THE BRAILLE MONITOR
Vol. 31, No. 4 May-June, 1988
Barbara Pierce, Editor
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THE BRAILLE MONITOR
PUBLICATION OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
Vol. 31, No. 4 May-June, 1988
FURTHER OUTRAGE IN THE
AIRLINE MADNESS: PEGGY PINDER ARRESTED
by Kenneth Jernigan
ARREST PUTS FOCUS ON RIGHTS OF BLIND
WHO HATE MORE ABOUT THE AIRLINES
by Kenneth Jernigan
LETTER FROM JUSTIN DART
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AT CARL'S JR. RESTAURANTS
WORKSHOP: BAD MANAGEMENT, "QUALITY SERVICES," AND NAC
by Charlie Brown
UNDER ONE ROOF
by Stephen Benson
FOCUS ON THE EDUCATION
OF BLIND CHILDREN
by Kenneth Jernigan
MANY VISUALLY IMPAIRED YOUTHS SPURN LEARNING BRAILLE
BRAILLE ON THE JOB
by Alfred Maneki
SUPPLY OF BRAILLE BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE BY BLIND INDIVIDUALS MAY SOON INCREASE
RESPONSE TO RADIO READING ARTICLE
THE PROMISE OF CYCLOSPORINE
LETTER FROM THE PHILIPPINES
BACK DOOR POLITICS AND HIDDEN AGENDAS
GAIN INCLUSION IN THE CALIFORNIA CIVIL RIGHTS LAW AND THE SOUTHLAND CORPORATION
LEARNS ABOUT BLINDNESS
by Sharon Gold
SOCIAL SECURITY: EMPHASIS
ON VENDORS, BUT FACTS EVERY BLIND PERSON
by James Gashel
HOWARD BARTON'S CONTACT WITH SOCIAL SECURITY
SOCIAL SECURITY AND TRIAL
WORK: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW
by James Gashel
SPORTS WRITER GETS RESPONSE
by Kenneth Jernigan
ON THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE
WHAT PARENTS AND CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BLINDNESS AND INDEPENDENCE
by Barbara Cheadle
GAME AND EDUCATIONAL CENTER AVAILABLE TO THE BLIND
COMMENTS ON MAX RAFFERTY, RICHARD HOOVER, AND FATHER CARROLL
by Curtis Chong
WILLIE LUMPLUMP SPECIAL
Copyright, National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1988
FURTHER OUTRAGE IN THE AIRLINE MADNESS PEGGY PINDER ARRESTED
by Kenneth Jernigan
Thursday, March 31, 1988, began as a normal day at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore. Jim Gashel and President Maurer were scheduled to participate in a press conference at the Capitol to discuss improvements in federal rehabilitation; orders of appliances and materials were being packaged for shipment throughout the country; work was going forward on the May Monitor; plans were being finalized for the national convention in Chicago; I was dealing with correspondence and telephone calls; and the place was alive with the usual stir of bustle and activity. All of that was to change, however, before the beginning of another day.
Some time after I got home Thursday evening, I received a call from Peggy Pinder. She said she was at police headquarters at Washington National Airport, having just been arrested and bodily removed from an airplane. My first concern was to determine whether Peggy had been physically abused or injured. Then, I asked for the facts. Peggy had been in Washington on Thursday to talk to the Republican National Committee about how participation by blind persons in the mainstream of American life could be increased. At the time she had no idea that before the day was finished she would be a graphic illustration of what she had been talking about.
She was scheduled to leave Washington for Chicago on Midway Airlines at something after six o'clock in the evening. When she arrived at Washington National, she found that Midway had overbooked its earlier one o'clock plane and that frustrated passengers who had hoped to go to Chicago on that flight were still waiting. Midway had also oversold its mid-afternoon flight, adding anger and numbers to the confusion. One does not have to have a vivid imagination to picture the scene at Midway's counter as the time for the six o'clock flight approached. Midway officials must have received more than one abusive tongue-lashing, which they felt powerless to do anything about. Then, comes Peggy Pinder (a blind person). She was already ticketed, so she went directly to the gate area, where she was told that there would be open seating (passengers could sit where they liked) and that she would be preboarded. She politely replied that she would take her place in line and board with the rest of the passengers.
While she was in line, Midway officials came three times to demand (with ever increasing loudness and anger) that she allow them to preboard her. The third time she was told that she would either allow herself to be preboarded immediately or that she would be refused passage at all. In view of the antidiscrimination legislation passed by Congress last year and the fact that there is no federal rule or Midway policy requiring preboarding, this was undoubtedly (whether we can get it enforced or not) a violation of federal law.
Nevertheless, Peggy (wishing to avoid trouble and needing to return home) bowed to the pressure, left her place in line, and walked onto the plane. However, she told the flight attendant at the door that she felt Midway had no right to subject her to public abuse and humiliation in the presence of other passengers and to force her (in violation of federal law) to preboard against her will. The flight attendant had only an angry sputter for answer, but by the time Peggy had got halfway toward the back of the plane, Midway had rallied its force. A flight attendant blocked the aisle to give her an unwanted and untruthful lecture. She said that the reason it was necessary for Peggy to be preboarded was so that she could be given a special briefing, which is very elaborate and time-consuming. This, of course, as any experienced air traveler knows, is nonsense. The so-called special briefing which flight attendants sometimes insist on giving to blind persons may (if one is slow about it) take twenty seconds, not to mention which Peggy Pinder has probably flown more miles and is more familiar with the emergency features of commercial airplanes than most flight attendants. Seeing no point in engaging in an argument, Peggy simply moved by the flight attendant and proceeded toward the back of the plane, where she met still another flight attendant who was standing in the aisle giving a speech to a group of high school students who had also been preboarded. She said that Peggy could sit where she was, but Peggy indicated that she wished to go on to the back to sit in the smoking section. The flight attendant then moved aside, and Peggy went to the smoking section and took her seat. While she was still in the gate area (before ever boarding the plane) Peggy had met a student from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, who had walked onto the plane with her and who continued with her until the plane left. After she and the naval student were seated, a man identifying himself as the captain approached her. Without preamble or explanation he told her in a loud angry voice (this is a paraphrase, not an exact quote): You will sit wherever you are told, and I don't intend to debate the matter with you. To this rather astonishing performance Peggy responded by asking for his name, which he angrily gave her.
