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Robert Jaquiss
West Monroe, Louisiana

August 19, 2009

Dear President Obama:

Braille is important to me. I use it every day. I use Braille for taking notes for school, compiling shopping lists, writing phone numbers, or making other references. I would not be the productive person I am without being literate in Braille.

I learned Braille as a child at the same time my peers learned to read print. While my peers had reading class, I went to my Braille teacher's room and learned the code. I could then take part in class just like my sighted peers. My mother Brailled many of my books, and my Braille teacher, Mrs. Summers, taught me Braille. Mrs. Summers gave my mother pointers on ways to Braille my books.

As I went to college and then work, I used Braille. I keep a Perkins Brailler on my desk. I carry a slate and stylus in my backpack and use a BrailleNote for note-taking during meetings. Because of Braille I worked twenty-three years at Tektronix, nearly four years at the National Center for the Blind, and for five years as the volunteer executive director for VIEW International Foundation. Now I am returning to school, and I will continue to use Braille. Braille has given me independence, has made me a tax-paying citizen, and has allowed me to become a contributing member of society. Braille has made me literate and free. I would not be the person I am without Braille.

Robert Jaquiss