2024 Resolutions

The official policies of the National Federation of the Blind are established every year with annual resolutions adopted at the national convention. The below resolutions were passed Sunday, July 7, 2024.

RESOLUTION 2024-01: Regarding the Accessibility of Theme Parks

RESOLUTION 2024-02: Regarding Legislation to Create a National Framework for Fully Autonomous Vehicle Deployment

RESOLUTION 2024-03: Regarding Raising the Supplemental Security Income Resource Limit and Eliminating the Marriage Penalty

RESOLUTION 2024-04: Regarding Amazon Employment Practices

RESOLUTION 2024-05: Regarding Walmart Refusing Shopping Assistance to Blind Customers

RESOLUTION 2024-06: Regarding Silent Electric Vehicles Weighing Over 10,000 Pounds

RESOLUTION 2024-07: Regarding Accessible Labels for Medication Dispensed Through the Department of Veterans Affairs CHAMPVA Program

RESOLUTION 2024-08: Regarding Potential Regulation of the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Visual Interpretation

RESOLUTION 2024-09: Regarding Inaccessible Insulin Pumps

RESOLUTION 2024-10: Regarding the Accessibility of Destination-Oriented and Touch-Screen Panel Controlled Elevators

RESOLUTION 2024-11: Regarding the Adoption of Inclusive Digital Maps by Title IV Higher Education Institutions and Federal Agencies

RESOLUTION 2024-12: Regarding the Accessibility of Social Media Management Tools

RESOLUTION 2024-13: Regarding Microsoft’s Free New Outlook

RESOLUTION 2024-14: Regarding Continuous Glucose Monitors and Their Use by Blind People

RESOLUTION 2024-15: Regarding Collaborating with Technology Companies on an Accessibility Solutions Framework

RESOLUTION 2024-16: Regarding Medicare and Hearing Aids for Deafblind Individuals

RESOLUTION 2024-17: Regarding Audio-Described Library Content

RESOLUTION 2024-18: Regarding the Harmful Namesake of the Perkins School for the Blind

RESOLUTION 2024-19: Regarding Enhancing Self-Checkout Accessibility for Blind People

RESOLUTION 2024-20: Regarding Inaccessible Retail Kiosks

RESOLUTION 2024-21: Regarding Calling Upon the News Media to Use the Word “Blind”

RESOLUTION 2024-22 - Regarding the use of the term "visually impaired" when referring to blind people with some vision

RESOLUTION 2024-01: Regarding the Accessibility of Theme Parks

WHEREAS, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that theme parks be accessible to individuals with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the ADA; and

WHEREAS, large theme parks such as Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Studios claim to provide accessible theme park experiences, but these experiences are insufficient and often ineffective to provide blind and low-vision guests with equal access to the parks’ attractions, experiences, and information; and

WHEREAS, Walt Disney World and Disneyland both post tactile maps of their theme parks, but these maps are large and stationary, meaning blind and low-vision guests do not have accessible map information while moving about the park; and

WHEREAS, both Walt Disney World and Disneyland offer to blind guests a reasonable accommodation of a physical book containing park information concerning rides, attractions, shows, and food venues in large print or Braille, but this book is heavy, cumbersome, and potentially inconvenient to carry around the park and store while riding attractions; and

WHEREAS, neither Walt Disney World nor Disneyland offers an electronic version of this information, meaning those who use a reading media other than Braille or large print have no meaningful access to the information contained in this book; and

WHEREAS, Walt Disney World and Disneyland both offer an audio description service using a Disney-provided handheld device available for rent, which includes information such as general area descriptions, queue and pre-attraction descriptions, real-time attraction audio description, nearby restrooms and restaurants, and service animal relief areas; and

WHEREAS, the handheld device uses beacons Disney has installed to trigger the description service, which is supposed to update as a guest navigates the park; and 

WHEREAS, users report that some of the issues they’ve experienced with Disney’s handheld devices include outdated hardware, short battery life requiring guests to return to guest services to replace their devices, frequently failing to connect to location beacons, attraction descriptions that are not properly synchronized with the attraction experience, descriptions for attractions that have been discontinued for many years, and general unreliability; and

WHEREAS, Walt Disney World and Disneyland both offer mobile applications that enable guests to perform tasks such as scheduling visits, scheduling rides using the Disability Access Service (DAS) and GeniePlus, joining attraction virtual queues, checking wait times for attractions, pre-ordering food, getting walking directions to attractions and activities, and more; and

WHEREAS, most of these features and tasks are not accessible to those using the mobile applications with assistive technology; and

WHEREAS, Disney’s DAS program, with certain limitations, offers guests with disabilities and their traveling parties the ability to schedule ride times without having to wait in the stand-by queue; and

WHEREAS, Disney recently changed its DAS program to grant access only to those with developmental disabilities; and

WHEREAS, many blind Disney guests also have other disabilities which would make standing in a queue difficult or impossible, such as heart conditions, cancer, being immunocompromised, anxiety, and mobility disabilities; and

WHEREAS, Disney has denied the DAS applications for guests with intersectional disabilities including blindness, telling them they can use scooters, wheelchairs, and companions they bring as alternative accommodations; and

WHEREAS, these guests have communicated that such alternative accommodations are ineffective because many blind guests cannot drive scooters, cannot push themselves in a wheelchair, or cannot provide a companion to push them, but Disney still denied their reasonable accommodation requests; and

WHEREAS, Disney’s new DAS approach ignores those with intersectional disabilities related to mental health and immunity; and

WHEREAS, Disney’s one-size-fits-all approach to disability accommodations fails to ensure that blind guests with intersectional disabilities have equal access as do non-disabled guests to their theme parks; and

WHEREAS, the Universal Studios mobile application also has significant accessibility challenges for those accessing the app with assistive technology; and

WHEREAS, Universal Studios does not offer an audio description service at all, and instead only offers access to attraction scripts in large print and Braille but not electronic formats; and

WHEREAS, these scripts are only accessible at Guest Services, meaning guests cannot remove the scripts from that location or read the scripts while experiencing the attraction; and

WHEREAS, though Universal Studios’ attraction scheduling service application process for individuals with disabilities, including those who are blind with intersectional disabilities, is individualized and consistent with ADA disability definitions, the Universal Studios disability scheduling service uses a paper ride scheduling pass that is not accessible to the blind or others with print disabilities; and