After this self-announced captain left, another Midway official angrily ordered Peggy to move to another seat, one near to an exit. When she said that there was no law or regulation requiring her to move, he replied (again, a paraphrase, not a quote): You heard what the captain said. I don't intend to debate it with you. You can either move or get off the plane.
As Monitor readers know, airline officials ordinarily try to order blind people not to sit in exit rowsand sometimes not even near exit rows. Therefore, if one were to try to explain rationally the order of the Midway official, it would be hard to know how to begin. But one of the few virtues of arbitrary behavior is that it requires no explanation, rational or otherwise. In any case Peggy declined to move. Some time during these events one of the flight attendants came to Peggy's seat and attempted to apologize for the unpleasantness which had occurred, but this was not the general pattern. Soon police came onto the plane, and Peggy was bodily carried off. While this was happening, she heard one of the high school students exclaim in astonishment that it was reminiscent of the 1960's. Also, one of the passengers had a camera and took pictures. The police asked the passenger for his name and his intention. The passenger declined to give either, and the police desistedunlike their treatment of Peggy. Peggy was removed from the plane without her cane or luggage and left traumatized to lean against the way in the jetway. The naval student brought her cane and luggage to her and apologized for not staying with her through the remainder of the ordeal. He said that it was necessary for him to take the flight.
Peggy was taken to police headquarters in the airport, kept waiting for an hour, and then charged with criminal trespass. At this stage she was permitted to call me. We agreed that she could come to the National Center for the Blind to spend the night and that we would do what we could to alert the press and the public to what had happened. Charlie Brown, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia, contacted a Washington Post reporter, who in turn called Peggy. On Friday morning (perhaps not inappropriately, April 1st) Peggy, President Maurer, and Jim Gashel considered what to do. We agreed that we would divide the task. Peggy, Jim Gashel, and President Maurer would go to Washington, and I would remain at the center to deal with the press. Friday was a busy day. As Federationists know, Senator Hollings and six other senators and Congressman Traficant and more than seventy other members of the House have introduced our bill to make it illegal to determine where a person may sit on a commercial aircraft on the basis of visual acuity. One of the things which Peggy and the others hoped to accomplish in Washington was to alert the members of Congress to what had happened. Also, Peggy would attempt to return to the Republican National Committee to tell them her story. Then, there was the meeting at 2:00 with Secretary of Transportation James Burnley.
The meeting with Secretary Burnley had been scheduled earlier so that we could seek his support in our battle against airline discrimination, but that meeting had been canceled and rescheduled for April 1st. It now seemed only sensible for Peggy to accompany Jim Gashel and President Maurer to Burnley's office. If there was ever a graphic illustration of the problem, surely this was it.
The group left for Washington; Mrs. Maurer began to call members of the press; and I settled down to begin a nonstop fielding of incoming calls. During the day I spoke several times with the Associated Press, United Press, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, ABC, and too many others to remember. Some of the media representatives began to give me Midway's version. The airline claimed that they had been reasonable and had tried to persuade Peggy but that she had been hostile and rude. They said she had refused to let them give her a briefing. They said they were merely concerned with her safety.
Some time during the course of the day Steve Benson, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, told me that he had reason to believe that Neil Hartigan (the Attorney General of Illinois) would be interested in investigating the matter since Midway is headquartered in Chicago. It will be remembered that Attorney General Hartigan ruled several months ago that seating restrictions by airlines based on blindness are a violation of the law. How refreshing it would be if a public official would disregard society's misconceptions and pressure by the airlines, choosing instead to enforce the law and treat blind persons like other American citizens. Attorney General Hartigan may be the person do it.
It is now Saturday, April 2, 1988, and I am riding in a car toward Chicago writing this article. I carry with me an affidavit from Peggy Pinder. It will be given to Steve Benson for delivery to Attorney General Hartigan on Monday morning. I have not seen the results of our efforts with the press; and, of course, I do not know what the outcome with the attorney general will be. We take it day by day, and we do what we can. I have related these events in as straightforward and unemotional manner as I know how. This does not mean that I take lightly the gravity of the situation. If what happened to Peggy Pinder can go unchallenged and unpunished, no blind person in this country is safe from the whim and caprice of arbitrary treatment. Any blind person who thinks that he or she is free from the taint of second-class citizenship is engaging in self-delusion. We have advanced far enough up the stairs toward equality that we are now at a crisis point, and even if we wanted to, we could not long remain where we are. We will either fairly soon make a breakthrough and move on toward the top, or we will be pushed back toward our ancient depths of second-class status. The issue is not simply where we sit on a plane or even the overall pattern of airline discrimination but whether sighted society can be persuaded to accept us as ordinary capable human beingswith all of the rights, dignity, and responsibility which that concept implies. The fact that I have spoken without passion does not mean that I feel any less deeply. If I thought it would do any good, I would take to the streets with club and fist, but I know that it would not. Somehow we must get people's attention and make them stop long enough to examine the facts and think rationally. If we can do this, we will be all right. When people understand, they support what we are doing and work with us. The prejudice and misconceptions come from ignorance, not malice. It is up to each of us to work on a daily basis to create the climate of acceptance which we seek and deserve as free American citizens.
As I conclude this article, I want to share with you Peggy Pinder's affidavit. Her understatement does not conceal the indignity, outrage, and pain to which she was subjected. As you read, ask yourself (if you are a woman) how you would have felt if you had been handled by the policeman in the way that she was handled, and with no more provocation than she gave. If you are a man, ask yourself the same question. Go a step beyond: Ask yourself what you would have done in the circumstances. What would the cost to you emotionally have been if you had behaved as Peggy behaved? Alternatively, what would it have been if you had meekly submitted?
There are no easy answers, and there is no way to avoid the issue. Based on our action or lack of action, we will be judged by those who come after us, by our fellow blind, and (perhaps most important of all) by ourselves. That which distinguishes human from animal is delicate and irrevocable. Here is Peggy Pinder's affidavit. Read it, and decide for yourself in your own conscience what you must do or refrain from doing:
Comes now Peggy Pinder and deposes and states as follows:
(1) My name is Peggy Pinder. My address is 814 4th Avenue, Suite 200, Grinnell, Iowa 50112.
