National Convention Sponsorship Statement Regarding accessiBe
Baltimore, Maryland (June 24, 2021): The National Federation of the Blind, America’s civil rights organization of blind people, carries out the will of blind Americans as expressed through the National Convention and, between conventions, through the decisions of its elected officers and directors. This week, the Board of Directors reviewed accessiBe’s business practices at the urging of members who have researched and interacted with the company, and the Board believes that accessiBe currently engages in behavior that is harmful to the advancement of blind people in society. In particular, it is the opinion of the Board that accessiBe peremptorily and scornfully dismisses the concerns blind people have about its products and its approach to accessibility. The Board is deeply concerned that the company treats blind access technology experts shabbily and disrespectfully in private meetings and disparages the blind in the press and their other communications. It seems that accessiBe fails to acknowledge that blind experts and regular screen reader users know what is accessible and what is not. The nation’s blind will not be placated, bullied, or bought off. Therefore, the Board revoked accessiBe’s sponsorship of the convention on June 22, 2021. We hope that the company will ultimately recognize and appreciate the experience and expertise that blind people can bring to improving its products and services and align its mission with the expressed will and true interests of the blind. Unless and until that happens, we decline to accept accessiBe’s participation in the 2021 National Convention or to allow it to use our convention platform to promote itself.