WHEREAS, blind guests, including those with intersectional disabilities, have a desire and a right to experience theme parks and their attractions and to be effectively accommodated when visiting: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that we call upon Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Studios to establish tactile maps that blind guests can take with them as they move about the parks; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge Walt Disney World and Disneyland to make available their park information books in an accessible, electronic format and permit guests with disabilities including blindness to access them on their personal devices; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge Universal Studios to make available to its guests with disabilities including blindness Universal Studios’ attraction scripts in an accessible, electronic format and permit guests to access these scripts on their own devices; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge Walt Disney World and Disneyland to update, modernize, and maintain their audio description services program and devices and strongly urge Universal Studios to implement an audio description service for its parks; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Studios to make their mobile applications fully accessible to guests with disabilities and that they consult with the National Federation of the Blind to ensure these apps are accessible and usable by the blind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we condemn and deplore the decision of the Disney Corporation to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to reasonable accommodations for its guests, including those who are blind with intersectional disabilities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we demand that the Disney Corporation revise this discriminatory policy to make its DAS program comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, affording an individualized assessment for guests with disabilities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge the Department of Justice and any applicable state entities with jurisdiction to immediately enforce the ADA with regard to theme park accessibility at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Studios.

RESOLUTION 2024-02: Regarding Legislation to Create a National Framework for Fully Autonomous Vehicle Deployment

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind advocates for equality, security, and opportunity for blind Americans in order for us to live the lives we want; and

WHEREAS, the right to freely move and travel is a cornerstone of our society, enriching life and fostering economic opportunity; and

WHEREAS, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) outlines six levels of driving automation starting with Level 0, which is limited to warnings and momentary assistance such as a lane departure warning or automatic emergency braking system, and ending with Level 5, which is fully autonomous driving under all conditions with no geographical limitations; and

WHEREAS, the advent of Level 4 autonomous vehicles, which are fully autonomous but restricted to operation only within specific geographical boundaries, presents a unique opportunity to revolutionize automotive travel, increasing transportation opportunities for the blind to the extent that blind people can now travel alone, in a fully autonomous automobile throughout several cities across the United States including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Phoenix; and

WHEREAS, twenty-four states have passed legislation expressly permitting autonomous vehicles to operate within their borders; and 

WHEREAS, many bills that would limit the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles, and even specifically require a licensed driver in every fully autonomous vehicle have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, essentially stripping away a dream that is now a reality: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that we call upon members of Congress to work with the National Federation of the Blind to pass legislation that would create a national framework for autonomous vehicles that ensures equal access to transportation for blind and low-vision people, addresses potential access barriers to the use of autonomous vehicles by blind and disabled people, and promotes the inclusion of blind people in the testing and continued development phases of autonomous vehicle technology. 

RESOLUTION 2024-03: Regarding Raising the Supplemental Security Income Resource Limit and Eliminating the Marriage Penalty

WHEREAS, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides monthly benefit payments to individuals and couples who qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) due to blindness, disability, or old age; and 

WHEREAS, in order to be eligible for benefits, a beneficiary who is single must possess resources valued at less than $2,000, or less than $3,000 if the beneficiary is part of a married couple; and

WHEREAS, the resource limit, established in 1972, has only been adjusted once, in 1989, and is not indexed to changes in the cost of living; and

WHEREAS, when the monthly SSI benefit was first established it comprised approximately one tenth of the resource limit, but since the resource limit has increased so little in fifty years, the current monthly benefit is nearly half of the resource limit; and

WHEREAS, this year, the monthly SSI benefit amount for a single individual is 943 dollars and the monthly benefit amount for married couples is 1,415 dollars; and  

WHEREAS, two individual SSI benefit recipients living as unmarried partners currently receive over 450 dollars more in monthly combined benefits than if those same two individuals were to get married, resulting in a marriage penalty; and 

WHEREAS, this same marriage penalty also exists in the SSI resource limits for two individual SSI benefit recipients living as unmarried partners versus a married couple: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that we call upon Congress to enact legislation that abolishes the marriage penalty associated with SSI monthly benefits and SSI resource limits; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon Congress to increase the SSI resource limits to 10,000 dollars for single individuals and 20,000 dollars for married couples; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon Congress to tie the resource limits to the consumer price index to ensure that resource limits maintain proportional value with inflation. 

RESOLUTION 2024-04: Regarding Amazon Employment Practices

WHEREAS, Amazon promotes itself as building an inclusive culture for employees with disabilities, in part, through the establishment of its Global Accessibility Awareness Month and Amazon People with Disabilities affinity group; and

WHEREAS, Amazon still does not have company-wide standard operating procedures in place on a national and global level with regard to accommodations, accessibility, and assistive technology; and

WHEREAS, company-wide training for leadership, management, human resources, technical support associates, and employees is minimal or not present; and

WHEREAS, while employment with Amazon is highly desirable, in that Amazon offers industry-leading benefits, including comprehensive healthcare, retirement savings plans, tuition reimbursement, and more; and

WHEREAS, Amazon still maintains a practice of refusing to accommodate blind employees in entry level positions; and 

WHEREAS, Amazon has established a continuous pattern of shifting these blind employees to leave-without-pay status or terminating them, rather than providing necessary accommodations or placing them in a temporary position that is currently accessible while accommodations are put in place for other jobs originally applied for or providing an option for temporary or permanent placement in an accessible position, such as Virtual Customer Service Associate; and

WHEREAS, Amazon could provide these accommodations, modifications, and safety features without significant difficulty or expense given Amazon’s financial and technological resources; and

WHEREAS, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to qualified individuals with disabilities when that denial is based on the need to provide reasonable accommodations and requires employers to engage in an interactive process when reviewing accommodation requests; and

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has advocated strongly on behalf of blind employees by filing suit and supporting administrative complaints against Amazon for its continued disparate treatment of blind workers and job applicants: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization condemn and deplore Amazon’s constant pattern of discrimination against blind employees and job seekers in violation of federal and state law; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand Amazon promptly implement and keep company-wide processes for reviewing and approving reasonable accommodations and modifications for blind employees, including the use of third-party screen access software at workstations, approval of reasonable assignment modifications, and implementation of nonvisual safety precautions in warehouse settings; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand Amazon immediately cease placing blind employees on leave without pay while Amazon engages in a reasonable accommodation review process; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Amazon and the National Federation of the Blind regularly participate in joint discussions to improve accessibility, accommodations, training, timely acquisition of assistive technology, and company-wide policies regarding the previously mentioned issues.

