled "Do You Know A Blind Person." An initial printing of 500,000 copies has been made of this document, which is now available for state and local affiliates to use in their public relations efforts. The Executive Director also discussed the upcoming national convention, future conventions, and developments in the National Office.
Then, James Gashel, Director of Governmental Affairs talked about the details of the program for the next three days. Next Barbara Pierce, Chairman of the Public Relations Committee, discussed media contacts and how we should deal with the press during the next few days. This was followed by comments from NFB First Vice President Diane McGeorge, who discussed hotel arrangements and other details of the March. It was one of the most enthusiastic meetings which we have ever had, and it was clear that the week would be both active and productive.
Beginning on Monday morning, February 2, representatives of the blind of the nation (more than forty-three states were in evidence) went to Capital Hill to talk with the members of Congress and the staff members in the Congressional offices. In many instances, of course, the conversations occurred with top administrative staff, but it is not exaggeration to say that (almost without exception) substantive talks were held with the Congressmen and Senators who chair the relevant committees and who are the ranking members of those committees. The response from the Representatives, the Senators, and the office staff was gratifyingly positive. It is clear that the Braille Monitor is read in the Congressional and Senatorial offices and that there is a positive and cumulative effect from former marches.
On Tuesday morning, February 3, the blind gathered outside of the Department of Transportation building to make a visible demonstration to governmental officials and members of the general public concerning the problems we have been having with the airlines. There was a great deal of news coverage of the event, and the Congressional reaction made it clear that a strong and positive impression had been made. Our information is that within a week after the March more than seventy Representatives and Senators had contacted the Department of Transportation to ask that something be done to improve the situation.
Even though the remodeling taking place at the National Center for the Blind necessarily curtailed visits to the Center, quite a number of Federationists came each day during the March to inspect the work and tour the facilities. As the delegates began to prepare to leave Washington on Wednesday, it was clear that this had been one of our most successful efforts. The Congressional reaction was positive, and the mood among the Federationists was joyful and upbeat.
The theme of this year's March was "The Three Freedoms"--Freedom to Travel, Freedom to Work, and Freedom to Learn. Members of the press and each Congressional office were given materials spelling out the details. Here is the material which was distributed:
From: Members of the National Federation of the Blind
To: Members of the 100th Congress
Re: The Blind: A Legislative Platform for Freedom--Priorities for
the First Session of the 100th Congress
For what avail the plow or sail,
Or land or life, if freedom fail?
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
The history of the world
is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom.
These things shall be--a loftier race
Than e'er the world hath known shall rise
With flame of freedom in their souls,
And light of knowledge in their eyes.
--John Addington Symonds
Freedom is a desired state of being that all people (blind and sighted alike) share in common. Fifty thousand people (including those who are born blind) become blind in the United States each year.
Blind Americans share a unique struggle for freedom. Most sighted people in our society have had some contact with blindness through friends, family members, co-workers, colleagues, business associates, or other forms of social interaction. Despite these contacts, blindness remains one of the most misunderstood conditions. We are not even accustomed to the idea that the blind would need to struggle for freedom. The more common understanding is that the blind (presumably being in need) are taken care of. So why would they want to be free? Assumptions such as this are part of the great misunderstanding about blindness, and that is why we who are blind must now struggle for our freedom.
More than anything (including the physical limitations of blindness), lack of knowledge and misunderstanding about blindness result in public policies, public programs, and even laws that diminish opportunities for blind people to exercise freedom and their potential to the full. This is why we have formed the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).
NFB is a private sector resource of knowledge, encouragement, and support for the blind and for all people (blind or not) who seek greater freedom and opportunity for the blind. We are proud of our self-help traditions, philosophy, and achievements. The vast majority of our members are blind. We join NFB through local chapters and statewide organizations everywhere in the United States.
We are the voice of the nation's blind--the blind speaking for themselves. Our priorities for the first session of the 100th Congress include three freedoms: (1) the freedom to travel; (2) the freedom to work; and (3) the freedom to learn. (See brief descriptions which follow.) This freedom platform for the blind is nothing less than our declaration of equality and independence in three critical areas of human life.
Decisions which can and will be made during this session of the 100th Congress will significantly affect our achievement of these three freedoms for the blind of America today. Accordingly, the following positions are advanced in order to help focus the issues and provide solutions that will build lives of freedom for the blind both now and in years to come.
(1) Freedom to Travel -- Congress should act to assure fair treatment for the blind in air travel. This request seeks renewed and continued actions by members of Congress (including oversight by appropriate committees of Congress) aimed at freeing blind people from discriminatory practices of many commercial airlines and the commercial aviation industry itself. The "Air Carrier Access Act" (passed last year and signed into law) has not yet been implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The law (Public Law 99-435) prohibits commercial airlines from discriminating against qualified handicapped people, but the airlines' and DOT's regulation writers and enforcement personnel are behaving as though Congress will allow the usual discriminatory procedures to continue without further action to require fair treatment in air travel. It seems that the airlines and federal enforcement authorities have little regard for the law or the will of Congress, and there is no predicting how long the new law will be ignored. While it is ignored, blind people are denied the freedom to fly without having airline personnel whimsically exercise toward them misunderstood, misapplied, and misguided procedures. Most outrageous are the arrests of blind people who take seats assigned to them by the airlines and then are arrested and hauled off to jail for not moving. Yet, DOT enforcement authorities refuse to intervene to protect the personal liberties and safety of blind passengers. The fact sheet entitled "Air Travel for the Blind Means Hostile Skies: Action Needed Now" gives more details and suggests specific actions that should be taken by all members of the 100th Congress.
(2) Freedom to work -- Congress should amend the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act to provide that all jobs in work shops supplying products to the government are made available on a priority basis to blind and severely handicapped persons who qualify. This proposal seeks specific legislative reforms to expand the number and type of employment opportunities that are created for blind and handicapped people through special government procurement arrangements made under the Javits- Wagner-O'Day Act. Under existing law direct labor jobs are promoted for the blind and handicapped. This has resulted in a tokenism approach in most workshops which employ only a few blind people in responsible jobs.
The proposal for amendments to the law will assure more even-handed opportunities for the blind to participate in all workshop jobs and to be given training and other forms of consideration for employment at increasing levels of responsibility and pay. The fact sheet entitled "Federal Buying From Sheltered Workshops: A Proposal for Improved Employment Opportunities for Blind and Handicapped Individuals" gives more details and background with specific rationale for improving known and documented deficiencies in workshop hiring and employment practices.
(3) Freedom to learn -- Congress should amend the Social Security Act to give blind beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income the flexibility they need in choosing acceptable and desirable sources of post-secondary training and employment services. This proposal seeks to give the blind greater freedom to select, design, and pursue the assistance normally required to become employed and self-supporting. Under existing law beneficiaries of Social Security programs (and all other blind people seeking training and employment services) are blocked in most cases from obtaining this help through any agency other than a single agency in each state, approved by the federal government. Existing law authorizes Social Security to reimburse the state agencies when a beneficiary achieves employment, but states are reluctant to participate substantially in this "results-oriented" program.
Providing funds to participants rather than to programs would be a better option. That can be done by letting each beneficiary choose which agency or agencies will be most responsive. The beneficiary (not a government agency) is often in the best position to know which agencies can best meet the need. Under a plan which gives blind beneficiaries greater freedom to choose sponsoring agencies for their training and employment programs, cost-effective reimbursement for services could be made to private agencies as well as to state rehabilitation agencies. The outline and advantages of this improved program are presented in the fact sheet entitled "Breaking the Monopoly: A Proposal for Improved Training and Employment Services for Blind Individuals."