(2) I am totally blind. I use a long white flexible travel cane to assist me in moving independently. I travel anywhere I want to unassisted. I fly on commercial airlines frequently.
(3) For several years I have been involved in the Republican Party. On Thursday, March 31, 1988, I went to Washington, D.C., to meet with the chairman and staff of the Republican National Committee. The meeting was called by the chairman. A discussion was held to explore ways of increasing participation of disabled persons in Republican Party activities and of increasing party involvement in issues of interest to disabled persons.
(4) My departure from Washington was scheduled for Thursday evening March 31, at 6:30 p.m. on board Midway Airlines Flight 179, from Washington National Airport to Chicago. But flight personnel of Midway Airlines denied me the air transportation for which I had made proper payment.
(5) Shortly before the flight was expected to be announced for boarding I joined the line of other passengers who were preparing to board. Seating was open on the flight. On at least three occasions agents for Midway Airlines had suggested that I preboard Flight 179. I informed each of them that I was capable of boarding with all of the other passengers and would not require any assistance. Eventually while I was standing in line an agent from the airline approached me and insisted that I come with her in order to preboard the aircraft. I told her that preboarding would not be necessary, and I could walk on with all of the other passengers. But the agent responded by insisting that preboarding was necessary. She told me that the flight crew would not allow me on the flight unless I boarded before all of the other passengers. She said that twice. Under this threat I left the passenger line and accompanied the agent, passing by all of the other passengers ahead of me in the line.
(6) One of the people that I had met in the boarding area accompanied me on board the plane during the preboarding. His name was Ted Alexander. He was traveling to Chicago from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. When we arrived on board the aircraft I was met by two female members of the flight crew who lectured me about the need to preboard as I was doing. They also said that I would have to receive a special briefing by federal law. I stated that I objected to preboarding and that it was not a legal requirement. I did not comment on the issue of a briefing.
(7) I proceeded to locate a seat near the back of the aircraft in the smoking section. Ted Alexander accompanied me. We seated ourselves two rows from the back of the plane. A flight attendant who was standing nearby informed me that the seat I had chosen was in the smoking section, which I wanted. I was in the window seat on the left-hand side as you approach the back of the plane. I sat down and buckled my seatbelt.
(8) Several minutes then passed during which everything on the airplane seemed peaceful. As far as I was concerned the unpleasant incident was over. The seat I had chosen was not near an overwing exit. I knew of no issue that could possibly be made of my seat selection. My objective was simply to sit in my seat and fly to Chicago. One of the flight attendants from the front of the plane actually came back to my seat to offer an apology for the preboarding unpleasantness.
(9) After a delay of several minutes during which the other passengers were boarding, a person who identified himself to me as the captain of the Midway flight came back to talk to me. He told me in a loud voice that I would have to sit wherever the flight crew told me to sit, otherwise I would not be allowed to fly on his plane. I responded to the captain by asking for his name. He told me it was Captain DeRoule. I was surprised at his reference to a seating requirement since there had not been a dispute over my seat selection.
(10) I made no reply to the captain. He repeated his message and left abruptly.
(11) Then another agent for the airline came to instruct me to move to a seat near a floor-level exit. I asked why, and the agent replied that he did not have to give me a reason as the captain had already told me, and he was not going to argue with me. I must either move or leave. I explained that as an attorney familiar with the law I knew there was no legal requirement for me to move to another seat. The agent said again that he would not argue the point. He said that both you and I heard the captain and that was the end of it. I would have to move. This, I said, was not required.
(12) By this time I believe that there were two police officers on board the aircraft. They entered into a discussion with the Midway personnel. They were trying to find a company policy that I was violating. They were flipping pages through what was referred to as a policy manual. Someone said, Try under safety. Finally they brought me a policy that stated that the blind should be seated next to a floor level exit. This policy was shown to Ted, who proceeded to point out that the policy said should, not must. At some point around this time, a flight attendant tried to explain to me why sitting on the aisle was for my own safety.
(13) At this point one of the officers approached me and entered the row in which I was seated. The officer asked me if I would move, and I responded with the same answer as previously described. The officer then placed his hand on my shoulder as if to require me to stand and said, Stand up. I did not move. He then reached over and unbuckled my seatbelt. He lifted me from my seat and physically moved me into the aisle. At this point I stood up and waited for the officer's next action.
(14) The officer positioned himself behind me and lifted me from the floor. He accomplished this by reaching his arms around me from behind and placed his hands on my breasts. From this position he lifted me from the floor and carried me off the plane, at one point saying Jesus Christ.
(15) When we reached the jetway, just outside the aircraft, the officer put me down. Ted Alexander, who had been seated next to me and had accompanied me on the plane, brought my baggage off and put it beside me in the jetway. Throughout the incident he was very disturbed with the behavior of the airline personnel. He apologized to me for leaving me at this point, explaining that he needed to take the flight.
(16) The officer escorted me from the jetway to the police station in National Airport. Captain DeRoule had made the complaint that led to my arrest. More than an hour passed while the officers did paper work. I was charged with criminal trespass and released.
(17) While asserting my legal rights on board the air plane, I maintained a posture of calmness. I found the personal confrontation emotionally upsetting. I was also upset by being physically carried from the plane and having my breasts grasped. I did nothing to provoke this physical abuse and violation of my person, yet the officer took control over my body.
(18) To the best of my recollection, the foregoing statements accurately describe the events that occurred when I was denied transportation on Midway Airlines Flight 179.
Dated at Baltimore, Maryland, this 1st day of April, 1988.
State of Maryland, City of Baltimore.
On this 1st day of April, 1988, before me, the undersigned officer, personally appeared Peggy Pinder, known to me (or satisfactorily proven) to be the person whose name is subscribed to within this instrument and acknowledged that he executed the same for the purposes therein contained. In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and official seal.
Mary Ellen Thompson
My commission expires July 1, 1990
ARREST PUTS FOCUS ON RIGHTS OF BLIND
(This article appeared in the April 3, 1988, New York Times.)
Removed From Airliner After Refusing to Change Seats, Lawyer Vows to Fight
Advocates of rights for the blind, angered by what they contend is the government's failure to enforce an anti- discrimination law, said they will make a test case out of the arrest of a blind lawyer who was forcibly removed from an airplane when she refused to change seats.