RESOLUTION 2024-05: Regarding Walmart Refusing Shopping Assistance to Blind Customers

WHEREAS, each week, an estimated 255 million people visit Walmart stores worldwide, resulting in more than 648 billion dollars in total revenue in its most recent fiscal year; and

WHEREAS, as a result, Walmart is the largest retail establishment both in the United States and abroad; and

WHEREAS, in 2024, the average Walmart location employs approximately two hundred people and comprises more than 160 thousand square feet; and

WHEREAS, according to the 2022 American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau there are approximately 8.2 million Americans who are blind or low-vision; and

WHEREAS, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires places of public accommodation to make their goods and services accessible to disabled Americans unless doing so would constitute either an undue burden or a fundamental alteration; and

WHEREAS, for decades, blind Americans have accessed the goods and services at brick-and-mortar locations by requesting a guide from the staff; and

WHEREAS, a growing number of Walmart stores have begun refusing assistance to blind Americans, in some cases going so far as to tell blind people not to return to their stores unless they bring a sighted shopping assistant of their own; and

WHEREAS, this is a clear violation of our civil rights and is harming blind Americans' right to live with equity, autonomy, and independence: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization demand the Walmart corporation, and all similarly situated corporations, immediately cease refusing shopping assistance to blind Americans in accordance with our rights under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand the Walmart corporation, and all similarly situated corporations, adequately train their staff as to their obligations under the law.

RESOLUTION 2024-06: Regarding Silent Electric Vehicles Weighing Over 10,000 Pounds

WHEREAS, in the early years of the twenty-first century, blind Americans noticed a new danger posed by silent hybrid and electric vehicles that were nearly undetectable to the ear on the roads; and

WHEREAS, because of this emerging threat, the National Federation of the Blind worked with the automakers and the United States Congress to develop a solution to which all stakeholders could agree; and

WHEREAS, that solution came in the form of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2011, and required hybrid and electric vehicles on American roads to emit a safe level of sound; and 

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Transportation limited the scope of the final rule, published in 2016, to vehicles that weigh ten thousand pounds or less because it did not “have enough information at this time to apply the minimum acoustic requirements of this final rule to these vehicles”; and

WHEREAS, in 2023, there were more than 1,200 electric school buses and more than 6,000 electric public transportation buses on US roads; and

WHEREAS, these electric buses all weigh more than 10,000 pounds, meaning the regulation does not require them to emit an alert sound; and

WHEREAS, these motorized behemoths are silently roaming our streets, putting blind Americans in just as much danger as the quiet cars that were the impetus for the original Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act more than a decade ago: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization urge the United States Department of Transportation to update its rules so that all electric vehicles, regardless of weight, are required to emit a safe level of sound. 

RESOLUTION 2024-07: Regarding Accessible Labels for Medication Dispensed Through the Department of Veterans Affairs CHAMPVA Program

WHEREAS, the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) provides healthcare benefits to spouses, children, widows, and widowers of a veteran who is rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, was rated as permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability at the time of death, died of a service-related disability, or died on active duty and the dependents are not otherwise eligible for Department of Defense TRICARE benefits; and

WHEREAS, as a part of the healthcare services provided through CHAMPVA, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers the Meds by Mail program; and

WHEREAS, through this program, the VA’s Consolidated Mail and Outpatient Pharmacies fill and mail prescriptions to beneficiaries at no cost to them; and

WHEREAS, however, this option is not available to blind beneficiaries who must rely on audible prescription reading devices, such as ScripTalk, to manage their medications safely and independently; and

WHEREAS, audible prescription labels are not merely a convenience for blind patients, they are used to identify medications, provide dosage information, and include warnings and other important information; and 

WHEREAS, these accessibility features ensure that the blind patient can take the right medication at the right time and lessen the possibility of errors that might cause injury or death; and

WHEREAS, according to the VA, the Consolidated Mail and Outpatient Pharmacies cannot currently support the use of audible prescription reading devices through the Meds by Mail program due to the complexity of audio label technology and the requirement that specific Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) labels be applied to each prescription bottle; and

WHEREAS, the alternative offered by CHAMPVA involves acquiring the blind user’s prescriptions from a retail pharmacy, which forces them to incur a 25 percent copay until they meet a 3,000 dollar deductible, a cost not incurred by sighted beneficiaries who can receive their prescriptions through the Meds by Mail program; and

WHEREAS, Paragraph (a)(1) of 38 C.F.R. 17.274 addresses cost-sharing exceptions within the CHAMPVA program but does not include an exception for blind beneficiaries who must get their prescriptions filled at a retail pharmacy because they need to use an audible prescription reading device; and
WHEREAS, since there is currently no way for a blind beneficiary to use the free Meds by Mail option if they need to access information about their medication using an audible label, amending the regulations would be a reasonable accommodation for those beneficiaries; and

WHEREAS, amending the regulation is only part of the solution since using a retail pharmacy can also present a transportation barrier that the Meds by Mail program eliminates for blind program participants, making a permanent solution to inclusion in the Meds by Mail program a critical necessity to accessibility for the blind: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a means by which blind CHAMPVA beneficiaries who must use an audible prescription reading device can receive their medications using the Meds by Mail program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge the Department of Veterans affairs to amend 38 C.F.R. 17.274 (a)(1) to include an exception to cost sharing for blind beneficiaries who choose to use the option of obtaining medications from a retail pharmacy in order to have access to the important information provided by an audible prescription reading device. 

