Protecting and Expanding the Right of the Blind to Live in the World: A Report from the Advocacy and Policy Department

Protecting and expanding the right of the blind to live in the world, the report from the Advocacy and Policy department, our advocacy and policy team works on a daily basis to amplify and coordinate the advocacy activities of our affiliates across the country. They help us stay plugged in, connected to all the right places, and make sure that we synthesize the tremendous resources that we have to, uh, get the agenda of blind Americans accomplished in the Congress as well as helping with local legislators here. To kick off our Advocacy Report, is a gentleman who brings as much heart and determination as anybody in the National Federation of the Blind to our work, he makes sure that our name is as well-known as any other. And certainly, better known than most in Washington, DC and beyond. Here is the Executive Director for Advocacy and Policy, John Pare.

Thank you, President Riccobono and Good Afternoon federation family. The National Federation of the Blind is composed of members who are imaginative, supportive, and determined. When we formed our organization 80 years ago, we found that the broader community dismissed us as irrelevant. They believed the blind were not capable of speaking for ourselves, but this did not stop us. In the 1990s, we challenged the federal government when it said they we could not have federal jobs, and we beat them. In the 1970s, we won the right of blind employees in sheltered workshops to organize and bargain with management about wages and working conditions. In the 1990s, when leaders of the United States House of Representatives tried to merge vocational rehabilitation services with human services programs, we just said “no” and beat them on the House floor. These three victories are just a few examples of the power of the organized blind movement. Our 2020 Washington Seminar was no exception. Representative Bobby Scott, chairman of the powerful committee on education and labor, spoke at our Great Gathering-In. We have 15 members of Congress speak at our Congressional Reception, and we picked up 46 cosponsors across our legislation.  We were steadily working on our legislative agenda, making the voice of the organized blind movement heard on Capitol Hill and in our local communities, then on March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. As a threat of COVID-19 took hold, President Riccobono took decisive action, on March 13, the President postponed all in-person Federation meetings, and on March 23, the Jernigan Institute was closed. But the National Federation of the Blind is composed of members who are supportive, imaginative, and determined. We found ways to continue the work of the Federation. Our programs were adapted, our advocacy efforts intensified, and our commitment to our federation family deepened. Chapter meetings were moved to Zoom calls, the BELL program was changed to the in-home edition, and our national convention is still occurring. Most importantly, our members continue to communicate with each other to discuss ways of persevering through the COVID-19 pandemic. When the CARES Act was passed, our members began an intensive effort to educate each other on the Economic Impact Payments, expanded unemployment insurance, and the effects these programs might have on Social Security disability insurance and supplemental security income. Through it all, we continue to educate our elected leaders on legislation that would improve the lives of blind Americans. We explained the Access Technology Affordability Act was needed more than ever to help blind students who are now learning from home, how it would help blind people look for and apply for jobs and how it would help us maintain our self-sufficiency in time of mandatory social distancing. Our cosponsor count grew rapidly, and we are now up to 112 cosponsors in the House and 23 in the Senate. We also asked Congress to eliminate the 5-month waiting period for eligible SSDI recipients and corresponding 24-moth waiting period for Medicare benefits. Eliminating these waiting periods permanently is a good idea, eliminating them during the COVID-19 pandemic is even more crucial. On July 24, Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced the Greater Access Through Independence through Non-Visual Access technology Act (HR 3929) We