Editor's Pick: Highlights from the Braille Monitor

Posted by Gary Wunder | 05/31/2016 | General
Editor's Note:

The Braille Monitor is the flagship publication of the National Federation of the Blind. Every month, its editor, Gary Wunder, compiles stories that range from educational to inspiring to thought-provoking and everything in between.

For this post, I asked Gary to share some of his favorite kinds of stories that have appeared in the Monitor over the years. Check out his list and if you like, leave a comment telling us what your favorite Monitor stories are.

For this post, I asked Gary to share some of his favorite kinds of stories that have appeared in the Monitor over the years. Check out his list and if you like, leave a comment telling us what your favorite Monitor stories are.

Stories I Love that have Appeared in the Braille Monitor

1. I love articles in which blind people experience and reveal epiphanies. Some are as simple as "There are people who are just like me. They share my problems, and somehow, working together, they have managed to work around them and are willing to share their triumphs.” I love reading about the blind woman who thought her lack of sight would forever confine her to her house and who now realizes she can travel wherever she wishes. I love the article in which the cane brings back the ability to walk the streets, enjoy the fresh air, and run errands. I love the story when one first uses public transportation, gets off at the right stop, and returns to his home in triumph. Lastly, I love the story in which, using her newfound skills, the blind woman goes out, gets disoriented, realizes she is not in danger just because she is lost, and figures out how to get back to a place she knows.

 

2. I love watching the blind change the law. Although the family I grew up in had many strong people, when it came to change and being able to effect government, they would say "It's tough being the little man," or "Nobody cares about the working stiff." Congress was a place where big people met in DC, but the thought of going to visit that Congress or saying how things should change never was a part of our family talk. But not so in the pages of the Braille Monitor, and not so for the blind people in the National Federation of the Blind. These folks don't just read about Congress; they visit it, persuade it, and will straightforwardly tell it whether its on the right or wrong path. The Braille Monitor first showed me and continues to show others that not only do blind people visit the Congress, but Congressmen visit them. All of this I saw, and it forever changed my mind about the meaning of citizen involvement. Being a good citizen isn't just being informed; it is informing. It isn't just reacting to what is done by the powerful but helping determine what the powerful will do.

 

3. Ms. Whozit: I have always loved this occasional column because it reveals that people have the same questions I have had but have been too ashamed or afraid to ask. Through these questions and answers I learned that I was not alone in my ignorance, but, more importantly, the Braille Monitor has answers. How does one match her clothes? How does one interact at a party in which the goal is to get to know new people? How does one determine appropriate dress within a group? Not every question has an easy answer, but each answer means we readers need not reinvent the wheel and that collectively we are innovative and creative problem solvers.

 

4. Last but certainly not least, I love the speeches presented by the foremost thinkers on blindness and their absolute commitment to our integration into society. I love their logic, their literacy, and their absolute conviction that we are normal, capable citizens who are willing and able to do our share. This is refreshing when one has come from a place where he feared he might always be the taker and the beneficiary of charity. How wonderful it is to be allowed to give and to know that my presence adds something to this world I am so blessed to occupy.

 

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