Blind people are asking for your help in securing positive action by Congress and the Executive Branch in the areas outlined here. To the extent necessary new legislation to achieve these and our other objectives will be introduced in the 100th Congress.
Many priorities confront this session of Congress, but the needs of the nation's blind must not be neglected in the legislative agenda. We of the National Federation of the Blind stand ready to assist our Representatives and Senators to understand our needs and to take meaningful action to address them. This year we are seeking to achieve three priority goals of freedom--freedom to travel, freedom to work, and freedom to learn. In partnership with the National Federation of the Blind, each member of Congress can help secure these three freedoms for the blind. Freedom in all areas of life is our greatest national resource. It was the quest for freedom that burned in the hearts of the founding fathers of our country. It is freedom from tyranny and freedom to achieve that have made our country great. So it is for the sighted--and so it must be for the blind.
Air Travel for the Blind Means Hostile Skies: Action Needed Now
Our Goal: Freedom to Travel
The Problem: Commercial air travel is essential for most people and no less so for blind people, but many airlines treat blind people as second-class citizens. They require the blind to obey restrictive procedures normally used for very small unaccompanied children or for people unable to think or act for themselves. The procedures vary markedly among the airlines. Federal authorities deny condoning the demeaning restrictions while covertly encouraging the airlines to discriminate and adopting a "hands-off," nonenforcement posture.
Some of the commonly practiced, unjustifiable restrictions are: prohibitions on seating blind people in or near emergency exit rows (not applied by all airlines and not a federal requirement); other seating restrictions (such as window seats only) placing blind people at or near the end of emergency evacuation lines (applied by a few but not by most airlines); specific instructions for blind people to evacuate after others in an emergency (frequently stated by flight personnel during patronizing pre-flight briefings given especially to the blind, regardless of their flying experience or ability to comprehend the public announcements); required pre-boarding of blind persons so as to separate them from the rest of the passenger load, including people with whom they may be traveling; seatbelt fastening exercises in which blind people are required publicly to prove to the satisfaction of the flight attendant that they can fasten and unfasten a seatbelt; and countless other similarly demeaning procedures applied routinely to the blind without justification.
Aviation industry officials increasingly seek to enforce these restrictions with condescending hostility. There are instances of physical abuse and attack upon blind persons during recent hostile confrontations provoked by airline personnel. In a sharply rising tide of incidents, verbal threats have publicly been made to blind passengers to embarrass and bully them into compliance with unreasonable demands. Blind people who take seat assignments given them by the airlines are almost routinely arrested for doing so. Yet, federal enforcement authorities at the Department of Transportation (DOT) have declined to intervene to protect the personal liberties and safety of blind passengers by refusing seriously to consider specific complaints.
Status of Federal Law and Regulations: The "Air Carrier Access Act" (Public Law 99-435) prohibits discrimination by airlines against qualified handicapped persons. Even without that law, Section 404 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 and regulations at 14 CFR Part 382 give DOT enforcement authority to combat discriminatory practices of airlines. In one case (DOT vs. Southwest Airlines) these legal provisions were successfully applied.
No regulations have been issued to implement Public Law 99-435. Having effective rules may take some time. Nothing will be done, however, if the process to make the rules never begins. Meanwhile airlines are disregarding the law. DOT has done nothing to urge voluntary compliance by the airlines or to step up enforcement of existing nondiscrimination regulations. This federal "hands-off" posture gives airlines a clear message: "It is still all right to discriminate against the blind." As one official of an airline recently said: "Congress doesn't run this airline."
Lax Enforcement: Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole has acknowledged to Congress that DOT can order airlines to stop discriminating against the blind even without issuing specific regulations under Public Law 99-435. However, DOT's pattern of inaction and nonenforcement does not match Secretary Dole's affirmative stance. Complaints filed with DOT's enforcement offices are commonly met with ambivalence if not with hostility and are summarily dismissed. The facts (contained in airline statements plainly showing discrimination) are not considered seriously. The only perceivable enforcement policy of DOT is to deny complaints with the sole exception of the extreme circumstances of the Southwest Airlines case.
Actions Needed: Members and committees of the Congress should act now to forestall further delays in rulemaking and enforcement to implement the Air Carrier Access Act and existing DOT regulations. Letters should be sent to Secretary Dole to insist:
(1) that the rule-making procedure to implement Public Law 99-435 begin immediately without further delay or indecision;
(2) that Mrs. Dole should use the informal powers of her office to persuade airline officials to cooperate in a voluntary initiative to reverse the pattern of hostile incidents against the blind; and
(3) that she direct DOT personnel to strengthen enforcement of existing regulations as an interim step to carry out the will of Congress and the President in approving Public Law 99-435.
Members of responsible committees of Congress (including Authorizing, Appropriations, and Oversight Committees and Subcommittees) should be alert to all possible opportunities to ask Secretary Dole and other DOT officials for progress reports on steps being taken toward achieving the objectives stated here.
In the Federal Register of August 22, 1986, 51 FR 30078, DOT asked for public comment on specific issues of air travel discrimination against the blind. Comments (especially from blind persons) were extensive. They form a sufficient record for DOT to act now on resolving all of the blindness-related airline discrimination problems. The eventual full implementation of Public Law 99-435 could be helpful. Meanwhile the gravity of the pattern of discrimination against blind people demands immediate interim action under existing authority consistent with the clearly expressed will of Congress. No rationale (bureaucratic or otherwise) can now be given for failing to pursue such efforts.
From Sheltered Workshops:
A Proposal to Improve
For Blind And
Our Goal: Freedom to Work
A Bill to amend the Act of June 25, 1938, as amended (commonly known as the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act) to improve job opportunities for blind and handicapped individuals employed in government procurement activities thereunder, and for other purposes.
The Problem: Federal agencies are now required to buy certain products from qualified nonprofit suppliers, called sheltered workshops. This policy is intended to promote employment for blind and severely handicapped people, but the jobs are limited to light industrial, assembly, and packaging work, generally referred to as "direct labor."
With only token exceptions the supervisors and managers in this federal program are not blind or severely handicapped. They have full-time salaried positions with pay and fringe benefits that match industry standards. Meanwhile the blind direct labor employees are often paid only the minimum wage or far below.
Workshop managers tenaciously fight the right of blind workers to organize labor unions. Layoffs for the direct labor employees are commonplace. Months elapse during which many of these blind workers have no work and no unemployment compensation to tide them over. Their non-blind managers and supervisors are full-time and well paid. Even the sighted who work in direct labor receive fair wages in contrast to the much lower pay received by blind employees, who perform similar work and often out- produce the more highly paid sighted employees. A typical example is a Connecticut workshop that recently reported average pay for blind workers of less than $2.00 per hour. Sighted employees in the same workshop doing similar tasks were paid over $4.00 an hour.
Proposed Legislation: Congress should amend the Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) Act to insure that all jobs in the sheltered workshop program it supports are made available on a priority basis to qualified blind and handicapped persons. Legislation entitled the "Javits-Wagner-O'Day Employment Opportunities Improvement Act of 1987" has been prepared to provide this priority. The bill would require:
(1) participating workshops to have specific, written goals and timetables for promoting or hiring qualified blind and handicapped persons into all positions beyond direct labor;
(2) special recruiting procedures which each participating workshop must follow in obtaining an adequate pool of qualified blind and handicapped applicants for all positions beyond direct labor;
(3) training, advancement, and career development programs at participating workshops so that blind and handicapped people are given opportunities to become qualified for responsible positions at all levels;
(4) non-interference policies to protect organizing and collective bargaining rights of all employees of participating workshops; and
(5) other administrative changes to improve federal leadership and monitoring of employment opportunities and rights of employees and applicants for employment in this program.
