Braille Monitor                          March 2020

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News from the Federation Family

New Drupal Theme Honors Rachel Olivero

Rachel Olivero (1982-2019) was a dedicated member and leader of the nation’s blind, a well-known accessibility expert, and a friend to many. She tirelessly devoted herself to her role as head of the organizational technology group at the National Federation of the Blind, a position from which she leveraged her passion to change the understanding of accessibility everywhere she could by raising the competency of her peers, and challenging companies and organizations to stop making excuses and start building accessibly from the beginning.

As we reflect on the one-year anniversary of her passing, we are reminded of her many contributions both to our organization and to the accessibility community at large. Because of her leadership, knowledge, and collaborative spirit, her impact on modern accessibility best practices cannot be overstated.

In October 2019, the Drupal Association, which maintains the open-sourced platform the NFB uses for its websites, honored her lasting legacy by naming its new default front-end theme “Olivero.” “She was committed to making technology accessible to all people,” a Drupal expert said in the announcement, which was made at DrupalCon 2019. “We chose the name Olivero not just because we have made accessibility a top priority, but also because we aspire to develop this new theme in our community in a manner that is consistent with the qualities that Rachel embodied, including patience, generosity, and inclusivity.”

“In the National Federation of the Blind, individual blind people come together to focus their efforts into collective action that raises expectations in society and transforms dreams into reality. In a lifetime that was far too short, Rachel Olivero used her own lived experiences as a blind person as the basis for advancing the position of the blind in society. As her friends in the organized blind movement, we remember her daily,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “As her colleagues carrying the march for equality of the blind forward, we celebrate the Drupal community for recognizing Rachel’s commitment to equality and skillful advancement of accessibility. The naming of the Olivero theme is more than simply a nice memory; it represents a commitment by the Drupal community that accessibility will be baked into the websites of the future so that all may have access to the knowledge of the worldwide web. That is a legacy worthy of our friend Rachel Olivero, the mission of the National Federation of the Blind, and the core values of the Drupal community. As we cross the one-year anniversary of losing Rachel’s leadership on our behalf, our hearts are filled with joy that accessibility in her name continues to spread around the world.”

Read more about Rachel Olivero in President Riccobono’s tribute to her life and work, “From Member to Memorable: Rachel Olivero’s Legacy of Love,” in the April 2019 Braille Monitor.

This news brief is also available at: https://www.nfb.org/about-us/press-room/new-drupal-theme-honors-rachel-olivero.

National Federation of the Blind and Others Settle Lawsuit against United States Department of Education

DOE to Reopen Investigations, Allow Appeals

Washington, DC (February 6, 2020): The National Federation of the Blind, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have resolved the lawsuit they brought against the United States Department of Education (DOE). The suit was filed when DOE’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) changed the way it handles discrimination complaints, by revising its case processing manual, in March of 2018. The changes required OCR to dismiss discrimination complaints without investigating if an individual or organization had filed complaints before, or when complaints were filed against multiple schools or colleges. The right to appeal was also eliminated. DOE revised the manual again to roll back some of the changes in November of 2018, but the status of complaints that had already been dismissed under the March 2018 procedures was not resolved.

Under the agreement, OCR has reopened all the nearly seven hundred disability rights complaints it dismissed and will investigate them following the complaint investigation processes as of November 2018. In addition, complainants who were denied the right to appeal the dismissal of their complaints between March and November of 2018 will be able to do so.

“As America’s civil rights organization of the blind, the National Federation of the Blind routinely combats discrimination by K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, often manifest as the use of inaccessible technology and materials,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Department of Education OCR investigations are an important avenue for protecting the rights of blind students. We are therefore proud of the work we have done with our partners to ensure the civil rights of the blind and of others who experience discrimination in education.”

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Summer Experience Camp – Making Teens Unstoppable!

We are holding a free program at Leader Dogs for the Blind. The application deadline is April 1, 2020.

Summer Experience Camp is a week of fun, friendship, and skill building. The program combines activities like zip lining, tandem biking with independence building exercises, and things exclusively Leader Dog—GPS training and spending time with future Leader Dogs. The combination helps increase independent travel skills, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills.
The free program is for boys and girls ages sixteen and seventeen who are legally blind. Leader Dog covers all costs including airfare to Michigan—and everyone receives a free HumanWare Victor Reader Trek GPS device. The 2020 camp dates are June 24—July 1. Applications are due by April 1, 2020.

You can view a Fox Sports clip about camp, read camper stories, and download an application at LeaderDog.org.

NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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