The lawyer, Peggy Pinder of Grinnell, Iowa, was arrested at National Airport outside Washington on Thursday. She was charged with criminal trespassing for declining the captain's order to sit at the front of the aircraft near an emergency exit. Miss Pinder said she preferred to stay seated in the smoking section at the rear of the DC-9 aircraft.
Miss Pinder, a vice president of the National Federation of the Blind who is active in Republican politics, was in Washington to discuss with national party officials the problems blind people face when they travel by air.
A Question of Seating
Seating policies that discriminate against the blind are not unusual, Federation officials say. Many airlines contend that blind people should not be seated near emergency exits where they could impede the safe evacuation of other passengers in a crisis. Blind people say they should have the right to sit anywhere on a plane and note that a 1986 federal law bars airlines from discriminating against the handicapped. Miss Pinder's case is unusual because Midway Airlines, the airline on which she was flying, wanted her to sit near an exit door where an airline spokeswoman said she could easily escape in an emergency.
A Midway Airlines spokeswoman, Sandra Allen, said it is the airline's policy to seat all handicapped people in the first row of the plane near where they can be easily evacuated. According to both the spokeswoman and Miss Pinder, after she refused to switch seats the airport police were called to remove her from the plane. The flight took off without her after the delay.
Dozens of Arrests
Whether it's a test case or whether we picket the airlines, it's got to stop so we can fly like other people, said Miss Pinder, 34, who has been blind since she was a teen-ager. She was on Midway Flight 179 to Chicago on her way home to Iowa. In the last several years dozens of blind airline passengers have been arrested and hundreds of others have been forcibly removed from planes in disputes over seating, Federation officials said. None of those arrested have been convicted, they said. Marc Maurer, President of the Federation, said the organization hopes the courts would decide through Miss Pinder's case whether airlines have the right to instruct blind passengers where to sit.
The federal law preventing discrimination against the disabled by airlines has not been put into effect because the Department of Transportation has not issued regulations for it.
In November representatives of the Federation walked out of government-sponsored negotiations with the airline industry that were being conducted to formulate the regulations. The Federation said the Federal Aviation Administration acted in bad faith by declaring the matter a safety issue and saying it would eventually formulate its own rules on seating policies. Meanwhile the agency recommends that blind people not be seated in next-to-emergency exits, an FAA spokesman, Fred Farrar, said. On Friday Mr. Maurer, Miss Pinder, and another Federation official met with Transportation Secretary James Burnley to try to resume the discussions. Mr. Burnley asked the Federation to continue negotiations but did not promise that the department would issue regulations prohibiting airlines from seating blind people, said Matthew V. Scocozza, the department's assistant secretary for policy.
Mr. Maurer said he was disappointed with the outcome of the forty-minute meeting. I think it is reasonable for the Department of Transportation Secretary to say he will enforce the law, he said. If the government will not respond to a law passed by Congress, you wonder why you've got the government. Miss Pinder is scheduled to appear on May 19 in Arlington, Virginia, for arraignment on the trespass charge.
FOR THOSE WHO HATE
MORE ABOUT THE AIRLINES
by Kenneth Jernigan
We have often said that no group ever goes from second-class status to first-class citizenship in society without passing through a period of hostility. It was true of the blacks (and still is, to some extent); it was true of the Irish in America, and also the Jews; and it is certainly true of the blind. As long as we who are blind stay in our places (being very meek, very docile, very grateful, very humble, and very pooryes, that too), no one will hate us. In fact, they will, in a twisted sort of way, love us. But when we begin to say that we want the right to earn a dollar instead of just being given a quarter, the situation changes. Indeed, when we talk about rights at all, a certain percentage of the population will get its hackles up. After all, who do blind people think they are? From the way they talk these days, you would think they thought they were equal to the sighted. Well, yesas a matter of fact, we do. When members of the general population start down this road (whether they are dealing with the blind, with blacks, or with some other minority), they pass quickly from mild hostility to downright hatred and bitterness. In fact, the hatred and bitterness are likely to be in direct proportion to the progress which the minority is making and the decreasing numbers of the haters. And history teaches us that there is no way for the members of a minority to avoid this period of hatred on its road from inferior status to equality.
We who are blind are now passing through this period of social hostility, and (far from being discouraged by it) we should recognize it as a mark of our progress. Regardless of how gently or courteously we express our belief that we are entitled to the same rights and privileges as other Americans, we are bound to create a certain amount of resentment. It is not that we want people to hate us. It is simply that the alternative is worse. And on the other side of hostility is first-class citizenship; for when sighted people understand who we are and what we are trying to accomplish, they invariably support us and wish us well. It has happened over and over in individual cases, and it is beginning to happen with society as a whole. All one need do for evidence is to consider where we are today and where we were ten years ago. There is no comparison. Of course, the National Federation of the Blind is the force which has made it all happen. Therefore, naturally the National Federation of the Blind is the focal point for the hostility and hatred. How could it be otherwise? So let us rejoice not because a certain number of people hate us but because the number is diminishing, and because, hopefully, we will soon be through the zone of hostility and moving forward on the other side.
Why have I given you this miniature treatise on sociology? Not, you may be sure, just to generalize. I have done it to place in perspective a letter which I have just received concerning our dealings with the airlines. Increasingly the letters and reactions we get on that topic are positive and favorablenoticeably so, not just from year to year but even from month to month. However, there are still those who express bitterness toward us because of our attempts to achieve equal treatment. Observe the classic signs of bigotry and cowardice in the following letter. The individual refuses to give his or her name and heaps abuse upon the heads of the blind as a class. We are morons, and sighted people will not want to stay in the same hotel with us. You will observe that the person also tells me I will not want to print his or her letter in the Monitor. To which I reply:
Wrong! I want to print it for all to read. The blind are finished with humbly taking abuse and not making public response. Whoever you are, your letter will be read by tens of thousands of Monitor readers. It will stand as a memorial to the bigotry and prejudice which we continue to fight, our determination to achieve equal status in society, and to the progress we are making. You have made our case better than we could have made it ourselves. Read your own words, and see whether they inspire you with pride. Certainly we who are blind will read themand they will blaze forth as a rallying point.