Recent Congressional Action Makes Progress Possible Now: Until recently, protecting the rights of workers has not been a driving concern in passing legislation favorable to workshops. Managers of shops promote themselves as benevolent caretakers of the blind, but persistent reports of low pay and dissatisfied workers have made members of Congress cautious in considering new concessions for workshops without worker protection features built in. Last year's amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (Public Law 99-486) show that Congress is becoming more sensitive to the need for protecting workers' rights even in sheltered workshops. Refusal by the last Congress to give for-profit small business set-aside contracts to non-profit sheltered workshops also shows that workshop bills must promote labor interests in order to pass.
Now it is time for Congress to act affirmatively on a broader but modest reform of the JWOD program. The House is already on record in support of better employment opportunities for the blind in administrative and technical support jobs with the two central management agencies that are designated to operate under the JWOD Act. (See H.R. 5294 and House Report 99-723, making appropriations for the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government for Fiscal Year 1987, 99th Congress, second session.)
During the previous year the Senate Appropriations Committee also found deficiencies in the JWOD program's employment practices in failing to hire and promote blind and handicapped persons. (See Senate Report 99-133, 99th Congress, first session.)
On a broader scale the House Committee on Government Operations found "tokenism" in the hiring and promotion of blind and handicapped persons into management and supervisory jobs in the JWOD program. (See House Report 98-546, "Improvements Needed in the Administration of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act," 98th Congress, first session.)
These documents show that responsible committees of the Congress are well aware of the need to reform employment opportunities for blind and severely handicapped persons in the JWOD program. Further study of these issues will not materially change the legislative result, but it will certainly prolong the delay in achieving a solution beneficial to the blind and severely handicapped workers under the Act. The JWOD Act has existed almost unchanged in its basic employment approach and philosophy since 1938. Now it is time to update and improve the law by insuring that all blind and handicapped workers have a fair chance to be hired for all jobs for which they can qualify. That is the modern-day standard which Congress has set in equal employment opportunity legislation. Employing the blind and handicapped at all levels throughout this program will not occur unless the underlying law is changed.
Breaking the Monopoly:
A Proposal for Improved
Training and Employment Services
For Blind Individuals
Our Goal: Freedom to Learn
A bill to amend title II and title XVI of the Social Security Act to provide blind individuals who receive benefits thereunder greater freedom to design, select and pursue training and employment service programs to the end that such individuals will become successfully employed.
Background: This paper describes the current federal approach for funding vocational rehabilitation services and an alternative legislative proposal to improve training and employment services for the blind. In 1920 Congress created the Vocational Rehabilitation Program for the purpose of providing job skills and employment to handicapped people who could work despite their impairments. The term "vocational" was deliberately used to identify the employment-centered nature of the program's goal.
In more recent times, however, the term "vocational" has been dropped from the name of the law altogether. With that change and other substantive amendments to the original basic legislation the goal of employment for the handicapped is becoming ever more obscured.
The modern-day rehabilitation act (known as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended) authorizes and supports a constellation of medical, social, recreational, vocational, educational, and research-oriented programs and other efforts that are intended to improve the living conditions and life styles of all disabled persons in America. Employment is now one of many objectives of the law, and certainly no longer the principal one.
Yet, lack of good training and employment opportunities remains the uppermost priority need to be fulfilled for more than seventy percent of all blind people from the time of high school graduation to retirement age. Recreation, social services, and even medical care needs will almost all be met for the vast majority of these blind people if they get suitable jobs with pay and responsibilities commensurate with their individual abilities.
Existing Law: Current programs (supported with almost 1.3 billion dollars in federal financial assistance) are operated largely on a single state agency concept. The blind person in need of training and employment assistance must seek help from a specific state government agency designated by law to receive the federal government's blessing and funds to provide rehabilitation services.
The state agencies thus control the money (and in many respects the lives) of those blind people who are trying to become self-supporting and free from government assistance. Options for choosing the agencies from which to seek training and employment assistance are realistically nonexistent for most blind people. Lack of a free choice for each blind person to obtain needed services from a public or private agency (selected by the individual, not by the government) is a major deterrent to effective, responsive training and employment assistance. Blind people who need help to get jobs are interested in results, not in programs.
Proposed Legislation: Under a 1981 change in the Social Security Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to pay for the costs of rehabilitating beneficiaries of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. But since results in the form of successful work for SSDI and SSI beneficiaries must be achieved under the law, most of the state vocational rehabilitation agencies cooperate with the Social Security Administration only to a small extent in this rehabilitation funding program.
A natural alternative to the present Social Security funding arrangement would be to allow recipients of SSDI or SSI benefits to designate for themselves individually selected sponsoring agencies, public or private. A legislative proposal, entitled the "Training and Employment Service for Blind Individuals Act," has been prepared to set forth necessary amendments to titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. Under the bill individually chosen sponsoring agencies could provide services directly or help to obtain services from other programs. This approach (funding the participants and letting them choose their programs) would give each person a wider selection of relevant training and employment services. Since most blind people who are not employed receive either SSDI or SSI cash benefits, they would be immediately eligible under the bill to obtain the training and job-related assistance they need. They could continue with a rehabilitation program under the existing state agency structure; or, with the help of a sponsoring agency of their choosing, they could obtain alternative training and employment services through any other program they select. In either case SSDI or SSI funds would eventually pay the costs as is now done through state rehabilitation agencies only. The outlays from the Social Security funds would not be increased.
Advantages of the Improved Pro gram: The program just described would be a natural adjunct to the existing state rehabilitation agency structure. It would leave the existing programs intact with all of their present financial support now provided under the Rehabilitation Act. The difference would be greater selection of relevant services not limited to those available through assistance by a single agency in each state. State boundaries (and limits on out-of-state expenditures) would not prevent finding the best program for each individual. Under the improved program a source of funding (not tied to any state or any agency) would be available for anyone who wanted to exercise a free choice.
To the extent that this program would stimulate competition among agencies to make their philosophies and programs attractive to potential participants, funding through Social Security would create a healthy new environment of services full of new opportunities and growth. In addition, Social Security funds paid to achieve training and employment goals would reduce demands for continuing cash outlays from the SSDI and SSI programs. This is a cost- effective approach that Congress should now enact.
THE WILL TO BE FREE: ANOTHER AIRLINE LETTER
by Kenneth Jernigan
The name Joe Chowning has probably never been heard by most of the members of the National Federation of the Blind. He is not, and never has been, a state president; nor, so far as I know, has he ever been a local president. He is a modest man. It wold not be an exaggeration to say that he is an humble man, but this does not mean that he does not have principles, pride, and self-respect.
Mostly he goes about his business, lives a quiet life, and treats his fellow beings with courtesy and respect. He pays his own way in the world and does not ask for recognition or the limelight. In fact, he would undoubtedly be embarrassed to have it.
Very well, one may say, but where is all of this leading? There are millions more like that, so why make a to-do about it?
Last December Joe Chowning, along with his wife and daughter, were taking a routine airplane trip. They went to the airport without any hostility or thought or problem. They came away determined that something must be done. The thing that brought it about was the conduct of the personnel of the airline.
