Braille Monitor                  January 2022

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Conventions Are for All of Us

by Chris Westbrook

Chris WestbrookFrom the Editor: Chris is a frequent contributor, and for that we are all benefited significantly. He lives in Pennsylvania, and in this short article he encourages people to attend both state and national conventions of the Federation. So many people decide the Federation promises are for real when they attend state and national gatherings. Until then they assume what we have is good reading, but the convention experience says that these Federationists and their claim of what can be done are for real. Here is what Chris has to say:

As some of you may know from my previous Braille Monitor entries, I am deafblind. I wear a hearing aid in one ear and a cochlear implant in the other. I also must use a quad cane in addition to the white cane. A quad cane is a cane with four feet at the bottom that assists with balance. Despite these challenges, I have been able to enjoy myself at many state conventions, particularly the one I just returned from. I always found a helping hand whether it was from hotel staff or other Federationists, blind or sighted. I much prefer to go with a human guide where I can because I can only be on my feet so long before they start hurting, and I found this choice met with no judgment and real understanding by all Federationists I met. Whether it was attending our deafblind division meeting or a talent show, there was plenty to do.

I would really encourage any Federationist to come to a state convention, even if you think national convention is beyond your abilities. The state convention is a great way to get involved in the Federation and see firsthand how the organization works. I hope all Federationists can experience the nonjudgmental, helping attitude that I experience over and over again here in Pennsylvania. May we all help each other live the lives we want.

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