are working to secure a Senate champion. This bill establishes a minimum nonvisual access standard for home use medical devices, home appliances, and fitness equipment. It currently has 28 cosponsors in the house. On December 5, 2019, Representatives Roe and Courtney introduced the Accessible Instructional Material in Higher Education Act and December 18th, Senator Warren introduced companion legislation in the Senate. The House bill currently has 43 cosponsors and the Senate bill has 8 cosponsors. We hope to either pass this legislation as a standalone bill or as a component of higher education reauthorization. We continue to advocate for the passage of Transformation to Competitive Employment Act. As I mentioned, Chairman Bobby Scott spoke at our Great Gathering-In and said that subminimum wages are outdated and discriminatory. Furthermore, he said quote “Ending section 14c of the fair labor standards act is a critical civil rights issue that deserves our nation’s attention.” End quote. We could not agree more. The House bill has 60 cosponsors and the Senate bill has 7 cosponsors. Now, let’s take a minute to talk about NFB Newsline. At the beginning of the pandemic when information about COVID-19 was more difficult to obtain, we added a special “Search” feature to NFB-Newsline to help subscribers find COVID-19 Breaking News. We also added COVID-19 statistics from Johns Hopkins University and in order to make sure that all Blind Americans had access to this information, President Riccobono temporarily extended NFB-Newsline service to all non-sponsored states. The National Federation of the Blind has also contracted with Deloitte Consulting to analyze NFB-Newsline, the news industry, and trends in media consumption. We will be using this information to determine what enhancements are made to NFB-Newsline. Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey. We have currently integrated KFNB Reader, the core elements of KFNB reader, also into the Newsline mobile app. We are currently having some problems with that. We hope to rectify the current problems and reissue the beta and the actual production app in the next few weeks. So, stay tuned for that. NFB-Newsline serves more than 123,000 subscribers, and it has over 500 publications. On average, we receive 5,226 calls every day. And some portion of NFB Newsline is accessed every 1.8 seconds. The weather portion of the service included detailed 7-day forecasts, emergency alerts, and other useful information such as air quality and heat index. The TV listings include programming for every broadcast and cable provider, channel mappings for your specific cable or satellite provider and information on audio description. The job listings include every job listed on CareerBuilder and USAJobs and don’t forget, you can now also access NFB-Newsline on any of the Amazon family of products. When I think of imagination, support, and determination, I think of the members of the National Federation of the Blind. It is our imagination that has helped us create opportunities and find solutions when none were apparent. In our support of each other, we have built a community that is there for us in good times and bad. It is our determination that drives us every day in our relentless pursuit of equality. Our bonds of friendship have made a lasting impact on the history of the federation. As the American playwright, Tennessee Williams once said, life is partly what we make it and partly what is made by the friends we choose. I am honored to count all of you as my friends. I am strengthened by our commitment to each other during this pandemic. I am proud of what we have accomplished together. And I look forward to working with all of you as we build our future and live the lives we want. Let’s build The National Federation of the Blind. Alright, fellow Federationists, members, we’re gonna move to the two specialists that helped so much in coordinating all of our work on Capitol Hill. It’s really our teamwork, our 50k+ members, and your advocacy happening in the capitol and in the local districts, coordinated with the work we do in Baltimore and talking to detailed staff members about what happens. Our first specialist is going to be Jeff Kaloc. He’s the newest member of our staff. He used to work as a staff member on Capitol Hill, so he’s been on the other side of the table as we talk to people. Please welcome Jeff Kaloc.