One thing more: We do not return hate for hate and bitterness for bitterness. We wish you well and hope life will be good to you. On the off chance that you may be blind instead of sighted, we especially wish you well. We understand why certain blind people still cling to the old ways and why they feel hatred toward us. Whichever way it is, you have our good wishes. Here is your letter, just as you wrote it:
Postmarked March 29, 1988
Postmarked on the other side of the envelope March 31, 1988
I know that you will not print this letter in the Braille Monitor but I have to write it anyway.
Mr. Robert Greenberg's article on February-March page 119 to 122 'My Flight From Discrimination' has set back the efforts of blind citizens wanting to be part of America's mainstream by at least ten years (my guess).
Top right hand paragraph page 121. The general public will not be ashamed laterthey will repeat the account about missing their connections, their appointments, etc. to families, friends, etc. spreading the story far and wide about what self centered, unreal people, the blind actually are in contact with their peers. Top left page 122 as if the whole world turned dark with hatredthat is Mr. Robert Greenberg's contribution toward improving the rights of the blindturn the sighted world against the blind.
It's no wonder that many sighted people stay away from the blind, in stores, on street corners, etc. They may run into a real creep like Mr. Greenberg. I hope that I never fly on the same plane, go into the same store, or attend anything that Mr. Greenberg or anyone like him may attend. People will begin checking into airlines and hotels like get me a flight or/and hotel without blind people because of Mr. Greenberg's article. He has no consideration of other persons rights. His right had to supersede 200 other persons on that flightwhat a selfish brat! His mother should be slapped for bearing him.
I will not sign this as I do not give my name to persons that I do not want to be associated with based on their morronic (sic) actions. Sign me, Staying Away From Stupidity
LETTER FROM JUSTIN DART
(As Federationists know, Justin Dart spoke at the convention of the National Federation of the Blind last summer in Phoenix. At that time he was Federal Commissioner of Rehabilitation.)
April 2, 1988
Mr. David Hinson
Dear Mr. Hinson:
It is my understanding that on the evening of March 31 Ms. Peggy Pinder was arrested and physically removed from a Midway Airlines Chicago flight at Washington National Airport when she refused to move to another seat. I understand that she was clearly entitled to the seat she was occupying and was asked to move only because she is blind. Ms. Pinder, a distinguished American who is Second Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind, was in Washington to represent her organization at a meeting with Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf. It would appear that Ms. Pinder's personal dignity and basic human rights have been violated.
As the coordinator of the meeting she had attended, I am profoundly embarrassed. As a person with a disability who has served in five state level and three Presidentially appointed positions in the area of disability policy, I know that millions of Americans with disabilities will never be able to achieve their legitimate goal of productive independence until this nation recognizes that disability is a normal characteristic of the human process and that people with disabilities have the same rights and the same responsibilities as other people. I urge you to take whatever action is necessary to effect maximum justice in the case of Ms. Pinder. And I urge you particularly to join with all who love the great dream of 1776 to make the changes in attitudes, public and private policy, law, regulation, and practice necessary to insure that people with disabilities are liberated from the ancient bonds of prejudice, paternalism, and pity and enabled to achieve their full potential as productive citizens of the first class. I would be happy to discuss specific opportunities with you at a time of mutual convenience.
Justin Dart, Jr.
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AT CARL'S JR. RESTAURANTS
This article appeared in the Summer, 1987, Blind Citizen, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of California.
Carl Karcher Enterprises, owner of Carl's Jr. Restaurants, is interested in offering more of its positions to blind people and is working with the National Federation of the Blind of California to accomplish this goal. Bruce Raterink, Director of Management Development for Carl Karcher Enterprises, attended the 1987 convention of the National Federation of the Blind of California and spoke concerning the efforts of Carl's Jr. to create employment opportunities for the blind. Here are Mr.
I am not going to tell you what the government is or is not doing. I'm going to tell you about big juicy hamburgers and crisp french fries and cold cokes. I would like to talk to you about our company (who we are and where we have restaurants) and to describe for your our menu and our preparation procedures. Then I'll tell you about some of the experiences we've had with the employment of the blind in our restaurants. Unfortunately we are still in the infancy stage in terms of employment of the blind, but I am really encouraged by some of the things which are happening. After speaking with some of the people in the NFB of California, I now know we can do a lot more than what we have done in the past. First of all, we are a chain of 380 company-owned restaurants and approximately 45 franchise restaurants in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon. Our basic menu is predominantly hamburgers, but we also cater to a wide variety of tastes with roast beef sandwiches, fish sandwiches, and our stuffed baked potatoes. A year and a half ago we introduced our charbroiled chicken sandwiches, which have been a big hit with the American Heart Association because of the skinless charbroiled chicken used in these sandwiches on honey wheat buns.
We have a wide array of side orders such as deep-fried zucchini, french fries, and onion rings. We also have a serve-yourself salad bar, and we are introducing serve- yourself drink stations. We have a full breakfast menu with scrambled eggs served with bacon or sausage, as well as a sunrise sandwich served on an English muffin with egg and a choice of bacon or sausage. Some of our restaurants are open twenty-four hours. The majority open at 6:00 in the morning, close at 10:00 or 11:00 in the evening, later on Friday and Saturday nights. Our restaurants are designed with an inside dining area, as well as a drive-through service. We charbroil our sandwiches on a conveyorized charbroiler. What that means is that you do not have to put the meat on a charbroiler, watch it to see when to turn it, and time it. We set the meat on a conveyorized belt that travels between flame burners which cook the meat on both sides at the same time, and the meat comes off at the other end. This makes for consistency and an easier operation. We also have deep fat fryers in which we cook our french fries and other side orders. We use microwave and conventional ovens, as well as a breakfast grill on which we cook our bacon, eggs, and sausages.
Each restaurant employs from thirty to forty people. There may be as many as eighteen to twenty people during a busy period or as few as three during a slow periodin the late nights or the middle of the afternoon.
Our employees take an order on a computerized cash register system that compiles the order and automatically relays it to a printer on our back line. This cash register system also controls all of our labor and food cost information and prints management reports for the manager of each restaurant. Through our telephone lines the system transmits the management reports from our local restaurants to Anaheim, where the reports are printed for use in our corporate headquarters. Of course, we have employees at the various stations in the restaurants from the cook's corner, to french fries, to our dining room service. We are unique in the fast-food industry in that once you have placed your order at the counter we give you a table number that you set on your table so we can bring the food out to you when it is ready. Usually, all of our employees start as entry-level employees at minimum wage positions, which we traditionally fill with high school students. One of the reasons I am here today is because Sharon Gold called me and asked me to talk about some of the things we are doing at Carl's Jr. in the employment of the blind. Statistics show us that the rate of growth of all the fast-food restaurants, which traditionally employ high school students, is growing at a rate faster than the number of available high school students. By the year 1990 we are going to be at odds with employment. We need more people, and that is why I am hereto talk about some of the opportunities available. Our restaurants also employ restaurant managers, assistant managers, and crew leaders, depending on the sales volume of the restaurant.
