The National Federation of the Blind celebrates and embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values in its mission to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind. Per our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy in the Code of Conduct, we are dedicated to continuing to establish new methods of membership and leadership development that reflect the diversity and full inclusion of the entire blind community.
Diversity is recognizing the diverse characteristics and intersectionalities that members bring into the movement. While blindness is the commonality and the focus of the organization, diverse identities are valuable due to unique perspectives, backgrounds, and lived experiences that make blindness unique to each individual.
Equity is understanding that equality can only be achieved when the unique needs of different groups of members are accounted for, as different people may require different things to obtain a safe and equal space.
Inclusion is the active development of programs, events, communications, projects, and environments that promote the active participation of all members regardless of their individual intersectionalities. It is creating an organization where all members can feel included, heard, and valued.
Letter from Our President
I, along with the members of the National Federation of the Blind, welcome the challenge of improving the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion within our movement. This is soul-searching and self-reflective work for every leader and member of our movement. As the Federation atones for its past, we are building a better present so that each day of our future may be more meaningful to every blind person regardless of their intersecting characteristics.
This is a meaningful process which involves educating ourselves, examining the patterns of thought we have developed, and evolving our methods of conducting business. We have embedded our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion into our organizational Code of Conduct, which we review annually. Through this commitment, we seek to strengthen our development of a diverse and new group of leaders, staff, and members. We also seek to engage strategic partnerships to support our growth as a movement of blind people. We honor the fact that our diversity makes us stronger; it completes and solidifies us. It makes us better.
While we strive to get it right, we humbly accept that we are on a journey of learning along with our non-blind friends and family throughout society. We seek to make our space diverse and inclusive so that all blind individuals find a home in this movement. We then hope to take our success and share it throughout our local communities. Blindness can touch any person regardless of their other characteristics, and we hope to use our coming together as blind people to encourage greater diversity, equity, and inclusion across the nation and the world. We lead this work from the perspective of blind people, and we appreciate the blessing of empowering every blind person to participate fully in the community as a whole person with all of their intersecting characteristics. We invite you to join us on our journey of growth, empowerment, and change.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Calendar
Through the work of our Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we are continuing the process of acknowledging the differences that exist among blind people due to race, creed, color, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, political affiliation, or any other characteristic or intersectionality of characteristics. Core to this process is working to ensure that our movement is equitable and inclusive. In furtherance of these efforts the Office of the President has released our five-year National Federation of the Blind Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Calendar. Note: blackout dates are denoted with an asterisk (*), and we ask that Federation Events not be planned on those days.
As this is our first time producing this calendar, we recognize that it has room for growth and welcome you to contact this office with any feedback or suggestions, so that the calendar can be adjusted as needed.
Committee on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Co-chairperson: Shawn Callaway
Co-chairperson: Colin Wong
Email: [email protected]
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Contacts
Blind Muslims Group
Contact: Tasnim Ashuli
Contact: Stewart Prost
Contact: Sanho Steele Louchart
National Association of Black Leaders (Division)
Contact: Shawn Calloway
Aspirations of the Committee
- Heighten awareness of various thoughts, background, education inside and outside of culture, race, and gender
- Promote opportunities to retain, enhance, attract, include and engage membership including cultivating new potential leadership
- Provide guidance and support for the president on issues regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Resources & Publications
The following are speeches, presentations, and articles regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization blind movement.
- Diversity and Inclusion in the National Federation of the Blind, episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast
- Reflection, Revolution, and Race: A Growing Understanding Within the Organized Blind Movement, Virtual Convention, 2021 - Banquet Speech from President Riccobono
- Reflection, Revolution, and Race: A Growing Understanding Within the Organized Blind Movement, Virtual Convention, 2021 (audio)
- Authenticity, Diversity, and the Synergy of the Organized Blind, Orlando, 2018 - Banquet Speech from President Riccobono
- Authenticity, Diversity, and the Synergy of the Organized Blind (audio)
- 2021 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium Archive - Race, Diversity, and Inclusion, and the Right to Live in the World
Panels & Presentations
- Strength through a Diverse Organized Blind Movement: The Intersection Of Characteristics And The Common Bond Of Raising Expectations; Moderator: Colin Wong, Co-Chair, National Federation of the Blind Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a panel from 2021 National Convention (transcript)
- Not Blind to Color in the Federation: A Panel on the Experience of Black and Blind in America, a panel from 2021 National Convention (transcript)
- Connecting Disability Work with Broader Diversity, a panel from 2021 Jacobus tenBroek Law Symposium (transcript)
Articles within the Movement
- Our Public Commitment to One Another as Represented in our Official Code of Conduct Statement (April 2018)
- Diversity in the Disability Rights Movement: Working Together to Achieve the Right to Live in the World (May 2016)
- Dissecting the Value of Diversity by Justin Salisbury (March 2016)
- Making Diversity Work by Elaine Warn (February 2016)
Resources for Employers (Principles & Policies)
- Resolution 2020-12: Regarding Urging All Agencies Serving the Blind to Implement Diversity and Inclusion Principles
- Lived Experiences with Problem Solving Webinar - hosted in 2020 hosted for employers, leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion departments, human resources and hiring managers
- Stronger Together: Raising Cultural Competency, Engaging Diverse Blind Mentors, and Advancing the Education Of Blind Youth; Monique Coleman, TVI, President of VISTAS Education Partners, Highland Park, New Jersey, presentation from 2021 National Convention (transcripts)
Thank you for your interest in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the organized blind movement. For more information, email [email protected].