From the Associate Editor: As many Monitor readers know, the NFB advocated for the creation of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of the inventor of the Braille Code and to raise funds for a national campaign to address the Braille literacy crisis in America. Having achieved this goal with the coin launch last March 26, we must now concentrate on selling all four hundred thousand of these congressionally authorized keepsakes that the U.S. Mint is producing to fund our Braille Readers Are Leaders (BRL) campaign. All coins must be sold before the end of the year.
We are well on our way to meeting this goal, but as we ease into fall, it is critical for every affiliate, division, chapter, and individual member to join our national initiative in earnest to sell the Louis Braille coin. When people purchase one or more of these handsome coins featuring readable Braille, they become part of the solution to the national Braille literacy crisis. Participating in this historic drive to increase Braille literacy in America by simply buying this commemorative coin is a compelling opportunity. Please do your part to help the NFB build a new and better world for blind people everywhere. Call (800) 872-6468 or visit <http://www.usmint.gov> to place your order for the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar.
To help you promote the value and importance of the Braille coin to your friends, family, and neighbors, we reproduce below two documents that talk about the coin, our BRL campaign, and the urgency of our mission. Study the texts of the following email message by President Maurer about our efforts and a brief talking points piece before you go out and market the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar. Here they are:
How Many Children in America Are Not Taught to Read?
The answer is 90 percent if the children are blind. Most Americans are shocked to hear this statistic. And we should be. The blind read and write using Braille, so why is our educational system failing to teach Braille to so many children? Why are these children being denied the opportunities that come with a proper education? What if you could not read and write? Where would you be today?
There are three primary reasons for this educational crisis: (1) there are not enough Braille teachers; (2) some teachers of blind children have not received enough training; and (3) many educators do not think Braille instruction is even necessary.
To bring critically needed attention to this educational crisis, the United States Congress authorized the minting of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar with a portion of the sale of each coin going toward a revolutionary and comprehensive Braille literacy campaign.
Learning to read and write is fundamental to education, which in turn is paramount to full and equal participation in American society. This coin, the first U.S. coin to have proper tactile Braille, symbolizes independence, opportunity, and the potential of blind people to make significant contributions to society when they are taught to read and write using Braille. To learn more, read our report “The Braille Literacy Crisis in America,” or watch our video Making Change with a Dollar.
Please purchase this unique and beautiful coin now and help solve this educational crisis for blind children in America. The law authorizing this 2009 silver dollar requires that any coins not sold by midnight on December 31, 2009, be melted down. Time is of the essence--a 90 percent illiteracy rate is not acceptable, and the opportunity to purchase this coin will soon be gone.
Be part of the solution. Give the gift of literacy. Create new opportunities. Buy the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar today.
KEY TALKING POINTS
1. Braille is equivalent to print.
2. Today only 10% of blind children are learning Braille.
3. The National Federation of the Blind is initiating a campaign to double the number of Braille readers by 2015.
1. The number of school-age children reading Braille will double by 2015.
2. All fifty states will enact legislation requiring special education teachers of blind children to obtain and maintain the National Certification in Literary Braille by 2015.
3. Braille resources will be made more available through online sharing of materials, enhanced production methods, and improved distribution.
4. The American public will learn that blind people have a right to Braille literacy so they can compete and assume a productive role in society.
Order coins to sell today. The uncirculated coin costs $33.90 when ordered from the U.S. Mint; the proof coin costs $41.95. The mint charges $3.95 to ship any number of coins. Make change with a dollar.