Braille Monitor                  November 2021

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News from the Federation Family

Performing Arts Creating Opportunities for all Performers:
As usual, the Performing Arts Division was busy during convention, raising expectations for blind performers and making connections across the country and even internationally.

We kicked off #NFB21 with an excellent concert on July 6. “One Voice: #StrongerTogether” was an evening full of exquisite blind talent across many genres, from folk to opera, R&B to jazz, hosted by the ever-witty Anil Lewis and Ryan Strunk. The show included performers from across North America, showing that we are truly stronger together as we break down barriers both on and off the stage.

On July 8 we had a jampacked division meeting, full of stimulating presentations. President Riccobono spoke about using our skills to help build the Federation, and we had a variety of reports from our board about our work this past year, including updates on our Spotlight newsletter, Scene Change podcast, “Singing Telegram” fundraiser, and how to connect with us on social media.

Two organizations with similar goals attended and spoke at our meeting. First we heard from Myrna Clayton from SHOWAbility seeking to represent blind and disabled talent in her agency, followed by Dr. Ranjini Kaushik with SciArtsRUs and the Artabilities 4 All Initiative, with whom we collaborated on a concert in September.

Even though our meeting was virtual, we still found a way to facilitate networking and personal connections among our members by using the Zoom breakout room feature. We had some great discussions about our personal goals as performers, obstacles we have faced, and what we hope to see happen in the division this year.

The pièce de résistance was our live recording of the Scene Change podcast during the last portion of the afternoon. Our vice president and host of the podcast, Lizzy Muhammad-Park, facilitated an excellent discussion all about audio description with our three all-star panelists: Dr. Joel Snyder, Roy Samuelson, and Everette Bacon, each offering unique and expert perspectives on audio description as both creators and consumers. You can find this episode and all our other podcasts by searching for Scene Change on your favorite podcaster, such as Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Again this year, Rachel Grider spearheaded another virtual choir. Musicians recorded their parts remotely, they were edited and compiled by Kyle Woodruff, and the pieces were premiered during general session and banquet. Distance cannot stop us from living the lives we want.

We continue to make strides forward in our division as blind performers, weather professional or hobbyist, musician or actor, on or behind stage and screen, and we hope that you will consider joining us to further increase equality and opportunity for all blind performers. Come connect with us on our website at
Spanish Interest Form for Braille Books:
Our partners at the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults provide free Braille books to thousands of blind children each year and are seeking interested participants for Braille books in Spanish. If you know someone who could benefit from Spanish Braille books, please share this link:

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.

Touch of Genius Prize Accepting Applications:
The Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation is taking applications for year 2022. Applications are due January 14, 2022. The prize was developed to inspire entrepreneurs, educators, or inventors to continue the promotion of Braille and tactile literacy for blind and deafblind people worldwide. This prize can be granted for innovative and accessible computer software applications, tactile hardware, or curriculum that promotes Braille and/or tactile literacy. National Braille Press (NBP) encourages all applicants to think outside the box about what can be used to help improve the lives of blind people. Even if you have applied in previous years, we encourage you to apply again!

The winner of this prize will receive up to $10,000, which will help them to continue to innovate in the fields of technology and education for blind people. NBP is very grateful to the Gibney Family Foundation, who helped us fund and establish this award in 2007, inspiring people to go beyond what was thought possible. During this time, the award has gained recognition around the world and is now funded by National Braille Press.

Full application details, FAQs, and more information can be found at

All questions can be directed to Heather MacLeod at [email protected]. Thank you for your support!

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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