RESOLUTION 2024-08: Regarding Potential Regulation of the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Visual Interpretation

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind is committed to advancing the lives of all blind people by ensuring that we have access to the same opportunities, information, and technology as our sighted peers; and

WHEREAS, because most people can see and the world is full of information that is presented visually, equal access for the blind necessarily involves equal access to visual information in printed documents, scanned and photographic images, and our physical surroundings, and;
 
WHEREAS, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, particularly large language models such as ChatGPT, are increasingly being used by blind people and by visual interpretation services, such as Be My AI from Be My Eyes and Access AI from Aira, in order to generate detailed descriptions of images and scenes captured with smartphone cameras or imported from other sources, providing blind people with almost instantaneous access to a wealth of visual information; and

WHEREAS, these AI implementations have proven to be enormously helpful to blind people in any number of situations, including but not limited to exploring unfamiliar locations, identifying items on store shelves, analyzing printed documents, describing vacation photos, and much more; and

WHEREAS, overly restrictive practices and regulations on AI used in this manner, particularly limitations on the description of human faces and other important visual details involving people and places, could significantly hamper the effectiveness of these technologies and diminish their value to the blind community: for example, one iteration of Be My AI would not describe an image at all if it contained any identifiable characteristic of any human being, including the person taking the image, making it useless until the problem was fixed; and

WHEREAS, while such severe limitations can be problematic, it is also essential to balance the benefits of AI technologies with the need to protect the privacy of individuals captured in images, ensuring that identifiable information about them is properly protected from harmful storage, dissemination, and use; and

WHEREAS, other details captured in images may also present challenges, such as images of artwork that is the intellectual property of its creator or images of copyrighted text; and

WHEREAS, the rapid advances in AI technology in just the past couple of years have both excited and alarmed the public, and consequently legislative bodies and regulatory agencies are already considering laws and regulations around the deployment and use of these technologies; and

WHEREAS, the development of AI regulations must consider both the accessibility needs of blind individuals and other rights such as privacy and intellectual property rights; and

WHEREAS, without the voices of blind people providing our expertise and lived experience, the wrong regulatory balance may be struck in addressing the role of AI technology as applied to our needs: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization urge Congress and relevant federal agencies to work closely with blind Americans to develop AI legislation and regulations that:
1. Allow AI technologies to continue to be used to provide detailed and meaningful descriptions of scenes, documents, and images to blind and low-vision individuals without undue restrictions, ensuring these technologies remain effective and beneficial to the blind; and
2. Implement sensible protections that prevent images taken, imported, or otherwise collected for the purpose of providing visual descriptions to the blind from being stored, disseminated, or otherwise misused in ways that violate the rights of others.  

RESOLUTION 2024-09: Regarding Inaccessible Insulin Pumps

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind is dedicated to advancing the lives of all blind people by ensuring equal and dignified treatment in all aspects of life, including healthcare; and

WHEREAS, access to healthcare technology is crucial for the health and well-being of individuals with diabetes, including those who are blind or have low vision; and

WHEREAS, nearly all insulin pumps and related devices currently on the market lack accessible nonvisual features, rendering them difficult or impossible for blind individuals to independently use and manage their diabetes effectively; and

WHEREAS, inaccessible insulin pumps not only pose significant barriers to daily diabetes management tasks but also contribute to increased health risks, diminished quality of life, and decreased independence for blind individuals; and

WHEREAS, accessible technology is essential for ensuring that blind individuals have equal opportunities to monitor and manage their health independently, including diabetes management; and 

WHEREAS, a 2023 study published by the National Institutes of Health shows that diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-aged adults in the United States; and 

WHEREAS, despite the growing prevalence of diabetes among the blind population, insulin pump manufacturers have yet to fully address the accessibility needs of blind users in their product designs and development efforts: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization demand insulin pump manufacturers and developers, including Medtronic, Tandem Diabetes Care, Insulet Corporation, Beta Bionics, and other industry leaders prioritize accessibility in the design and development of all insulin pumps and related devices; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon insulin pump manufacturers and developers actively to engage with the accessibility experts of the National Federation of the Blind throughout the design, development, and testing phases to ensure that insulin pumps are fully accessible to blind and low-vision users. 

RESOLUTION 2024-10: Regarding the Accessibility of Destination-Oriented and Touch-Screen Panel Controlled Elevators

WHEREAS, destination-oriented elevators, also known as “smart elevators” or “dispatch elevators” are elevators that typically do not contain destination or floor number buttons inside the elevator car; and

WHEREAS, passengers indicate their destination floors using a common keypad that controls all elevators in the area; and

WHEREAS, the technology running such elevator programs assigns the specific elevator that the passenger should take to reach the passenger’s desired floor or destination; and

WHEREAS, the elevator car that is assigned to transport the passenger is programmed for the specific destination in advance of the passenger boarding the elevator car, the goal of which is to move passengers more efficiently to their destinations by reducing the number of times an elevator stops per trip; and

WHEREAS, while some smart elevator control panels operate based on floor numbers, others operate based on a directory containing specific offices or individuals rather than floors, meaning an individual seeking to visit a doctor for example would have to navigate the elevator directory to find the doctor’s name or practice rather than selecting the floor of the doctor; and

WHEREAS, many of the directory-based destination-oriented elevators are not accessible to the blind at all, with many of those claiming to be accessible requiring significantly more time and effort for a blind user to choose a destination or floor than a sighted user, rendering such elevators functionally inaccessible; and

WHEREAS, destination-oriented elevators are a fairly new form of technology, gaining popularity in the last decade, particularly in hotels and recreation facilities, high-rise commercial and residential buildings, cruise ships, and government and office buildings; and

WHEREAS, the number of destination-oriented elevators is expected to significantly rise, with a current market value of approximately 22.4 billion dollars, which is predicted to reach 50.3 billion dollars by 2032, the majority of which is in the United States; and
 
WHEREAS, the accessibility features of destination-oriented elevators are often inadequate to be functionally usable for the blind, including such issues as audio announcements that are garbled, tinny, or otherwise hard to hear, audio announcements and non-visual chimes that cannot be heard during peak or busy periods, Braille and tactile markings that are missing or not accurate, and/or keypad controls that are not tactilely discernible; and 

WHEREAS, there has also been an increase in the installation of traditional on-demand destination elevators that contain touch-screen destination and floor buttons that are not tactilely discernible; and

WHEREAS, though many of these elevators have an accessibility button, which when activated, enables the passenger to listen to a menu of options, usually hierarchical with multiple levels in the hierarchy, and press the accessibility button once the preferred selection is spoken; and