It's why these bills have been strengthened to go forward. The Access Technology Affordability Act is critical because we don’t wanna have the skills of any blind person to go to waste. Right now we’re gaining momentum with this bill. We have 112 cosponsors in the House and 23 in the Senate. Out of those 123 in the House, 75 are democrats and 37 are republicans. But that doesn’t express the full view of just party line that brings the diversity of this bill. We have members that are progressive members as well as freedom caucus members that are supportive of this bill which goes to show that this is a solution to a problem that does not have partisan distinction. This is something that every American can support and should support. Right now, it has gained so much momentum that we have gained the interest and the support of both Chairman Neal and Chairman Grassley. In addition to that, the bill was recognized at the House Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures by Chairman Mike Thompson. During that hearing, the panel, the members were discussing COVID-19 and how it affects families and workers during these harsh economic times. Chairman Thompson mentioned this bill not only during that hearing but in his opening statements which just goes to show the importance of this bill and how not only will it impact the economy but also how it helps workers during these tough, during this, this pandemic time. In order to push this bill further, though, we need your support, as well. We need you to contact your members of Congress. We need you to call them, we need you to email them, or even schedule a Zoom meeting to speak with them over a Zoom conference call and express the importance of this bill. Not only how it would affect your life overall but also during this pandemic. We know right now many people are working remotely and that students are learning remotely during this time. And it’s critical that this technology is at their disposal so that they can continue their productivity. So, this is, as John mentioned previously, this is a group effort. We can’t do this on our own. We need you to also contact your representatives and your senators and urge them to cosponsor this important piece of legislation. Another piece of legislation that I wanted to mention and something that has hit hard during these harsh economic times is the Randolph-Sheppard vendors. Randolph Sheppard vendors are small business owners, as many of you know, that operate in government facilities. These could be federal or state facilities. These are critical because they aid federal workers gain supplies that they need at almost no convenience to them because they are located within the facility itself but do to the closure of the federal facilities, many of these entrepreneurs have not been able to obtain work because they cannot access the building they work in. Because of this, it has created a harsh economic downturn for their businesses, and they need our help today. Even when federal facilities open up, they are not going to open up to the same capacity or the same, at the same, uh, it’s going to be at a gradual pace compared to before the pandemic. That is why it is critical that we receive federal aid to help these entrepreneurs during these times and get them through this pandemic. We have been successful in the house of representatives to gain the support of two, to gain an appropriation of 20 million dollars to help Randolph Sheppard vendors. But more still needs to be done. We still need to work on the Senate side in order to make sure this bill passes as well as make sure the White House is also in favor of this legislation so that Randolph Sheppard vendors can prosper during these times. That’s where you come in as well. We need your support right now as we’re reaching out to the Senate that you reach out to  your, your Senators and let them know that Randolph Sheppard vendors can’t wait on this funding. RS businesses are different than most businesses because they designed in federal offices, they cannot access their supplies and much of their supplies are going to spoil. Because of this, it is critical that they receive funding. And this also brings a distinction between them and other businesses that can lower their supply demand and work around the pandemic as they carry out orders. Randolph Sheppard Vendors are not capable of doing that because of the federal facilities still being locked down. Lastly, I wanna mention voting rights. So with RS, though, we need you to contact your senators. Please write, email and also schedule Zoom meetings with your senators and express the importance of Randolph Sheppard vendors and why this funding is critical for them. Lastly, I’d like to speak about voting rights. None of the things I mentioned would be possible without the right of, the right to vote. This is an election year. And being that it is an election year, we want to ensure that voting is accessible, private, and independent. No one should have to choose between their pandemic and their fundamental right to vote. Title II of the ADA states that Americans with Disabilities have the same opportunity to vote as Americans without Disabilities. That being said, um, blind should have the same access to the vote as anyone else that should be done both privately and independently. Unfortunately, though, too many states do not have the accessibility, privacy, or independence that blind Americans deserve in order to cast the ballot. Because of this frustrating process, we must contact our federal, local, and state representatives and let them know of the importance of voting privately, independently, and accessible. And with that, I wanna take it back to John so we can speak to our next, we got our next speaker speak.