It was not a Monitor article, not a fiery speech, not a devious plot hatched in the offices of the National Federation of the Blind. It was the basic affront to human dignity perpetrated by the airline. This is why no force on earth can stem the rising tide of determination by the blind to have equal access to air travel and to be free in their right to enjoy it. Let Joe Chowning tell his story in his own words:
December 16, 1986
Marc Maurer, President
National Federation of the Blind
It has been suggested that I write you about the little problem we had. We were taking Continental Airlines flight 49 from Orlando to Houston on December 11 at 1:05 p.m. We already had our tickets. About an hour before takeoff, my daughter went to the window to get our seat assignment. She did not mention that I was handicapped, since we didn't anticipate trouble. There was my wife Clara, myself, and my daughter Dawn Chowning. We were given three seats together. Later they announced passengers could board. We started to get on the plane. As we showed our tickets, the flight attendant abruptly and impolitely told us that I could not sit by an emergency exit, indicating that the seats would have to be changed. I became angry. We walked back to the assigned seats, by the exit, and sat down. I have no eyeballs and was not wearing dark glasses. No signs were posted regarding the handicapped. They claimed later that my daughter should have mentioned my handicap when she got the boarding passes, but we knew nothing of that requirement. They said there was an FAA regulation. Various airline personnel came back to persuade me to move. I would not. I told them that I wanted all information and that I would sue.
After about an hour they had the Orlando police remove me from the plane. I was not arrested. The station masters at Orlando and Houston were very nice. I got the next flight out, but I could not sit by the exits. I felt I had made my point. A police report was mailed to me, which I am enclosing.
I think mass picketing should occur across the United States, possibly selecting one airline at a time, until there is an agreement. We might buy stock with various airlines and protest at their board meetings. We might ask blind musicians to compose songs regarding the problem. Since the lives of the handicapped are being endangered by such actions, we might initiate a class action suit. We might go onto planes, occupy seats by exits, and bring their wrath down upon us.
At first glance one might wonder why we chose to print this letter. It is not filled with passion and heat, and certainly there have been more violent and dramatic confrontations. But here is a sense that a situation has become intolerable, that something must be done. Joe Chowning did not ask to sit in the exit row, but one gets the idea that he would now be willing deliberately to seek the opportunity--and once there that he would not willingly depart. He thinks there should be mass demonstrations and possible court action--and, again, one gets the idea that (in his own quiet way) he would feel obligated to do what he could to help. Only a fool or a liar would call this man a militant or a radical, but in the final determination of the airline problem the balance (as is so often the case) will rest with the Joe Chownings.
HAZEL tenBROEK HONORED ON HER 75TH BIRTHDAY
by Marc Maurer
(On Saturday evening, January 17, 1987, there was a gala party and dinner to celebrate the seventy-fifth birthday of Mrs. Hazel tenBroek. The party was planned and organized by the National Federation of the Blind of Washington and was held in Seattle. Sharon Gold, President of the National Federation of the Blind of California, was present and spoke. Also present were National Treasurer Dick Edlund and President Maurer. Letters and telegrams of congratulations from throughout the country were received, and it was a milestone to remember in the history of the Federation. Here is the address delivered by President Maurer):
On this day we celebrate your seventy- fifth birthday. All of us in the Federation wish you much joy. In 1937 you and Dr. tenBroek were married. Three years later, under the leadership of Dr. tenBroek, there came into being the most vital force in the lives of the blind that has ever been known--the National Federation of the Blind. From that moment forward there was a dramatic new force in the land. There had always been despair, loneliness, bitterness, the dream that was shattered, the heart that was broken. But now, there was something else! With the coming of the Federation came hope, the joy of participation, a spirit of gladness, a heart that was full, a dream to be fulfilled. Mrs. tenBroek, you were always part of that hope, that spirit, that dream. From the beginning you worked alongside Dr. tenBroek to bring the organized blind movement to fruition.
I have often wondered what it was like--those first years of the movement. The description Dr. tenBroek gave is moving, but it cannot encompass the whole story. Dr. tenBroek describes the beginnings of the Federation this way:
"The paramount problems of our first decade, the 1940's, were not so much qualitative as quantitative: we had the philosophy and the programs, but we lacked the membership and the means. The workers were few, and the cupboard was bare.
"Each month as we received our none- too-bountiful salary as a young instructor at the University of Chicago Law School, Hazel and I would distribute it among the necessaries of life: food, clothing, rent, Federation stamps, mimeograph paper, ink, and other supplies. So did we share our one-room apartment. The mimeograph paper took far more space in our closet than did our clothes. We had to move the mimeograph machine before we could let down the wall bed to retire at night. If on a Sunday we walked along Chicago's lake front for an hour, four or five fewer letters were written, dropping our output for that day to fewer than twenty-five.
"The decade of the forties was a time of building: and build we did, from a scattering of seven state affiliates at our first convention to more than four times that number in 1950. In the decade of the forties we proved our organizational capacity, established our representative character, initiated legislative programs on the state and national levels, and spoke with the authority and voice of the blind speaking for themselves."
I can understand the description of the work you and Dr. tenBroek did in the early days of the Federation. It speaks to me directly. I myself began college at the University of Notre Dame in 1970. I, too, shared a room with the work of the movement. I was fundraising chairman for our Indiana affiliate, and often the cases of candy which I had ordered for fundraising sales took at least as much space as my desk.
But there is something else which remains a mystery to me. Sometimes, when I felt discouragement, I would listen to the words of Dr. tenBroek, and they would bring determination and the spirit to go forward. In the middle of the night I would think about the problems of the day, and I would read the words of Dr. tenBroek and be comforted. At such times it often occurred to me to wonder what it was that Dr. tenBroek read in the middle of the night. Did he sit up sometimes and talk with you, Hazel? I am sure that he did.
Many years later, from 1968 through 1976 you served as associate editor of the Braille Monitor. That was a tremendous task. To accomplish this work, you brought energy, commitment, and talent to the job. The scope of your activities is shown by a report you gave in 1971. This is what you said:
"The principal emphasis in the Berkeley office continues to be the production of the Monitor and other related materials. From July 1, 1970, to June 30, 1971, 4,092,437 pages were printed. This required 8,185 reams of paper. The resulting product had to be collated, stapled, folded, stuffed, and mailed.
"There were 832 individual requests for materials involving 33,957 separate items; and 1,752 requests for particular issues of the Monitor were addressed and mailed. Over 18,000 envelopes for presidential correspondence were addressed.
"The Monitor continues to grow. The list of our readers is well over the 10,000 mark. From July 1, 1970, to June 30, 1971, we handled 4,517 changes in the mailing list. The number of Monitor readers increased by over twenty percent with 2,219 new readers."
Then there are the thought-provoking contributions you made to the philosophy of the movement. One of the questions you asked was "Are the 'blind' about to disappear?" This is the way you put it in a memo to Dr. Jernigan:
"It would be interesting to check into the history of the use of the term 'visually handicapped' by the agencies. During the last decade, agencies, private and public, have successfully implanted in the public mind the idea that there are differences among those with low, intermediate, and high partial vision and the totally blind. Further, they have fostered the notion that there are differences among the totals--that is, the congenitally as against the adventitiously blinded.
"The agencies have been working hard at this division for some time. They have 'discovered' differences, they say, in psychology, learning ability, social adaptation, and reactions--you know the long list. Having discovered these differences, the agencies then went about the business of 'documenting' them through 'empirical' studies.... Since they started, not with an intellectual or philosophical inquiry but with pre-packaged 'conclusions,' it was not hard to build a sizable amount of 'evidence' to substantiate the conclusions they sought....
"The harm to blind people and to the organized blind movement from the exercise of this kind of pseudo- intellectual, pseudo-scientific force, backed by a good deal of very real money with all that that implies of the ability to purchase research, advertising, and influence, is almost too much to comprehend....
"Agency effort to convince those with any vision at all that they are not blind and that, consequently, they need not learn the skills necessary to function efficiently as blind persons has had some success. Braille, for instance, is characterized as cumbersome and slow and is being phased out. People with any vision must 'think' sighted and use devices to 'see' even though the physical effort of doing so may leave no energy for constructive activity.