WHEREAS, the passenger must wait for the entire menu of options to be spoken up to the desired floor before the passenger can make a floor selection, for example having to listen to the audio announcement list floors one through thirty individually as well as the five to thirty seconds of silence in between each floor number, before being able to select floor thirty; and

WHEREAS, this results in the blind passenger spending considerable time, often at least several minutes, waiting for the elevator to cycle through the audio prompts, while a sighted passenger can make their selection in moments; and

WHEREAS, the single accessibility button method for on-demand destination elevators with touch screen controls may be technically accessible, but it is functionally inaccessible, inefficient, and demoralizing for blind passengers; and

WHEREAS, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that elevators be accessible to passengers with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the ADA, including violations to elevator accessibility requirements; and

WHEREAS, the United States Access Board is charged with providing accessibility guidelines and standards for certain physical spaces and the built environment including elevators; and

WHEREAS, blind people have the right to move about our communities, hotels, and recreation facilities, and the commercial environment using elevators that are both technically and functionally accessible: Now, therefore, 
 
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that we demand elevator manufacturers design destination-oriented and traditional destination on-demand elevators that are both technically and functionally accessible; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge elevator manufacturers to work with the National Federation of the Blind to ensure that design and development of both destination-oriented and on-demand destination elevators is functionally accessible and efficient for blind and low-vision users; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge the Department of Justice to immediately enforce the ADA with regard to technical and functional accessibility of destination-oriented and on-demand destination touchscreen-controlled elevators, including correction and remediation of functionally inaccessible elevators; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call on the United States Access Board to swiftly promulgate standards for technical and functional accessibility of both destination-oriented elevators and on-demand destination elevators including those with touch screen controls. 

RESOLUTION 2024-11: Regarding the Adoption of Inclusive Digital Maps by Title IV Higher Education Institutions and Federal Agencies

WHEREAS, over thirty million digital maps are currently available on publicly facing websites worldwide for professional and personal use; and

WHEREAS, blind, deafblind, and low-vision individuals have extremely limited access to the vital geographic information presented in digital maps; and

WHEREAS, alternatives such as text descriptions, turn-by-turn directions, tables, and nearby address searches fail to convey the same geographic information inherent to maps; and

WHEREAS, digital maps often have poor contrast, lack full keyboard accessibility, lack a visible focus, lack interface elements that can be programmatically determined or set, contain keyboard focus traps, have buttons and other interactive elements that are too small, and fail to handle zoom up to 200 percent; and

WHEREAS, the paper tactile maps that may be provided as the only alternative to a digital map are not part of the website, require physical contact to view, are simplified, are typically inaccessible to low-vision users, take days or weeks to be produced, and are often out of date; and

WHEREAS, visual interpreting services and chat-based alternatives can only provide answers to basic questions about the map, do not facilitate spatial knowledge acquisition, are not available to everyone desiring to view the map, are not part of the website’s accessibility, and are not a substitute for compliance to digital accessibility legislation; and

WHEREAS, inclusive digital maps, effectively utilized in over a hundred published research articles and nearly a thousand games over the past two decades, have shown that blind individuals can both independently create maps and attain a level of spatial comprehension equivalent to that of sighted individuals using visual maps, encompassing the ability to accurately grasp survey knowledge, including distance, direction, orientation, shape, size, and the overall layout of a map; and

WHEREAS, inclusive digital maps are fully Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) AA compliant, and allow low-vision users to fully manipulate the interface, including, but not limited to, adjusting contrast, using patterns instead of colors, adjusting feature border width, adjusting spacing, using the map as it’s zoomed in 200 percent, using the map with the keyboard, and having a clear visible focus; and

WHEREAS, Title IV higher education institutions and federal agencies in the United States currently use digital maps that are not accessible to screen reader users and fail to meet even the basic WCAG A compliance; and

WHEREAS, these current practices by Title IV higher education institutions and federal agencies are in violation of multiple digital accessibility laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (as Title IV educational institutions), Section 508 (through being a federal agency), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (as state or local entities); and

WHEREAS, blind, deafblind, and low-vision users have the right not only to fully consume spatial information from digital maps, but have the right to be creators, designers, and editors of digital maps: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon Title IV higher education institutions and federal agencies in the United States to, over the next three years, simultaneously with the new ADA title II rule, implement inclusive digital map technologies that are at least WCAG AA compliant for all geographic content on their websites and mobile applications, including but not limited to campus maps, accessibility maps, parking maps, habitat maps, walking maps, evacuation maps, building maps, topographic maps, road maps, weather maps, voting maps, emergency maps, climate maps, land use maps, cadastral maps, transportation maps, and utility maps; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand that these Title IV higher education institutions and federal agencies also implement an inclusive digital map editor for use by blind, deafblind, and low-vision employees and students, ensuring full participation in updating and creating geographic information; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to publish guidance affirming that digital maps are included in their accessibility mandate; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the United States Access Board to publish systematic criteria for evaluating digital inclusive map accessibility, thereby ensuring that all Title IV universities and federal agencies comply with existing laws to make all content, including digital maps, equally accessible to everyone; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon all the Title IV higher education institutions and federal agencies to work with the National Federation of the Blind to implement and evaluate systems which will meet the map-reading and creation needs of the blind and low-vision citizens of the United States.

RESOLUTION 2024-12: Regarding the Accessibility of Social Media Management Tools

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind champions accessibility as a means of achieving full participation by the blind in all areas of academics, employment, and recreation; and

WHEREAS, social media marketing is an industry in which blind people can excel given accessible technology and other accommodations; and

WHEREAS, social media management tools including Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Sprout Social, Zoho Social, and others are an industry standard, allowing professionals to centralize and analyze social media marketing efforts; and

WHEREAS, the vast majority of these managers have web and app interfaces that present accessibility issues, preventing blind people from using them effectively, if at all: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization urge social media management products—including but not limited to Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Sprout Social, and Zoho Social—to incorporate blind people’s user experiences and expertise when evaluating the accessibility and usability of their products through collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind and others; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand that all social media management product developers remediate their products for accessibility, thus making the social media marketing industry more inclusive for all blind people. 