Thank you, Jeff. Alright, the Federation team is alive and strong. And we’re working together to move our legislation forward. I’m so excited. Thank you, Jeff for speaking about the Access Technology Affordability Act, the RS program, and the critical importance of voting. I appreciated the comments that Speaker Pelosi had the other day in her conversation with President Riccobono. That was terrific. Alright, now moving to Stephanie Flynt. We appreciate the NFB of Mississippi helping to, uh, encourage our latest staff member. So let’s hear from Stephanie Flynt.

Thank you, John for that wonderful introduction. And Federation family, it is a privilege to be able to address you in this capacity. I know I that don’t just speak for myself when I say that our virtual energy over the past week was very, very palpable and just absolutely amazing. And that was, in part, because of Federationists like you. Winston Churchill is often credited for the quote: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” And while it’s unclear whether or not Churchill actually said this or if the saying serves as a translation of similar meaning during WW2, my interpretation here remains the same. Since 1940, we have written and continue to write our history in a way that is kind and favorable to our movement. On July 4 of 2019 as John mentioned, 12 days after last year’s convention, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced HR 3929, the Greater Access and Independence through nonvisual access technology act or GAIN act for short. This piece of legislation will authorize the access board to conduct a study of pretexting nonvisual access standards as well as recommend and establish a nonvisual access standard for household appliances, fitness equipment, and home use medical devices. Not only does this legislation have the power to enrich the quality of life for all blind people, but it’s also – dare I say, gaining momentum in the 116th Congress. I’m pleased to report that the gain act, since last week, is now also up to 29 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. History will be kind to us for we intend to write it in favor of equality and opportunity for the nation’s blind. And speaking of equality and opportunity, after much deliberation and negotiation with the higher education lobbying, HR 5312, the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act ot AIM HIGH Act was reintroduced on December 5 of last year by Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee and Congressman Joe Courtney of Connecticut. Two weeks later, companion legislation S3095 was reintroduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with Senators Michael Bennet, Joni Ernst, Jon Tester, and Dan Sullivan. Both the House and Senate bills were reintroduced without safe harbors for institutions of higher education. In addition, the primary tenets of AIM HIGH were incorporated into the House’s Higher Education Reauthorization Package. There is no doubt in my mind that as a result of our movement’s relentless advocacy, lawmakers are beginning to understand the critical importance of equal access and that equal access is the key to leveling the playing field between disabled and nondisabled students. Equal access is the key to expanding the circle of participation and revolutionizing the 21st century college classroom so that our blind students can compete on the same terms of equality and have the same opportunities as their sighted peers. We know especially now, more than ever, equal access to instructional materials is paramount to a collegiate success and not just their virtual learning environments but also in their face to face classrooms. History will be kind to us for we intend to write it in such a way that not even a global pandemic such as COVID-19 will be considered an excuse to undermine the rights of blind Americans. If there is one thing that I’ve had the privilege to witness, as someone working on the government affairs team, firsthand at our national office is that my federation family always answers the call of our movement. On March 19 of this year, I received word from multiple sources on Capitol Hill and other members of stakeholder groups that we are a part of, that the senate had proposed legislative language that would allow states to request or obtain waivers for all services covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA, if such language were enacted into law. And I remember thinking to myself, “surely there is no way this is going to actually happen.” But, then, I saw the language and my heart sank. And, so, I feverishly and fiercely typed out a call to action alert, letting my federation family know what happened and that it was vital to reach out to congress in order to keep this waiver authority out of the CARES Package. Let me just say while I’m sure you were tired of seeing the same phrase over and over again in every single legislative alert that we send out, your calls and emails to your senators and representatives really do make a significant difference. It’s because of those calls and emails from federationists like you across the country that waiver authority I mentioned, it was weakened into a requirement that the secretary had to report on any waiver recommendations 30 days after the enactment of the CARES package. Shortly after its passage, President Riccobono wasted no time in writing a letter to Secretary DeVos explaining that no IDEA waivers were necessary for students and none should be recommended to Congress. And spoiler alert: Secretary DeVos only recommended 1 waiver under IDEA which extended IFSP services for our blind toddlers passed their 3rd birthday until a safe determination of IEP services could take place. As John mentioned earlier, our advocacy and policy team has expanded our advocacy efforts to new dimensions in response to COVID-19. Current COVID-19 priorities include: the elimination of social security disability waiting periods, which would allow those who have lost their job due to this international crisis to promptly begin receiving cash and insurance benefits. And the request for peer support training centers grant appropriation which will allocate 10 million dollars to structured discovery centers like the Louisiana Center for the Blind, The Colorado Center for the Blind, and Blind, INC. so that this vital contributors to the success of blind people may continue offering their services during and after this one-of-a-kind national emergency. “But how are we able to do this?” I get asked a lot. If I may go ahead and paraphrase Hamilton the Musical to describe my Federation family because my federation family does not throw away our shot. Instead, my federation family rises up to any challenges that come our way, and we’re able to take our advocacy to new heights and give it all we’ve got, not because of myself and the rest of our Advocacy and Policy team at the national office but because of President Riccobono’s steadfast leadership and his unwavering commitment to the nation’s blind History will continue to be kind to us because with love, hope, and determination, we will write it in such a way that our legislative dreams are transformed into our laws of reality. My federation family, I invite you to join me in continuing to build our federation with advocacy at the forefront of our efforts. Thank you.

Thank you Stephanie. The depth of breadth of our advocacy, the advocacy of The National Federation of the Blind knows no bounds, we are, as you can see, working together. Our federation family, we are making substantial progress on what is really our seven bills that President Riccobono mentioned earlier in this convention, along with all of the specialized work that we’ve been doing that Stephanie mentioned, related to COVID-19. We’ve also had a great lineup of members of Congress speak at this national convention, beginning with the somewhat surprised presentation with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, the sponsor of the GAIN act, followed by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi followed by Senator Durbin and now, we are going to view a presentation with Senator Boozman. Senator Boozman has been doing an incredible job as the sponsor of the Access Technology Affordability Act. President Riccobono spoke to him earlier this week and had a terrific conversation. Here it is.