Our experience with employment of the blind goes back about six or seven years. We were contacted by a young blind lady in Anaheim who came through a local agency. We said, We think there is an opportunity here. Are you willing to work with us? Fortunately, we had a restaurant manger who was very excited about hiring her and said, Let's see what we can do. I'm not sure, but let's try.
Our computerized cash registers utilize a plastic overlay on the keyboard that we can easily change and update as we change menu items or products. A Braille overlay was made. The blind lady took the overlay home and learned where the different items were on the keyboard. This blind lady came to work during one of our slow periods and began learning to use our drive-through intercom system. The blind lady started by taking orders. In other words, as a car pulled up, she was the person who answered the telephone. She would then ring the order into the cash register. This blind lady is still with us. She now might be in the back cutting up vegetables for the salad bar, in the storeroom getting cups and lids to bring up front, making drinks for the drive-through, or taking items out to stock the salad bar. Gradually, we have learned that some of the limitations about blind persons that we automatically imposed in our minds aren't really there.
I do not have the exact number of our restaurants that employ the blind, since employment of the blind happens naturally, and we just don't know about them. I personally know of half a dozen. I was the regional director in Orange County for the fifty-five restaurants in that area, so I met some of the blind employees working there. So far we are experimenting with voice synthesizers on our cash registers. When an item is pressed, the synthesizer tells the blind person the item and the total. The voice output is working pretty well, but we have had some mechanical problems on which we are working. We also have a bill identifier in that restaurant, so now the blind employee is taking orders, passing out food, and making change. She also very much wants to be a crew leader. I'm going to be very honest and tell you that we are not sure, so we are taking it one step at a time. She is learning all that she needs to do as she goes along. We are still in the infancy stage in working with the blind, but we are very encouraged by what we see. From what you have said to me, I know you will appreciate that any employment opportunity with Carl's Jr. is open to anyone who has the capabilities. We are not automatically going to employ someone because he or she is blind, but we will not automatically not employ someone because of blindness. Obviously we are looking for employees who are friendly, outgoing, and have the ability to communicate with the customers. These qualities will decide whether that person is employed or not. Hopefully I have been able to share with you a little of what we are doing to open up opportunities of employment not only with us but perhaps with other fast food restaurants as well which may or may not employ the blind. If other fast- food restaurants in your neighborhood haven't employed any blind yet, tell them what Carl's Jr. is doing and get them on the bandwagon. One of the things that one of our blind employees is doing now with her bill identifier and voice synthesizer is taking orders at the front counter, not just the drive-through. We have found her to have a real advantage in the drive-through using the phone, because she is used to talking to people she cannot see. She sells better using her voice than sighted employees who cannot communicate as well using the phone device. When she works the front counter, we note that there are many people who get in her line, since they are fascinated with her work.
THE RICHMOND WORKSHOP:
BAD MANAGEMENT, QUALITY SERVICES, AND NAC
by Charlie Brown
This article appears in the January, 1988, Newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia. As Federationists know, Charlie Brown is NFBV President. The information and statistics revealed in the article should be the occasion for shock and surprise. The fact that they are not is indicative of the widespread problems which exist in the sheltered workshops for the blind throughout the country. Moreover, it is not at all surprising that Virginia Industries for the Blind is accredited by NAC (the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped. In view of NAC's history for the past twenty years one would be surprised if it were otherwise. How long must the blind of this nation endure the kind of conditions which are the everyday commonplace in the shops and which are blessed by NAC in the name of professionalism! It is no exaggeration to say that the term professional, which should be positive and complimentary when applied to employees of programs that are designed to give service to people, has become to the blind of this country a virtual swear worda bitter term of mockery and disillusionment. Here is Charlie Brown's article.
Some time ago Ed Peay, President of our Richmond Chapter, wrote to George Kogar, Deputy Commissioner of the Department for the Visually Handicapped, and asked him thirty questions about the Virginia Industries for the Blind facility located in Richmond. Mr. Kogar answered Ed's questions in a letter Ed received at the end of November of 1987. We think many of you will be interested in Mr. Kogar's responses to the questions. According to Mr. Kogar's letter, there are thirty-three blind workers and two trainees employed in the workshop. All of the blind workers are employed in direct labor. All of the supervisors and management personnel are sighted. Only fifteen of the thirty-five blind workers receive the federal minimum wage. All of the sighted production workers, of course, must receive at least the federal minimum wage. Mr. Kogar also states that The average annual earnings of a production worker is $6,676.80 per year. Remember that this figure includes the relatively higher earnings of the sighted production workers who must be paid the minimum wage. Mr. Kogar goes on to say that The average for nonproduction workers is $11,264.26. Again, remember that all of these folks are sighted. One sometimes wonders if the Virginia Department for the Visually Handicapped is operating a sheltered shop for the sighted rather than a sheltered shop for the blind.
There is the additional matter of layoffs. Mr. Kogar informs us that the industry has laid off blind employees on two occasions over the past three years. No sighted employees were laid off during this time period. The average duration of a layoff for a blind employee would be about eight weeks of intermittent work. In his cover letter Mr. Kogar, to his credit, concedes, The Industry has not been managed well for a long period of time. It will be a slow process to correct all of the problems of the past. In this regard the workshop director was let go last year. Long-time Federationists know that we have been pointing out problems in the workshop for years. Officials have promised us that things would get better. They have not. During all of this time, anyone who pick us up a VDVH brochure or sees the agency letterhead finds proudly displayed the NAC symbol. This symbol proclaims that the agency, and its workshop, was fully accredited. Everything was deemed to be okay. We the blind are just troublemakers. NAC, everyone was told, would assure that blind people would receive quality services. Without NAC who knows what might happen to the VDVH programs? Well, for one thing, people might have paid attention to the problems that exist in the Richmond workshop at lot sooner if VDVH had not chosen to hide behind the fictitious NAC shield. But all that is water over the dam. Yet, what are we, the blind of Virginia, to believe when in spite of everything VDVH Commissioner McCann tells us that he is wedded to NAC?
