(back) (contents) (next)

Parnell Diggs
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

August 27, 2009

Dear President Obama:

I know you would agree that reading to our children is a worthwhile activity and that we should find time to do it no matter how busy we become as we advance in our chosen professions. My wife is sighted, and I am blind.

I practice law in Myrtle Beach, and my wife is on my payroll. Our nine-year-old son, Jordan, is an avid reader. This is because Kim and I have been reading to him since before he could walk and talk. Kim reads print, and I read Braille. I was taught to read Braille in the first-grade though at the time I had enough vision to read large print. I found that I could read Braille much faster than I could read large print; and by fifth grade I was reading Braille exclusively. If I had not learned Braille as a child, I would now be illiterate because my vision has deteriorated to such a degree that I can no longer read large print.

Most blind children in America today are not learning Braille. Nine out of every ten blind children starting first grade in America this fall will be illiterate when they become adults. Fewer than half of them will earn a high school diploma. And worst of all, they will not be able to teach their children to read, spell, and write effectively.

You are in a position to do something about this. I am writing in the hope that you will help me to increase public awareness about the importance of Braille literacy so that America’s blind children can learn to read.

Sincerely,
Parnell Diggs