It’s my pleasure to be here today with the senior senator from the great state of Arkansas, a great friend of the National Federation of the Blind. First elected to Congress in 2010. Among other things, he serves as the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on military construction and veterans’ affairs. He, uh, has been a great friend of the National Federation of the Blind. I think I first got to know him in the 115th Congress when he came to our Congressional Reception and amongst other remarks, announced that he wanted to be the lead sponsor in the United States Senate of our Access Technology Affordability Act, a very important bill that have been advancing ,and we really appreciate having the Senator’s leadership on this initiative. It was introduced in March of 2019 and, uh, we are making great progress on that bill, and this is just one of the areas that we have the Senator’s support, so it’s a pleasure today introduce Senator Boozman. Senator, thank you for being with us.

Well, thanks so much. And special thanks to the National Federation of the Blind for inviting me to speak at your convention. As an optometrist, I have seen firsthand many of the struggles your members have to deal with on a daily basis, in fact, I can remember when I was at the University of Arkansas, uh, as an undergraduate, my brother calling me. My brother was, uh, about to become – had decided he was gonna become an ophthalmologist. He was in a medical school residency and decided ophthalmology was gonna be what he wanted to devote his life to, so he called me and said: “John, I’m gonna get into ophthalmology. Why don’t you think about being an optometrist and then we can work together?” And so, I thought about that and, uh, and my brother and I were very close. He was four years older than I, and so I did that. And as I got into my training, as I was a senior, I realized that I was gonna have to – in the course of things – work with people that had impaired vision. So, I asked the dean of my school if I go to the New York Lighthouse for the Blind, which was truly the best place in the country -at that time – for low-vison training, and so I spent a semester there. I studied under Eleanor Faye, the great ophthalmologist who was such a pioneer in that area and, uh, which was so, so very helpful. So, I come back to Arkansas, and uh, visited with the school for the blind in Little Rock and we set up a low-vision program. And you have to remember, this was back in the old days when, in fact, it was such that worked with a young student, worked with many young students, but I can remember vividly working with this individual and really with just some inexpensive, uh, fairly powerful magnifiers, got him where he was able to read print, uh, the school followed up and did an excellent job. And uh, literally he was reading newspapers, so he goes home on break and he’s reading the newspapers, and his mom says: “what’s the deal?” You know, “what are you doing? How can you do this?” So, she called the person who was taking care of him and was upset, talked to that doctor, that doctor subsequently called the, uh, person who was running the school for the blind, chewed him out, said: “you know, what are you doing?” And, so, I really do understand where we’ve been, where we are now, and what we need to do to push us in the future. And that’s why I introduced the bipartisan legislation to help, again, blind Americans have access to the tools that they need to get in the workforce, in this case, with COVID, get back to work and excel in the classroom. The Access to Technology Affordability Act establishes a $2,000 refundable tax credit for blind Americans to be used over a three year-period to offset the cost of access technology. Many blind Americans have lost their jobs to the COVID-19 pandemic, so this an excellent time to double down on their efforts. Refreshable Braille display will be a huge asset to search for a new position. For blind students of all ages are now learning online at home, a Braille embosser is an essential tool to keep up with their schoolwork. Many states are enforcing stay-at-home orders, screenreader software can help keep blind citizens informed of which restaurants and businesses are open and safe for them to visit. The legislation also, very importantly, provides flexibility for individuals to obtain access technology based upon their specific needs. And, as we all know, uh, certainly a person who is categorized as blind, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. There’s all levels of vision, there’s all levels of feel. So all of you know better than anyone else, accessibility requires a individual assessment of one’s own skills and needs. This can be especially valuable for blind Americans to ensure that they are receiving the tools that are most useful to them. The unemployment or under employment rate among blind Americans was likely exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has existed, as we all know, for many, many years, according to the 2017 American Community Survey from the US Census Bureau, nearly 70% of blind, working-age Americans did not have full-time, full-year employment. The bill will help these Americans enter the labor force by shouldering a small portion of the cost for access technology. And the only other thing I’d say is that you know, the-the technology we have now and the affordability is something that in the old days, uh, we simply couldn’t imagine. There are so many devices that, uh, that help, that can help, you know, one’s life so much easier. So that’s really what it’s all about, is, uh, working together, and I appreciate the efforts of your team in Washington. Fred does a great job, and you all are doing a great job with explaining to members how important this is and educating as to how helpful, again, having accessibility through a tax credit program. So thank you very much, and I’ll be glad to visit and discuss anything you’d like, again. We’re willing to help you in any way that we can.