UNDER ONE ROOF NFB CONVENTION WEEK JULY 2-9, 1988
by Stephen Benson
(This article, with minor changes and additions, appeared in the November, 1987, Month's News, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois.)
In 1975 the NFB's national convention was held at the Palmer House in Chicago. At that time it was the largest gathering of blind people in American history. It was a splendid convention. The Palmer House was, and still is, regarded by many as the aristocrat of hotels. With 2,300 rooms, it was certainly one of the largest hotels to have hosted our convention. To get some flavor of this convention listen to the 1975 banquet speech, Blindness: Is the Public Against Us. Measure its contents against what is occurring today. You will be impressed by the progress we have made. You will, at the same time, be struck by how very much work is yet to be done. As we prepare for our 1988 national convention, it would be a good idea to reread all the banquet speeches since 1975 and the resolutions passed by conventions since 1975. Our organization's history is chronicled in those documents.
National conventions are very different today from 1975. They are longer, larger, and generally more complex. There are more divisions and committees. Attendees are older and younger. More and bigger scholarships are presented. More people are directly involved in the work of the conventions. In 1988 our national convention will be at the Chicago Hyatt Regency Hotel. The facilities are outstanding. As the host affiliate, we will try to make the convention the best we've ever had in every way possible. If we all do our parts, it could be the biggest convention of blind people in the history of this or any nation. Here is what the hotel has to offer. It consists of two towers, one thirty-six stories, the other thirty-eight stories. It contains 2,033 guest rooms and 202 luxury suites. There are five restaurants and three lounges. Believe it or not, the Chicago Hyatt Regency Hotel contains 185,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.
The Grand Ballroom (in the east tower) is 24,500 square feet. The Regency Ballroom (in the west tower) is 6,500 square feet. Wacker Hall, the hotel's exhibition hall, contains 70,000 square feet. There are sixty meeting rooms of all sizes, most of them on three levels below the street. There is an underground walkway (one level below the street) and a skyway (one level above the street) that join the two towers. It is a massive property, but it is all laid out sensibly, mostly in straight lines, and it is all under one roof. The east tower's four-story glass house lobby is a dazzling expanse of light, greenery, waterfalls, a 4,000-square-foot lagoon, and constant motion. On the plaza, or street, level are two restaurantsStetson's (for gourmet dining), and Scampi (a twenty-four-hour, 258-seat European style cafe, serving ethnic and American fare and set on an island in he lagoon); the Center Club (an elegant and intimate lounge); and a gift shop. On the skyway level, just above the plaza, are the hotel registration area, the concierge, gold passport desk, and bell stand. Between the plaza and skyway levels is Rumors, a multi-level lounge. This very comfortable setting is accessible from both plaza and skyway levels. To all of this splendor is added the full, rich sounds of a grand piano. Tuxedoed pianists provide continuous background of classical and popular selections. It lends a genuine touch of class. On the skyway between the two towers is a small restaurant called The Skyway. It is open for breakfast and lunch. Among its specialties are fantastic omelets.
Just inside the west tower, on the skyway level, is Mrs. O'Leary's delicatessen and bar. It features fresh seafood and homestyle dishes in a decor that is reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century Chicago tavern. The French onion soup is out of this world.
On Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the plaza level of the west tower becomes Captain Streeter's Champagne Brunch. The musical background is some of Chicago's finest live jazz. Oh, and the food is very good.
The Hyatt Regency is an integral part of the Illinois Center, one of the largest commercial/office/residential developments in the nation. More than 30,000 people occupy luxury condominiums, and more than 35,000 Chicagoans work in several office buildings each day. The entire complex is connected by indoor and outdoor concourses. There are many eating establishments at Illinois Center, as well as a wide variety of other shops. The hotel is just minutes from an incredible variety of restaurants and tourist attractions. It is almost equidistant from the Loop and the Magnificent Mile, North Michigan Avenue. There is much to see and do in Chicago. The facilities are tremendous, giving ample proof to Chicago's claim as the convention capital of the world.
FOCUS ON THE EDUCATION OF BLIND CHILDREN
by Kenneth Jernigan
There was a time when the education of blind children seemed rather straightforward and uncomplicated. In almost every state there was a residential school, where blind children were educated. The child left home when he or she was six years old, went to the residential school, came home at Christmas (and maybe once or twice besides during the school year), spent summers at home, and graduated from the twelfth grade. In general (and admittedly it is a generality) the academic training was good; the vocational prospects were bleak; and the social contacts with members of the opposite sex were nonexistent or clandestine.
Speaking again in generalities, the blind teenager left high school with a pretty good knowledge of history, geography, and how to use the language; with not much chance for remunerative employment; and with even less chance for a lifetime of normal man-woman relationships. Of course, the average sighted American hasn't done all that well with the man-woman relationships either. In any event it should not be necessary to have to make a choice between a decent education and a decent social life. With respect to career, the schools (whether residential or otherwise) can hardly be blamed for the fact that most of the working-aged blind of a generation ago didn't find a job. Although the vocational situation is somewhat better for the blind today than it was then, it still has a long way to go, and such progress as has been made can hardly be credited to the schools.
In the mid-forties and early fifties the simplicity and straightforwardness were suddenly gone from the education of blind children. As with most things, the reasons were undoubtedly numerous, but the principal factor can probably be encompassed in a single term: retrolental fibroplasia. In unprecedented numbers premature babies were suddenly becoming blindif not at birth, then shortly after; and nobody knew why. By the time it was determined that it had to do with oxygen in the incubators, there were thousands of blind youngsters going through the population in a waveand the educational system was simply not adequate to deal with them.
The residential schools had had a stable or slightly declining population for decades, and with a few notable exceptions the public schools were not taking blind children at all. Now, all of a sudden, the choices were stark and immediate: Either the physical facilities and training resources of the residential schools would have to be expanded six- or seven-foldand at once; the public schools would have to try to do the job; or the children would have to go uneducated. Since a high survival rate among premature babies was not one of the characteristics of low-income groups in the 1940's and 50's, the parents of the retrolental fibroplasia babies had clout as a group, and they were not about to permit their children to go uneducated. The question was not whether but howand not even would there be quality or effectiveness or a workable approach: just that something be done, and immediately.