"The current drive to step up the removal of the word 'blind' from program titles and institutional designations has some insidious implications--intentional or not.... Will the totally blind find it more difficult to obtain educational opportunities and find placement in employment whether on their own or with assistance? Are the totally blind about to be completely buried by the 'visually handicapped,' as the blind generally are now at the bottom of the heap of the general class of 'physically handicapped'?..."
Mrs. tenBroek, this is what you wrote to Dr. Jernigan in the early 1970's. Some years later in 1976, when you ceased being associate editor of the Monitor, the Berkeley office changed, but you did not. During that time you and Dr. Jernigan worked very closely together. But as you left, you expressed a sentiment which deserves our admiration. Your words are these: "We must look to the past only for such strength as it gives to go forward with the work we must all do." And you went on to tell us how you felt about your work within the movement:
"It would," you said, "be misleading to say that I won't miss the intellectual stimulation of working with President Jernigan, or the relationships that grew with the wonderful people who worked on the Berkeley office staff, or the thrill of seeing the Monitor come off the presses each month, or the groans that accompanied the discovery of errors.... Of course I will miss these things....
"When all that is said and done, I am retiring only as associate editor. It is impossible for me to retire from the Federation, for it runs deep in my blood and being. I am at your service whenever you think I can perform some useful duty."
As I contemplate your words and remember the contributions you have made, I know that the people of the Federation are the substance of the organization we have. Hazel tenBroek, you have brought caring and commitment, toil and tears, to the task of building our movement; but you have also brought a light heart, a vigorous hand, and abundant laughter. Results matter more to you than the manner of doing a thing. I cannot say that the experience recorded by the poet is one you would endorse, but I offer it to you nonetheless. It reminds me (in a way) of certain stories about the contributions you have made within our movement. For we (the National Federation of the Blind) have accomplished much. For blind people the world is no longer as it was when we came to organize in 1940. During these forty-seven years the National Federation of the Blind has come to be recognized for certain characteristics. We never quit. We refuse to permit adversity to halt our progress. We recognize the necessity to be flexible and to bounce back. It is a long, difficult struggle. But we do not come to the task with weariness and a long face. Instead, we approach this business of becoming first-class citizens with a song of joy and a light heart. You, Mrs. tenBroek, have helped make us that way. Therefore, I offer you these lines:
The proper way for man to pray,
Said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,
And the only proper attitude
Is down upon his knees.
No, I should say the way to pray,
Said Reverend Doctor Wise,
Is standing straight with outstretched arms
And rapt and upturned eyes.
Oh, no, no, no, said Elder Slow,
Such posture is too proud:
A man should pray with eyes fast closed
And head contritely bowed.
It seems to me his hands should be
Austerely clasped in front
With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,
Said Reverend Doctor Blunt.
Last year I fell in Hodgkin's well
Head first, said Cyrus Brown,
"With both my heels a-stickin' up,
My head a-pintin' down";
And I made a prayer right
then and there--
Best prayer I ever said.
The prayingest prayer I ever prayed,
A-standing on my head.
BLINDNESS AND THE FAMILY ANNOUNCING THE
1987 NFB SEMINAR AND WORKSHOP
FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN
by Barbara Cheadle, President
Parents of Blind Children Division
National Federation of the Blind
Mary Wurtzel, Co-Chair
Committee on Parental Concerns
National Federation of the Blind
A woman starts having labor pains two months early. The baby is born prematurely ... and blind. The parents are devastated. A well-meaning neighbor tells them not to worry. The baby probably won't live long anyway and besides, she'll be able to see in heaven.
A blind woman and her husband, married over a year, decide it's time to start a family. She tells the good news to a co-worker and is greeted first with silence and then a shocked, "How are you going to take care of a baby?"
"The Ugly Duckling" is read by a third grade class and the teacher asks the children if they know someone who is pre-judged by their appearance. A boy raises his hand and says people do that all the time to his brother. His brother is blind.
A twelve-year-old girl comes home in tears. She had received lots of compliments on her costume for the school play until she told her friends that her mother had made it. Her friends laughed and called her a liar: "Blind people can't sew!"
A teenage boy fights to keep back tears of frustration and disappointment. He was so sure Sarah was going to ask him to the turn-around dance. But she didn't, and now she is avoiding him. He knows why, too. She just couldn't take the teasing she was getting about liking that blind kid. As tears roll down his face he wonders if there are blind people who ever date and get married.
Child, parent, sister, or brother... it doesn't matter which one is blind. Sooner or later every member of that family must face the ugly truth. No matter how competent and capable a blind child or adult is or has the potential of being, the public still persists in believing that blindness is a pitiful tragedy, a condition of helplessness and dependency. What's worse is that since we are all members of that public, we are just as likely to hold those beliefs as anyone else.
Blindness is just a characteristic like any other, no more, no less. It is not a tragedy. It does not mean that an individual is forever cut off from, or even restricted in, all the normal pursuits in our society--work and career, education, recreation, civic responsibilities, and of course family life.
However, the struggle really to believe that and to hold to that belief in the face of age-old stereotypes, is difficult and painful. Families can be torn apart by that struggle. They can also emerge stronger, both as a unit and as individuals.
What can really help is knowing people just like us who are going through, or have gone through, what we are experiencing. What parent of a blind child, or blind parent, or blind child, or sighted child with a blind brother, sister, or parent has not cried out within themselves, "Is there anybody out there like me?"
In response to that cry, the National Federation of the Blind Parents of Blind Children Division and the NFB Parental Concerns Committee announce our 1987 seminar and workshop for families impacted by blindness.
The date is Saturday, June 27, and the place is the Civic Center across from the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix, Arizona. The seminar is called: "Blindness: Its Impact on Parents and Children." In addition to this seminar there is a concurrent workshop for school-age children (blind or sighted), grades kindergarten through twelve, called "Is There Anybody Out There Like Me?"
There are many more exciting, informative meetings in the days following Saturday, June 27, because this day marks the beginning of the week-long national convention of the National Federation of the Blind. Those events include, among others, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Workshop on the evening of Tuesday, June 30. Parents and educators of blind children will want to plan to come for the entire week.
The workshops we have planned this year are truly special and unique. Usually, seminars of this kind talk about the problems of blind children, but never include the child. This time, we are not only including the children, but the emphasis will be on helping all family members understand and deal with blindness--regardless of which member within the family is blind.
That means that these workshops are for parents of blind children, blind children, blind parents, and sighted children who have a blind parent, brother, or sister.
As we have defined the issues and drawn up the agenda, we have become more and more excited about this concept. For example, the adult seminar will cover critical issues and questions that parents of blind children or blind parents encounter almost daily. It will deal with such questions as: How do you tell children what blindness is? How can you teach your children positive attitudes about blindness? What do you do when other children tease your child because he or she is blind or has a blind parent? What do you do, for that matter, when other adults show ignorance and insensitivity? These and many other topics will be explored that day.
The children's workshop will run concurrently with the adult seminar. This workshop will be for school-age children grades kindergarten through twelve (child-care will be available for younger children).
The workshop will be organized and led by experienced and sensitive blind and sighted adults, many of whom are parents and/or educators. Activities will be designed for each age/maturity level and will emphasize positive attitudes about blindness and skills of blindness. Children will be given the opportunity to make friends with each other and to get to know competent blind adults.
At the end of the day the children and the instructors will rejoin the parents in the adult seminar, and a report of the day's activities will be given.
