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August 28, 2009
Dear President Obama:
Braille makes it possible for me to face people. It's just that simple. Yes, I use many other modern tools to perform my daily duties, but I could never manage what I do with comparable effectiveness. Braille is to me what your teleprompter is to you. With Braille I can, as a man of fifty-seven, stand up in front of a room of friends or strangers and competently deliver a presentation. I can smoothly and seemlessly conduct a class. I can prepare notes to prompt me as I engage in a session with a client.
Braille has made all these things and more possible in my life--many great and many small. Without it I do not know where I'd be or what I'd be doing. The other side of the Braille coin is that I do not know where I'd be or what I'd be doing if I'd had Braille provided to me at a more appropriate age. You see, I only learned Braille at age twenty-eight, just barely thirty years ago. I spent nearly half my life without it--my entire childhood without it. My whole youth went by with unnecessary frustration and diminished prospects. Despite this Braille has proven to be such a powerful asset that I have still made something meaningful of my life.
My conclusion is bold and concrete: Braille is a must for any blind person. Braille must be promptly, enthusiastically, and thoroughly promoted for all blind people--especially children. This means each and every school in America must consistently and unflinchingly provide Braille. No excuse must be accepted--no pause or study of the problem considered; just do it.