RESOLUTION 2024-13: Regarding Microsoft’s Free New Outlook

WHEREAS, Microsoft is a company which has, historically, invested a tremendous amount of time and effort to make many of its products accessible to the blind and, by so doing, enabled literally thousands of blind people to succeed in life and employment; and

WHEREAS, examples of accessible programs from Microsoft include, but are not limited to, Microsoft Word (for creating and editing documents), Microsoft Excel (to create and manage spreadsheets), and Microsoft Outlook (to send and receive emails and organize calendar events); and

WHEREAS, the aforementioned software—particularly those versions running under the Windows operating system—provide a plethora of useful keyboard commands which enhance the productivity for nonvisual users who cannot point and click with a mouse and whose livelihoods, productivity, and independence are directly related to their ability to perform work effectively and efficiently; and

WHEREAS, information available online about keyboard commands for the New Outlook clearly demonstrates that the New Outlook does not contain all of the built-in keyboard commands that nonvisual users of the paid version of Outlook have available to them: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon Microsoft to ensure that its free New Outlook software contains a set of keyboard commands that are as rich, robust, and as useful to the blind as the keyboard commands available in its Outlook Office software; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon Microsoft to ensure that new products have the same level of accessibility as products they are replacing. 

RESOLUTION 2024-14: Regarding Continuous Glucose Monitors and Their Use by Blind People

WHEREAS, Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) are crucial for the effective management of diabetes, significantly reducing the need for fingerstick blood tests, which are particularly invasive for blind people who rely on their tactile sense for reading Braille and performing other tasks; and

WHEREAS, the majority of CGMs come with reader devices that are not accessible to blind people, because these devices provide output solely in a visual format, thereby excluding blind people from independently monitoring their blood glucose levels; and

WHEREAS, Medicare mandates the purchase of a reader device before approving sensor coverage, placing a financial burden on blind people who cannot use these readers, forcing them to seek alternatives and often less accessible means to access their CGM data; and

WHEREAS, Medicare's policy of allowing the replacement or upgrade of CGM devices only once every five years limits access to technological advancements that could offer significant health management improvements for people with diabetes, particularly affecting those who are blind; and

WHEREAS, the reliance on smartphone technology for accessing CGM data, while beneficial for some, excludes those who cannot afford such technology or lack the skills to use it, further limiting the independence of blind people in managing their diabetes; and

WHEREAS, the resolution of these issues requires the attention and action of several entities, including CGM manufacturers, Medicare, private insurance companies, and regulatory bodies: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind, in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that we urge manufacturers of CGM devices to prioritize the development of reader devices accessible to blind and low-vision people, ensuring these essential health management tools are usable by all who need them; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind calls upon Medicare to reevaluate its policies regarding the upgrade and replacement of medical devices such as CGMs, to ensure that technological advancements are accessible to beneficiaries, particularly those who are blind, based on functional improvements rather than arbitrary time constraints; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon relevant authorities, including Medicare, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to enact policy changes that reflect the needs of blind people. 

RESOLUTION 2024-15: Regarding Collaborating with Technology Companies on an Accessibility Solutions Framework

WHEREAS, in an age where technology plays a critical role in all aspects of society, the National Federation of the Blind has been relentless in its advocacy for accessible technology as one means to advance the lives of all blind people, the effectiveness of this advocacy being evident through a reflection on how much more information to which we have dynamic access today as opposed to forty years ago; and 

WHEREAS, accolades mainstream companies receive for their accessibility initiatives are well deserved, as the blind have immediate access to computers, smartphones, and other life-changing tools in the palms of our hands for a fraction of what they used to cost; and

WHEREAS, achieving the degree of accessibility we enjoy today required the use of a range of advocacy tools, including building strong relationships, being thought leaders, and, when absolutely necessary, legislative and legal action; and 

WHEREAS, while impressive innovation continues at pace, the provision of accessibility by mainstream companies has created new advocacy challenges involving the quality and reliability of some of the tools we use, resulting from a poorer standard of products for the blind consisting of show-stopping bugs that significantly degrade our ability to use some mainstream devices and would be unacceptable to the sighted, including: 

  • If your screen reader suddenly and regularly stops speaking, which would be the equivalent of a sighted person’s screen flickering and then completely blanking out at random intervals; 
  • If you are typing on your smartphone using Braille Screen Input and you are regularly experiencing unexpected behavior that slows you down or results in you typing gibberish, which would be the equivalent of the virtual keyboard being next to useless for a sighted person;
  • If you are blind and wear hearing aids, and your screen reader is quiet to the point of being unusable when on a phone call, which would be the equivalent of a sighted person having their screen so dim every time they make a call that they can’t see it well enough to use it;
  • If you, in good faith, install the beta of an operating system and then find that your screen reader doesn’t work at all on it, which would be equivalent to a sighted person installing a beta, understanding that there may be defects, but finding with horror that their screen was blank, making their device completely useless; 
  • If you scrimp and save to buy a popular Braille display, only to find you can’t connect your smartphone to it via Bluetooth because a protocol about which there was an industry-wide consensus, and that the company promised to support, hasn’t been implemented, which would be the equivalent of a sighted person buying one of the leading printers on the market today, only to find that the operating system developer hasn’t kept their promise to support it; and

WHEREAS, a poorer standard of product for the blind is not merely a legal issue; it is a moral and financial one, because if competent blind people are unable to perform their jobs due to serious accessibility defects in a mainstream product that are not fixed in a timely manner, this perpetuates the myth of incapacity of the blind and threatens our ability to support ourselves and our families; and

WHEREAS, when the blind, just like the sighted, purchase a product, we have a reasonable expectation that the product is fit for purpose, we integrate the technology into our lives, we come to rely on it, and there should not be such egregious accessibility defects that a blind person is left unable to benefit from the tools readily accessible to the sighted; and 

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind recognizes that our active engagement in addressing this problem is essential, but requires information and collaboration to be effective: Now, therefore,  

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that we call on any and all technology companies that have built accessibility features into their products to consult with the National Federation of the Blind in the development, implementation, and publishing of a framework that provides a clear definition of the type of accessibility bug that is so critical that it requires extraordinary remedial action beyond the usual software release cycle; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that with this framework in place, these technology companies should collaborate with the National Federation of the Blind to resolve the under-resourcing that is contributing to this situation, which should include employing the talent of more blind employees throughout the product development and testing cycle; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that each technology company should establish a public database of its accessibility defects, which allows users to identify which bugs have already been submitted and what priority they have been accorded; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that technology companies making these commitments use Global Accessibility Awareness Day as an opportunity to provide a transparent, independently audited report that demonstrates their progress as measured against the framework that has been established for their products.