Pre-registration is required for the children's workshop. See details about this at the end of the article. Seminar participants will also be able to attend the Parents of Blind Children Division (POBC) annual meeting on this Saturday. The hour-long meeting will be scheduled mid-day and will feature a showing of a video about blind parents. We will also elect officers, hear committee reports, and discuss other business items.
Now, about the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) workshop.
The IEP is not on the adult seminar agenda this year for a couple of reasons. First, we had so many other topics we could not squeeze it in and do it justice. Second, the IEP process is important enough, and complex enough, to be the topic of a whole workshop in itself. So, that's what we have done.
The IEP workshop will take place on the evening of Tuesday, June 30 (Tuesday is the day the general convention session begins).
The IEP, for those unfamiliar with the term, is an educational plan which the federal law requires be written to meet the individual needs of each handicapped child receiving special education services. The plan is drawn up by the child's teachers and parents, must be reviewed at least once a year, and can be revised as often as necessary.
This will be a top-notch workshop for parents and teachers and for others (like Federationists) who advocate for blind children.
Beyond what you can learn from these seminars and workshops is, of course, the chance to really get to know some of the thousands of parents out there who know just what you are going through. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to begin to work together to help ourselves, to help others like us, and to educate the public so that fewer families have to suffer because of the stigma and stereotypes of blindness.
"Blindness: Its Impact
on Parents and Children"
" Is There Anybody Out There Like Me?"
Seminar and Workshop
Saturday, June 27, 1987
Civic Center--Phoenix, Arizona
The Civic Center is just across the street from the Hyatt Regency, which is the headquarters hotel for the National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention. Registration and check-in for the seminar and workshop will begin at 8:00 a.m. in the Civic Center. The program for both will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and adjourn at 4:30 p.m.
A room reservation form complete with details can be had by contacting: Convention Reservations, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, (301) 659-9314. Please use the convention reservation form. You will notice that the room rates are fantastic ($28.00 for doubles) and that there is no extra charge for children under age 18 in the same room with parents. Child-care will be available for children too young to participate in the workshop. The child-care room will be located in the Hyatt Regency. It will open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 5.00 p.m. There is no set fee for the service, but donations to help defray costs are expected. Snacks will be provided, but parents must bring or purchase lunches. A box lunch for your child in child-care can be purchased on this pre-registration form or during registration at the seminar. Again, since we need to know how many children to prepare for, we must insist that children be pre- registered for the workshop.
Registration Fees and Extra Lunches:
Fees for the workshop
and seminar include the following items:
-- Box Lunch
-- A year's subscription to Future Reflections
-- Membership in the NFB Parents of Blind Children Division (includes the whole family: both parents and all children under age 18).
Box lunches in addition to those included with the registration fee may be purchased at $7.00 each. Please include the cost of any extra lunches ordered in the total amount you enclose with this form.
A complete refund will be made if we are notified of cancellations before June 13th. No refunds will be made after that date.
Adult #1. (Name)
Adult #2. (Name)
Address (Include city, state, and zip code)
Child #1. (Name) (Age) (Grade) Blind or Sighted?
Child #2. (Name) (Age) (Grade) Blind or Sighted?
Child #3. (Name) (Age) (Grade) Blind or Sighted?
(If you wish to register other children or adults just write the necessary information on another sheet of paper and include it with this form.)
Check one of the following and fill in the appropriate amounts and final total. One adult: $10.00 Couples (husband and wife) or one parent, one child: $15.00 Families of three or more (one or two parents/guardians plus children) $25.00
Orders for extra
lunches: (Remember, lunches are provided for each adult and child registered
for the seminars).
Total amount enclosed
Total Children attending
Total Adults attending
Please make checks or money orders payable to: NFB Parents of Blind Children. Mail this form and check/money order to: Debbie Hamm, Secretary, POBC, 747 West Pilger, Roseburg, Oregon 97470.
State of Ohio
Office of the Governor
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind is the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States and in Ohio; and
WHEREAS, the members of the National Federation of the Blind have forged strong compassionate bonds of unity based on the belief that blindness is respectable and that blind people must speak for themselves to secure and exercise the full rights and privileges of citizenship; and
WHEREAS, NFB's tireless advocacy in the political system and in educating the public has resulted in the establishment of basic subsistence for blind people who are in need, quality rehabilitation, and job opportunities commensurate with ability and civil rights protection; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio has traditionally held its annual convention during the month of October; their 40th annual convention is being held from October 30 to November 2, 1986, in Cleveland, Ohio;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD F. CELESTE, Governor of the State of Ohio, do hereby proclaim the month of October, 1986, as
National Federation of the Blind Month
throughout the State of Ohio, in recognition of the important contributions made by the organization through its action and philosophy.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the Great Seal of the State of Ohio to be affixed at Columbus this 30th day of October in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty-Six.
Richard F. Celeste
Governor of the State of Ohio
Secretary of State
(Susan Myrick is Dr. Jernigan's secretary. She works each month helping prepare the Braille Monitor. She also finds time to cook Maryland seafood. Here are six of Miss Myrick's favorite Maryland seafood recipes.)
MARYLAND CREAM OF CRAB SOUP
1 pound Maryland crabmeat
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup margarine or butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Few drops hot sauce
1 quart milk
Parsley flakes, for garnish
Remove cartilage from crabmeat. Dissolve bouillon cube in water.
In four-quart saucepan, cook onion in margarine or butter until tender. Blend in flour and seasonings. Add milk and bouillon gradually and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat spoon. Add crabmeat; heat, but do not boil. Garnish with parsley flakes before serving. Makes six servings.
Note: Soup improves upon standing as flavors get a chance to blend, so this is a good "prepare ahead" dish. Let mixture come to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to use. Reheat over very low heat, stirring often until soup is hot--but not to the boiling point.
DEVILED CRAB DELUXE
1 pound Maryland crabmeat
1 cup cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup minced onion
Dash hot sauce
Dash cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup parsley flakes
2/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/4 cup evaporated milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cracker crumbs, for topping
Margarine or butter, for topping
Remove all cartilage from crabmeat. In a bowl mix first twelve ingredients lightly but thoroughly. Put mixture into six individual shells or ramekins (or one-quart casserole). Sprinkle with cracker crumbs, then dot with margarine or butter. Bake at 375 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes or until browned on top. Makes six servings.
TRADITIONAL MARYLAND OYSTER STEW
1 pint shucked medium
oysters, with liquor
1 quart milk
1/4 cup margarine or butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Old Bay seafood seasoning
Cook oysters in their liquor until edges just begin to curl.
Add milk, margarine or butter, salt, and pepper. Heat slowly; do not boil. Serve at once. For an extra zip, sprinkle seafood seasoning on each serving. Makes about 6 cups of stew.
MARYLAND CLAMS CASINO
12 cherrystone clams in shell
1 to 2 drops Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 drops hot sauce
3 strips partially cooked bacon, cut in quarters
Seasoned breadcrumbs, for topping
Open shells, letting clam remain in one half; discard other half. Arrange clams in shallow baking pan. On each clam put Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, bacon, and breadcrumbs.
Broil, four inches from source of heat, until edges of clams curl and bacon is done (two to three minutes). Makes twelve appetizers.
MARYLAND CLAM CHOWDER
2 quarts water
1/4 cup chicken stock base
3 stalks celery, including tops chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
1 10-ounce package frozen corn
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 tablespoon freeze-dried chopped chives
2 tablespoons instant minced onion
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme)
1/4 teaspoon MSG
1/4 teaspoon lemon and pepper seasoning
2 cups clam juice
1-1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
24 ounces fresh or canned
ground or minced hard shell clams, including juice
1 whole pimento, chopped fine
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring water to boil. Add chicken stock base and mix well. Add all ingredients through clam juice and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer five minutes more. Makes about four quarts.