Thank you very much Senator. It’s great that you keep your leadership and perspective rooted in the you know, the real hopes and dreams and needs of blind people, bringing your personal experience to that, so we really appreciate that. I guess, you know, we have attending this convention, we’ve registered more than 7,000 individuals to be at this online convention. Many more will be streaming, so.

That’s great.

What would you wanna say to those blind people who are out there, some of them are going to be learning about this bill for the first time, and they’re probably saying, “yeah, man, I need that.” Um, what would you say to them in terms of what they can do to help you and our efforts to move this bill in the United States Senate?

Well, as you know, I can help educate members and twist arms and do all that we’re doing right now, but there is absolutely no substitute for one of your members or affiliates, whatever, there’s no substitute for those people reaching out to their congressman, their senator, or you know, not necessarily directly, reaching out to their staff and just talking about how important. And I think the thing that makes the most difference is relaying how they would make a difference in their life, how it would make their life easier. And so, I know that because of my past experience of really dealing with this for many, many years. Again, we helped start the low-vision clinic in Little Rock, spent many years there and Dr. King took that over there and is doing a tremendous job. But I know firsthand some people don’t understand how to categorize blind people, it’s all one vision, it’s all one field of vision, all of those things. And so we have to educate them as to how a reader would be so helpful or a magnifying device of, you know, different kind of forms. In the case of Braille, you know, the various things we can do in that regard or a combination of all of those things. But I think the best thing is personal contacts, you know, and I would, I get all kinds of contacts. Sometimes they’re form letters and this and that. There is no substitute for an individual taking the time to contact by email or phone call or in-person, staff or members.

Great. I’ll throw one more thing at you so people should definitely support S.815 which is the bill we’ve been talking about. And one of the things love about this bill, and the work that we do at the National Federation of the Blind that it is bipartisan, has support from all angles, and one of the things that we’ve been doing at this convention is, of course, encouraging blind people to register and go out to vote this year, regardless of their political views, we’ve been working hard over the last few months to put extra energy to make sure that blind people can vote in an accessible manner in states as the voting landscape shifts. I just wonder, in terms of participation, in the, uh, voting process in the United States, you have any message for our members?

No, just, except, as you said, I would encourage them to go and vote. You know, the good things about these issues is they aren’t partisan in nature at all. These are things that we simply need to get done and uh, you know, the idea that helping an individual that is handicapped in some way, this way through visual impairment, that’s something that we really do coalesce. Uh, we’ve got good sponsors on both sides and so, uh, that’s really important as you get things done. So we appreciate your leadership in that regard, the leadership of your association, your leadership in Washington that’s doing a good job, that’s pushing things forward. And then, as you said, we’re getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, and so, uh, you know, being in a situation where we’re celebrating the Fourth of July, our founding of our country, the freedoms we enjoy. Certainly right at the top of that list is our ability to go and vote so we shouldn’t take that for granted.

Well, thank you, Senator. We appreciate your leadership on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind of Arkansas who I know, um, really supports, uh, what you’re doing and, uh, your listening to their voice locally but also our national movement. We really appreciate your leadership on this bill and others. And we look forward to our continued work with you in the Congress.

Well, we appreciate you and appreciate the great work that, uh, your organization is doing. It’s how you get things done is through banding together. So, uh, we’re gonna do our best to-to, you know, continue the work to push this through, and I look forward, hopefully, in the not-too-distant future that we’re together again in person, and, uh, we’re gonna get through this virus. But I also would remind, while we’re reminding the people that are participating.  I would remind them, really, to take precaution and, uh, you know wear the mask, do the things and social distancing, that’s about protecting yourself. But as important or maybe even more important, it’s about protecting others. And, so, so many people have underlying conditions and things, so we don’t want to get people in-in, uh, y’know, difficult situations. So, again, thank you so much for having me, and, uh, uh, I certainly enjoyed.