RESOLUTION 2024-16: Regarding Medicare and Hearing Aids for Deafblind Individuals

WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind is the transformative membership and advocacy organization of blind people in the United States; and 

WHEREAS, according to the 2022 American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau, nearly 65 percent of blind people are either unemployed or underemployed; and

WHEREAS, blind people rely heavily on hearing to obtain information needed for communication, accessing information, orientation and travel, and participation in society and the workplace; and

WHEREAS, the loss of hearing as a blind person renders them as deafblind and significantly affects their access to information, particularly for those who lose hearing in later life; and

WHEREAS, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain hearing aids through Medicare, even though they are almost always of benefit to deafblind individuals; and 

WHEREAS, research links unaddressed hearing loss with dementia which leads to expensive healthcare needs that far exceed the cost of hearing aids: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to establish a uniform exception clause to allow Medicare to provide hearing aids, as prescribed by an audiologist, to deafblind individuals who are eligible for Medicare.  

RESOLUTION 2024-17: Regarding Audio-Described Library Content

WHEREAS, the Institute of Museum and Library Services estimates that two-thirds of all Americans have library cards; and 
 
WHEREAS, many blind individuals avoid registering for or using their library cards because they believe books and video content will not be accessible to them; and 
 
WHEREAS, an increasing number of public library systems contract with Hoopla and other third-party providers of streaming or downloadable library content that do not pass through audio description or other accessible content information; and 

WHEREAS, Hoopla has thus far chosen to build its streaming software incompletely, so the audio description content originally included with the video content isn’t passed on to blind users, ironically shutting blind patrons out from content that has already been made accessible; and 
 
WHEREAS, blind library patrons and allied librarians have been asking Hoopla to add an option for consuming audio description content for nearly eight years; and 
 
WHEREAS, Hoopla has not rolled out this feature and has no estimated timetable on its development roadmap; and 
 
WHEREAS, this is out of compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and many related state laws, which all generally stand for the concept that blind patrons cannot be excluded from programs and services of government, including public library systems: Now, therefore,
 
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon the American Library Association (ALA) and related state libraries to halt future contracts with Hoopla or other vendors whose software does not permit inclusion of all accessibility features already present in streamed and downloaded content; and 
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand that Hoopla immediately enable audio description in its streaming systems in response to the requests of blind patrons and concerned libraries.

RESOLUTION 2024-18: Regarding the Harmful Namesake of the Perkins School for the Blind

WHEREAS, the New England Asylum for the Blind was incorporated in 1829 and opened its doors in August 1832 in Boston, Massachusetts; and

WHEREAS, in 1839, the Asylum was renamed after Thomas Handasyd Perkins after he donated to it, and, after further name changes, that entity is known today as the Perkins School for the Blind; and

WHEREAS, the Perkins School for the Blind, as a collective institution including its library and products, remains an important provider of blindness-related services today; and

WHEREAS, born in 1764, T. H. Perkins used money from his wealthy family to start an international trading business, where he traded slaves and the goods produced by their labor, including cotton, sugar, and rum in the Caribbean until the Haitian Revolution in 1791; and

WHEREAS, T. H. Perkins later expanded his fortune by illegally smuggling opium into China; and

WHEREAS, pairing valuable products, services, and educational experiences with the name of a known opium smuggler and slave trader teaches students and community members of all backgrounds that these immoral acts are not disqualifiers for being publicly honored; and

WHEREAS, continuing to honor a known slave trader and opium smuggler perpetuates intergenerational trauma for people of all colors; and

WHEREAS, on its website, the Perkins School for the Blind acknowledges that it has financially benefitted from both the slave trade and opium smuggling, and acknowledges the problems caused by this, particularly to those in Black and Chinese communities: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization assert that the enslavement of human beings and illegal smuggling of opium are unequivocally immoral; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization applaud the Perkins School for the Blind for courageously acknowledging how it has benefited from these historical wrongs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the Perkins School for the Blind to advance its efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion by changing its name to remove all references to Thomas Handasyd Perkins. 

RESOLUTION 2024-19: Regarding Enhancing Self-Checkout Accessibility for Blind People

WHEREAS, self-checkout systems are proliferating across major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Kroger, offering speed and convenience to shoppers; and

WHEREAS, the current design of many self-checkout systems, relying on visual interfaces and touchscreens without audible instructions or tactile feedback, poses significant accessibility barriers to blind people; and

WHEREAS, the reliance on barcode scanning exacerbates these challenges, further impeding the ability of blind people to use these systems independently; and

WHEREAS, the reduction of human cashier options in favor of self-checkout systems limits the usability of shopping environments for blind people, compromising their independence and right to equal service; and

WHEREAS, adherence to the principles of inclusivity and equality, as well as the legal obligations of stores under the Americans with Disabilities Act, necessitate that retail services be accessible to all customers, including those who are blind: Now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization demand Walmart, Target, Kroger, and similar retailers implement self-checkout options that are accessible to blind people, including but not limited to voice-guided instructions, tactile buttons, and interfaces designed for ease of use; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that these retailers ensure the availability of human cashiers in sufficient numbers to meet the needs of all customers, including those unable to use self-checkout stations due to blindness; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that these entities collaborate with the National Federation of the Blind to understand the needs of the blind and work on developing accessible solutions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all retailers provide staff with ongoing training focused on the accessibility needs of blind customers, including assistance at self-checkout stations and throughout the store. 