Note: For an especially elegant version, add one dozen shucked soft shell clams with final ingredients.
MARYLAND LOBSTER SUPREME
3 cups cooked lobster meat
6 tablespoons margarine or butter
6 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup dry sherry
8 drops Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon lemon and pepper seasoning
Salt to taste
3 green onions, minced (about 1/4 cup)
2 4-ounce cans sliced mushrooms, drained
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
Paprika, for sprinkling
Cut lobster meat into bite-size pieces. In three-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter, mix in flour. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, to keep mixture smooth and free from lumps. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Add sherry, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and pepper seasoning, and salt. Simmer two minutes.
In another pan saute green onions and mushrooms in margarine or butter until green onions are tender. Add to sauce mixture. Gently stir lobster meat into sauce mixture.
Put into individual shells or ramekins (or greased two-quart casserole). Sprinkle paprika over top. Bake at 450 degrees until hot and bubbly and lightly browned on top (ten to fifteen minutes). Makes six servings.
**Highway Vending Comes to Virginia:
In the January, 1987, newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia (edited by Seville Allen) the following item appears:
The State Highway and Transportation Board voted to place vending facilities at five Virginia highway rest areas. This placement of vending machines along highways will be a two-year experiment. The action adds Virginia to a growing list of states putting the Kennelly Amendments to the Randolph-Sheppard Act into effect.
Federationists will recall that several years ago due to our efforts the Kennelly Amendments passed Congress, giving vendors additional income from highway vending facilities. The amendments left it up to each state to make use of the opportunity to enhance vendor income. It was approximately two years ago officials of the Virginia Department for the Visually Handicapped (VDVH) told us that they had done all they could to have vending machines placed at highway rest areas. There was not one vending machine in place. Therefore, our NFBV members went out to see that that situation was remedied. The result of our NFBV Vendor's Association work is the five vending sites. Federationists Joe Chandler, J.C. Coleman, Joe Chankle, and Ed Peay worked hard to convince state officials that Virginia should join with the other states to expand the vending program to our state's freeway rest areas.
Mary Donahue writes:
"This is just a note stating that the Austin Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas is alive and well. On January 10, 1987, we held a monthly meeting. The following officers and board members were elected: Jeff Pearcy, President; Tommy Craig, First Vice President; Aundrea Moore, Second Vice President; Mary Donahue, Secretary; Margaret "Cokie" Craig, Treasurer; Zena Pearcy, Board Member Position One; and Pete Donahue, Board Member Position Two."
More and more state affiliates and a number of local chapters are regularly publishing newsletters. Recently the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon joined the list. In the first issue of the Oregon newsletter President David Hyde said:
"It is always exciting when we start a new venture. As we grow as an organization and as more and more of us take on greater responsibilities, it becomes apparent, as it has to many of us, that an organization such as the Federation in Oregon must speak with a published voice. It gives me particular pleasure, therefore, to inaugurate this first newsletter of the NFB of Oregon."
**Voice Dialer Telephone:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Aids Unlimited, Inc., has been appointed as an authorized distributor for the new Model 1000 Voice Dialer Telephone. The Voice Dialer is a significant breakthrough in telephone communications.
Make local and long distance calls by just lifting the receiver and speaking a name into the phone; store 100 names and 200 numbers in Voice Dialer's memory; prevent unauthorized persons from using the phone and accessing the names and numbers in the memory; add, erase, or change names or numbers whenever you wish; Nicad batteries (not included) protect memory during temporary power outage; touch one button for emergency police or doctor calls; access computer services, stock quotation services, and home banking services by voice; time your calls while you are talking; adjust ring volume from off to loud; Voice Dialer can also be used as a conventional phone--even when power is out; no vision required to set or operate any function; suitable for rotary or pulse tone; built-in capacity for future accessories; FCC approved--two-year warranty; cassette and print instructions included.
Voice Dialer is perfect for the person who makes frequent calls to a lot of different numbers. It is also perfect for the person who needs to save time--no need to look up numbers; no need to dial. Names and numbers in memory can be verified with the touch of a button.
Original price $249.95; Aids Unlimited price now $199.95 plus $4.00 for shipping and insurance; credit card orders accepted by phone: MasterCard, Visa, Choice. For further information contact: Aids Unlimited, Inc., 1101 North Calvert Street--Suite 405, Baltimore, Maryland 21202; (301) 659-0232.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
"The Ruth Berry Versaw Library for the Blind is a free loan Christian library consisting of Sunday church sermons, radio sermons, and a variety of Bible studies and series. Tape or ink print catalogs are available upon request to Ruth Versaw, 11104 North Brauer, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73114."
**Wins Vendor Appeal:
The following item appears in the January, 1987, newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia:
NFBV Helps Vendor Win Social Security Appeal:
Did you know that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is intended, by its regulation, to replace earned income? IF the folks at the Social Security Administration understood this, as well as Federationists, many more persons would be qualified for and receive SSDI.
In 1984 a Virginia vendor applied for SSDI, and his application was denied. The Federation was asked to help him with his appeal. Larry Povinelli, a student studying law at George Mason University and active Federationist, represented the vendor for his appeal hearing. The case was ultimately won on the principle that expenses needed to produce earned income are deducted, whether that deduction be by the vendor or the host facility. The vendor's earned (take home) income was deemed to be at a level which made him eligible to receive SSDI. Just one more reason, in a growing list of reasons, why we have a National Federation of the Blind and our Virginia affiliate.
**Blind Employee of Year:
On November 5, 1986, Theresa Jeraldi-- a Federationist from Massachusetts--was named Massachusetts Blind Employee of the Year. Theresa is the fourth person and the first woman to win this award, which is cosponsored annually by the Carroll Center for the Blind and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. She works in Boston for the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. After eight years of service, she is now an intake investigator at the journeyman level.
Theresa has been a member of the National Federation of the Blind for seven years and is currently Vice President of the Cambridge Chapter. At the award ceremony held at the Bank of Boston she said that she was inspired by role models whom she had met in the National Federation of the Blind.
**Oral Insulin Pill Possible:
A recent news article carried widely on the services said:
Researchers say they have developed a method that someday may allow diabetics to take insulin orally instead of through injections, a goal that has eluded scientists for decades. The technique, which involves sealing insulin-containing capsules in plastic film to protect them from the digestive system, could eliminate the daily needle pricks a minority of diabetics must endure, the researchers say. Scientists at Bowling Green State University and the Medical College of Ohio say the approach also might be useful in treating cancer and other diseases of the colon, the destination of the capsuled medicines.
David Walker writes:
"On January 3, 1987, the National Federation of the Blind of Jefferson City, Missouri, elected the following officers and board members: President, Betty Walker; Vice President, Rita Lynch; Secretary, Dave Walker; Treasurer, Alvin Toebben; and Board Members George Bushman, Brian Wekamp, and Lavern Toebben."
The National Federation of the Blind of Virginia recently announced the formation of the Seven Hills Chapter in Lynchburg. Bill Walker is the President. Contragulations to the new chapter.
**DX Audio Service:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The DX Audio Service is a monthly recorded periodical featuring news about medium wave radio worldwide. It includes interviews with radio personalities from around the world, as well as news for the serious radio enthusiast. DX Audio News is a project of the National Radio Club, Inc. Subscriptions are $25 per year or $12 per year if the tapes are returned. For more information, or to subscribe, contact National Radio Club, Inc., Post Office Box 24, Cambridge, Wisconsin 53523.
