Message from President Mark Riccobono
On March 1 we opened registration for our 2022 National Convention. I am getting excited to be going to convention and I am especially excited that we will be able to meet in person in New Orleans at the same time we offer a virtual experience for those who cannot attend an in-person event. The last convention we had in New Orleans was 1997. That was my second convention. And I'm expecting the energy at this convention to be at least as high as that convention, which was our highest attended convention ever. We are going to have a great time in New Orleans.
I urge you all to register sooner rather than later. I look forward to interacting with as many of you as possible and hope you will find time to visit the Presidential Suite. The friendship and fellowship we share during convention is truly special and I find it reinvigorates me each time I meet with all of you.
Our Convention is the supreme authority of the National Federation of the Blind and the annual convention is where our members determine the direction we will take. It is members who brought the issue of inaccessible medical devices to us, and so we are now working on a bill in congress which will require nonvisual access so we can live the healthy lives we want. Please add your voice to this amazing membership and advocacy organization and help decide what our movement will take on next.
Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
What’s So Important About Medical Device Accessibility?
Staying healthy is something we all desire and is necessary to lead independent and productive lives. Sometimes medical equipment helps us maintain our health, and managing that equipment safely, independently, and privately is essential. Unfortunately, many medical devices use digital interfaces which prevent blind people from operating them safely. Some medical devices which used to employ buttons and knobs have moved to touch screens with no auditory or tactile outputs.
One of our members shared her experience with new equipment:
“The leading cause of blindness in the United States is diabetes, but tools like blood glucose meters are less accessible than they were in the past. I need to manage my sugar actively to avoid more damage to my eyes, and that is hard to do without equipment that gives me nonvisual access. We need speech output built into our medical devices.”
The National Federation of the Blind has been working with manufacturers to encourage them to include nonvisual access for some time now, and we have a bill in congress, the Medical Device Nonvisual Access Act (H.R. 4853), which would require nonvisual access be built into home medical devices. The work we do around access to healthcare fosters independence and helps blind people live the lives we want in better health.
To learn more about the Medical Device Nonvisual Access Act visit our Advocacy page.
Latest News at the NFB
Administration Announces New Action to Develop Accessible Covid Testing
Among other initiatives, the Biden administration announced a new effort to develop Covid testing that is accessible to all. The plan is to develop testing that everyone can use at home independently. You can learn more about accessible testing and other recent initiatives by reading “Covid Testing for the Blind Remains a Problem” in the March Braille Monitor.
2022 National Convention Registration is Open
2022 National Federation of the Blind National Convention registration is now open until May 31. Registration is $25 per person. Banquet tickets for Sunday, July 10, are $70 per person. Please review our 2022 National Convention Safety Protocols and the National Federation of the Blind Code of Conduct prior to registering. Details regarding the convention can be found at https://nfb.org/convention.
Also, check out the recent Braille Monitor article, “New Orleans: Site of 2022 Convention” by John Berggren.
2022 Bolotin Award Application Period is Open
The National Federation of the Blind is accepting nominations of individuals or organizations who are a positive force in the lives of blind people and help us transform dreams into reality. Each application must include a letter of recommendation. Learn more and submit a nomination for the 2022 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards.
2022 NFB BELL® Academy: Applications Now Open
The National Federation of the Blind offers in-person and in-home opportunities. Both the in-person programs across the nation and the NFB BELL® Academy In-Home Edition will help prepare blind and low-vision children to grow into confident and independent blind people. Learn more and apply for BELL here.
Breaking a World Record
As part of the National Federation of the Blind’s Blind Driver Challenge, Dan Parker will attempt to set a new world record for the fastest car driven while blindfolded. The twist which Guinness World Records probably never anticipated is that Dan Parker is a blind man wearing the blindfold. Visit our Blind Driver Challenge page for more.
Take Action This Month
Throughout our local chapters and state affiliates to our national headquarters and diverse committees, the National Federation of the Blind is an organization of collective action. Here’s what you can do to get involved this month.
- Read Technology Can't Solve the Problems Ableism Creates by Cricket Xiao Jiu Bidleman to understand why many blind people are not so enthusiastic about all the new technology developed on our behalf.
- The National Convention is the supreme authority of the National Federation of the Blind. Join us in New Orleans Louisiana from July 5-10 or register for our convention virtual experience. Learn more and register for the 2022 National Convention.
- Submit a nomination for a Bolotin Award and apply for NFB BELL® Academy.
We certainly are a busy organization. Don’t miss these upcoming events, workshops, and deadlines.
- March 24-25: Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, Virtual
- March 31: Scholarship Application deadline
- April 4: Presidential Release, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, CC and Spanish translation available
- April 15: Deadline for the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award nominations
- July 5-10: National Convention, New Orleans, LA