RESOLUTION 2024-20: Regarding Inaccessible Retail Kiosks

WHEREAS, many retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses are increasingly deploying kiosks for a variety of tasks, including placing orders, checking out after selecting items to purchase, presenting menus, checking prices, and more; and

WHEREAS, these kiosks may partially or fully replace human staff, meaning that there may not be any personnel available to assist blind customers with the tasks for which the kiosks have been deployed; and

WHEREAS, frequently these kiosks lack accessibility features for blind or low-vision users; and

WHEREAS, accessibility features can include, but are not limited to, audio-based interfaces, tactile keypads, and Braille signage; and

WHEREAS, the absence of these features can make it difficult or impossible for blind users to place orders, shop, or otherwise fully enjoy the products and services of a business; and

WHEREAS, blind customers deserve to be able to fully participate in the economy and take full and equal advantage of the products and services provided by businesses; and

WHEREAS, accessible kiosks, kiosk software solutions, and alternative devices (e.g., accessible tablets like the iPad and some Android devices) are available and have been deployed by some businesses, including the McDonald’s restaurant chain: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization strongly urge all businesses deploying kiosks to choose and demand accessible devices so that all users can take full advantage of them; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge kiosk manufacturers to work with the National Federation of the Blind to develop accessible kiosks; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon Congress and federal regulators to consider solutions to require or facilitate the manufacture and deployment of accessible kiosks. 

RESOLUTION 2024-21: Regarding Calling Upon the News Media to Use the Word “Blind”

WHEREAS, blind people are held back by a common set of misconceptions about being blind, low expectations for blind people, and barriers resulting from a lack of equal access to information and public services; and 

WHEREAS, since 1940 the National Federation of the Blind has used the word “blind” as an inclusive term with a functional definition that encompasses individuals with varying degrees of blindness, but who have in common the need to use nonvisual tools and techniques, some or all of the time, in order to learn, work, play, and otherwise live the lives we want; and

WHEREAS, throughout our history, we have rejected the tendency of society to treat the word “blind” as a word to be avoided; and 

WHEREAS, for example, in 1993, our convention affirmed in Resolution 1993-01 that “We believe that it is respectable to be blind, and although we have no particular pride in the fact of our blindness, neither do we have any shame in it. To the extent that euphemisms are used to convey any other concept or image, we deplore such use”; and

WHEREAS, because of our belief in the normality and capacity of blind people, we reject the idea that eyesight or vision is a requirement for success, and believe that vision-centered language focuses on what we are perceived to lack, a negative framing of blindness, rather than on our fundamental normality as people who share a characteristic that, while it does not define us, is a positive part of who we are; and

WHEREAS, increasingly other groups of people with disabilities and the wider society have embraced the idea that “blind” and other words describing disabilities are not words to be avoided, but positive indicators of identity; and

WHEREAS, a common euphemism for the word blind is the phrase “visually impaired,” or variants thereof, which is an example of vision-centered language that portrays us as broken because of our lack of eyesight; and

WHEREAS, the news media, in all its forms and to varying degrees, uses words to inform and shape the perceptions of those who consume it; and

WHEREAS, the phrase “visually impaired” continues to be used by many media outlets to describe blind people, even in stories about individuals who embrace their identity as blind people and which purport to be positive and affirming: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this seventh day of July, 2024, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that we call upon all of the major broadcast, print, and digital news outlets, services, and other entities that influence the language used throughout the American news media to stop using the term “visually impaired” to describe blind people, and to instead use the word “blind” in the way that those of us who have the authentic lived experience of blindness use it; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon all of these entities to consult with the National Federation of the Blind as they review and revise their guidance to journalists, editors, and producers, and otherwise make decisions about the language they use in describing and characterizing blindness and blind people. 

RESOLUTION 2024-22 - Regarding the use of the term "visually impaired" when referring to blind people with some vision

WHEREAS, language plays a crucial role in shaping society's perceptions and understanding of different perspectives and aspects of life; and

WHEREAS, accurate terminology is an essential factor in the creation of a climate which fosters respect and inclusivity for everyone, including the blind; and

WHEREAS, at its 1993 convention, the National Federation of the Blind unanimously adopted Resolution 93-01, which says in relevant part, “…the word blind accurately and clearly describes the condition of being unable to see, as well as the condition of having such limited eyesight that alternative techniques are required to do efficiently the ordinary tasks of daily living that are performed visually by those having good eyesight…”; and

WHEREAS, this resolution clearly declares that the word "blind" is meant to include people with poor vision or no vision and does not circumvent the use of a word which, in other circles, is either avoided altogether or combined with other terms such as "visually impaired," "visually challenged," “sight challenged” or "hard of seeing,"--euphemisms  which are thought to be more acceptable and less off-putting to the broader community; and

WHEREAS, the term "visually impaired" (often combined with the word "blind" as in Blind and Visually Impaired) is used by many programs and agencies serving the blind as an attempt to clarify that their services are available to individuals with limited or no eyesight and not just to individuals who are totally blind; and

WHEREAS, the word "impaired" when combined with the word "vision" or "visual" implies a sense of deficiency and inferiority and perpetuates the incorrect notion that people who have lost part or all of their eyesight are automatically less capable or limited in their abilities as compared to people with normal eyesight; and

WHEREAS, when referring to a group of people comprised of individuals with varying degrees of sight--from total blindness to legal blindness to significant vision loss--the term "blind and low vision" is a more accurate and positive description in that it correctly indicates less-than-20 20 vision without connoting the negative assumptions and stereotypes that have too often been associated with the blind; and

WHEREAS, other minorities, such as the deaf community, have successfully advocated for the use of terms like "deaf or hard of hearing" in place of "deaf and hearing impaired," recognizing the value of moving away from terminology that includes the word "impaired"; and

WHEREAS, self-advocacy and asserting preferred terminology can do much to challenge existing misconceptions and encourage others to adopt more accurate and respectful language; and

WHEREAS, raising awareness and educating the public to use appropriate terminology that is free from negative assumptions and stereotypes can be achieved through educational campaigns, media initiatives, and inclusive language guidelines in academic and professional settings: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind, in Convention assembled this 4th day of July, 2024, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization reaffirm the respectability of the word "blind" as articulated in Resolution 93-01; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon organizations, agencies, and entities that work with or serve individuals who are blind who feel that it is appropriate to use terms such as "blind and visually impaired," "visually impaired," or similar terminology in their names and/or promotional materials to use instead "blind," "blind and low vision," "low vision," or similar phrasing instead; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization acknowledge and praise the United States Federal Government for making a strong effort to use the term “blind and low vision”.