Ruth Goodwin is a Federationist from Missouri who has attended the last fifteen NFB conventions. In a recent letter she says:
"I have enjoyed the last two Monitors very much. I do have one request and that is for a brief article regarding talking books. When we receive our machines, explicit instructions are given for the care of the machine and also the use of the records and cassettes--that is, the records should be kept in sequence with the Braille side on top. Within the last few years I have received records in deplorable condition. Not only are they dirty and sticky, but sometimes it is necessary to go through the entire contents to get the records in proper order. It is my understanding that our regional library often has trouble with bad cassettes (some of which I have received) because borrowers have not indicated that something was wrong with one or more of the cassettes when returning them. I believe you could write a miniature for the Monitor which might help."
The January, 1987, issue of Seventeen magazine carries an article entitled "30 Super Scholarships: A Guide to Capitalizing on College Aid." The National Federation of the Blind scholarship program is listed. No other organization in the field of blindness is mentioned.
The November, 1986, newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois reports:
"Jacksonville Theater Guild Elects New President: The Jacksonville Theater Guild held its annual dinner meeting September 30, 1986. The Theater Guild board of directors elected Cathy Randall President for the upcoming 1986-87 season."
Joe Urbanek of South Carolina, who is providing the Francis Urbanek Memorial Scholarship in memory of his deceased brother, was appointed by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in October of 1986 to serve on the Ad Hoc Audio Equipment Advisory Committee.
**Life After Blindness:
Recently Tom Stevens wrote to President Maurer:
"On November 15, 1986, the Columbia, Missouri, Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind completed its eleventh seminar in the past thirty months. The seminar addressed the subject: 'Is There Life After Blindness?' Obviously, we objectively concluded that there is. To insure that the content of that seminar did not fade away in the air, we videotaped it and have prepared a videotape, which is in the latter stages of production. We hope to have it available in the very near future for others to use."
In a letter to the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration dated December 3, 1986, Philip Peterson (Director of the Michigan Commission for the Blind) said:
"In response to Rehabilitation Services Commissioner Justin W. Dart, Jr.'s letter of November 14, 1986, authorizing the convening of an arbitration panel to hear and render a decision on the issues raised in the complaint re: Michigan Commission for the Blind vs. U.S. Department of Defense, Case No. R-S/87-2 and in compliance with Section 6 of the Interim Arbitration Procedures, we are designating Mr. James Gashel as the panel member to represent the Michigan Commission for the Blind.
"Mr. Gashel has fourteen years of experience in Randolph-Sheppard matters. He worked with the federal government in writing the rules and regulations which pertain to the 1974 Act amendments. He has provided expert testimony for Randolph-Sheppard Act matters before congressional oversight committee hearings and, most importantly, has professionally represented blind individuals on three national arbitration panels. Additionally, Mr. Gashel has presented testimony before ten other panels and provided expert testimony on Randolph- Sheppard matters at national and state level hearings."
**Audible Traffic Signals Again:
Under date of December 23, 1986, Charles E. Young (Administrator of the Oregon Commission for the Blind) wrote to Dean Franklin, who is the District Traffic Engineer for the City of Portland, as follows:
"The Oregon Commission for the Blind has learned that the city of Portland has installed audible traffic signals in two locations and that a third location is under consideration at the request of Volunteer Braille Services. While this accommodation may appear to meet the needs of blind and visually impaired individuals, there is a real concern about their effectiveness and safety among some members of the blind community. As a result of this concern, our board of Commissioners has directed me to request that you set a moratorium on all future installations until the Commission and members of the community have had a chance to discusss the benefits of audible traffic signals for blind persons.
"This issue was brought up for discussion at a December 10 meeting of this agency's board of Commissioners.
"The concerns that were stated at this December 10 meeting include:
"1. Volunteer Braille Services may have recommended installation of an audible traffic signal without seeking appropriate input from consumer groups of the blind. The Commission is particularly concerned about this because we subgrant money to Volunteer Braille Services, and one condition of this grant is that blind individuals be involved in decision-making.
"2. There is a concern that audible traffic signals may create safety hazards worse than those they are supposed to alleviate. Possible hazards include: (1) the sound of the signal may block out the sound of traffic approaching, which may be dangerous if this traffic runs counter to the signal; and (2) a person using the signals may become dependent on them and therefore less capable of crossing an intersection on their own when necessary.
"3. There is a concern that such devices may further the negative image that blind persons need costly modifications of their environment to be able to participate in our society.
"For all of these reasons, we ask that you allow time for community input before installing the signal near Volunteer Braille Services or at any other location."
**Michigan School for the Blind:
The following item appears in the December, 1986, Michigan Focus, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan:
Michigan began providing education for the blind in 1859 in Flint at the Michigan Asylum for Educating the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind. In 1879 the legislature established the Michigan School for the Blind, and in 1880 the school was moved to its present site in Lansing, the former home of the Michigan Female College and the Institute for Oddfellows. The School for the Blind opened on September 29, 1880, with thirty-five students and twenty-four staff members. In June, 1881, five students made up the school's first graduating class. In 1887 the school enrolled its first deaf-blind student. In the late fifties the school experienced its largest enrollment with 300 children, K - 12. Initially, instruction was by lecture/demonstration but in 1884-85 the Braille system was introduced.
Recently someone wrote to President Maurer saying that Sharon Gold had engaged in civil disobedience when she refused to move from the exit row seat on the airplane last summer. President Maurer replied:
"What is civil disobedience? Henry David Thoreau wrote extensively about it. However, as I understand the term, I am not sure that it fits Sharon Gold's case. For civil disobedience to occur, there must be a law which is violated. I don't believe Sharon Gold violated any. Civil disobedience may mean that there is a law with which an individual disagrees so violently that the individual cannot obey it in good conscience. The individual who violates this law must accept the consequences of the violation. To endure a period of time in jail or to be required to pay a fine may be preferable to obedience to an unjust law. I am not sure that civil disobedience occurred with Sharon Gold. Perhaps what she did is something else."
Eileen O'Brien, who was one of our most able and dedicated members, died January 28, 1987, because of complications of diabetes. When Eileen became blind, she was an English teacher in the Chicago public schools. She continued her teaching until kidney failure forced her to leave the classroom. Although this meant a shift of direction, it did not mean any lessening of her spirit of determination and service to others. Eileen became active in the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. She was one of the originators of the Diabetic Support Network within the NFB. When the Network evolved into the Diabetic Division, Eileen was chosen to be its First Vice President. She was determined to see that blind diabetics received the help and information they needed to make decisions about dealing with diabetes. Her optimistic attitude led her to the NFB. The rich gift of her spirit has strengthened all of us and has helped bring Federationism to many. She was much loved and will be greatly missed.
**New Slogan and Logo Wanted:
Karen Mayry, President of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota, writes:
"The South Dakota Penitentiary Braille Unit needs help in selecting a new slogan and logo. Currently they are using the following: 'Confined Leading the Blind.' This slogan is accompanied by a picture of an open eye behind bars. Leaders of the blind are other blind individuals. Thus, the slogan is inappropriate. With many people still looking at blindness as synonomous with imprisonment, a new logo ought to be created as well. The men are most congenial to receiving other suggestions.
However, they wish to retain the words 'confined' and 'blind' in the slogan. They have offered to hold a contest to obtain suggested slogans and logos more acceptable to the blind. You can help by sending your entry to: Braille Unit, South Dakota Penitentiary, Attention: Dan McQuillen, 1600 North Drive, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57101. The prize is either one dozen custom-made assorted greeting cards or a tour of the South Dakota Penitentiary, including the Braille Unit and a meal well worth it. The guys are enthusiastic and dedicated. Let us help them out as they help blind persons with their transcription of textbooks and restaurant menus."