The parents were scared, and at the gut level their expectations for their children were low since they regarded blindness as an unmitigated tragedy. Into this vacuum stepped some of the larger agencies for the blind. They worked with colleges and universities to establish teacher training courses and sought to make the parents a political instrument to build their prestige, advance their causes, and enlarge their budgets. The parents were vulnerable and desperate, so it is not surprising that (by and large) they accepted and believed what they were told. It is not, for the most part, that the agencies were cynical or deliberately manipulative but only that they were administered and staffed by humans, who rationalized their own self-interest into a virtue which it often lacked. As was said of the early missionaries who went to Hawaii, they came to do good and remained to do well.
That was more than thirty years ago, and since that time a whole system and an entire way of thought concerning the education of blind children has developed (some of it constructive and some irrational) but the totality sanctified by the word professional. As the colleges and universities pumped out graduates, a corps of so-called professionals was built. The teachers and the teachers of the teachers had to publish in order to survive and gain recognition, so a body of professional literature was written. Again, it must be emphasized that, with some exceptions, most of this has not been done cynically or to manipulate. Nevertheless, the end result has often been (and is today) at variance with common sense and reality and extremely destructive to the blind children who are supposedly the beneficiaries of the professionalism and its trappings. With a straight face many of the educators who have come through the system, attended the conferences, and read the literature now advocate practices and techniques which not only defy reason but contradict the experience of the majority of successful blind adults.
Consider these examples: They resist teaching Braille to children who have such limited eyesight that reading print (even large print with a magnifier) is virtually impossible. In one instance, when a teacher who had resisted teaching Braille to a blind child was ordered to do it, she attempted to comply with the order in a way which would seem laughable if it were not so painfully tragic. The child had almost no sight. Yet, she tried to teach him Braille by using flash cards with large print representations of Braille dots. In another case an educator argued that if a child has some sight, it is destructive for that child to try to learn both Braille and print since only a certain amount of learning can be done and teaching both systems would cut the progress of each in half. That educator went on to say that it is not necessarily essential for a teacher of young blind children (even a teacher who is responsible for teaching reading to those children) to be proficient in the use of Braille. When he was asked how such an argument was different from saying that a French teacher did not need to know French or a math teacher math, he simply responded with anger--perhaps understandably since there would seem to be no logical answer that could have been given.
It is not only Braille but also mobility which gets peculiar treatment. Mobility instructors often try to prevent blind children from learning to travel with a cane. They do this in spite of the fact that they themselves teach cane travel to blind adults, that many blind children successfully learn cane travel techniques, and that parents want their children to be taught such techniques. The reason given for not letting the child carry a cane or learn to use it has frequently been that the child will appear more normal if he or she is not carrying a cane especially if the child has even a small amount of sight. One has to be deeply concerned about the damage which is being done to blind children who are exposed to this pseudoprofessionalism.
What sort of image are they being given about blindness and about their own potential? How will they cope when they become adolescents and have to deal with the troubled years of the teens? How comfortable will they be with their blindness and how effectively will they manage their lives when as adults they meet the competition of the everyday world? While it is true that the traditional training of the residential schools of the 1940's and earlier left much to be desired, it can convincingly be argued that we have merely swapped one set of problems for another and that the former system (with all of its disadvantages) may well have had the edge over what is being done now. There can be no doubt that the vocational prospects for today's blind youngster are better than they were forty years ago and that the public attitudes and social acceptance are also better, but these advances should not be nullified by blighting the academic competence of blind children and conditioning them to believe that it is not respectable to be blind. All of this was brought into focus for me recently by a letter from the mother of two blind children. She has the right instincts, and she is doing what she can to create a climate of positivism and opportunity for her children; but she faces formidable obstacles. And the sad part of it is that those obstacles come not from the blindness itself or from the misconceptions of the uninformed public but from the very people (the professionals) who are supposed to be helping her. Fortunately she has found the National Federation of the Blind and its Parents Division. She will meet successful blind adults and learn from their experience. She will also meet other parents and draw strength from them. Here in part is what she says:
I am writing this letter to ask for your help. I am the mother of ten childrenthree by adoption, with special needs, and two of them blind. I lose many hours of sleep over the discrimination they face. I'm trying to gain support for my position on their rights. I have been dismayed for eight years over what goes on. I have run into a brick wall every time. It is the only thing in parenting that I may lose my sanity over. (I love all other aspects of being a parent.) You seem like an organization that can help. HELP!
These are just some of the things my blind kids have encountered.
The list is long!
Tim is eighteen--adopted at age ten; Ronnie (Renita) is fourteen and a half--adopted at age nine.
Ronnie (immediately upon arriving at her new school) was stripped of cane and any Braille skills already achieved. As her teacher put it, she needed to be taught the right way. She was put into a developmentally disabled class (sneakily) and with no knowledge of parents. I found out when I went in to volunteer to help kids read. A sign was on the door, which read: Miss Tanner's developmental class.
The kids I tried to help were trying to read regular print by turning their magnifiers every which way but inside out to be able to see the words. I asked the teacher on the way out why they did not use large print books. She replied that they were too expensive. There were two Braille students, Ronnie being one. Along with others who should have been Braille students, they were trying unsuccessfully to read print. Goals on the IEP (Individualized Education Program) have been repeated three years in a roweven after being successfully completed. They are put on as the same goals for next year, and I am presumably to thank them for being concerned.
Many times I am condescended to with phrases such as Now, Mrs. ---, don't you remember? We went over this last year. Apparently not only blind children but also their parents aren't too smart! In frustration I contacted the state department of education. I was told that I should ask for more specifics on the IEP. I was told that I should and could ask them to list completion of books as a goal on the IEP. It's no fun to get jumped on to by a principal, a director of special education for two school districts, and a teacher who says, We will not list books! Furthermore, we don't have to. I called the state department of special education back. It almost sounded as if they had made a deal. The whole story was changed. The state sided with the school. No, we can't make them list books on an IEP, they said. Did you think I told you that?
Most recently Ronnie is to have phys ed. Last year it was on the IEP, but since they did not think she could do any of the activities, she didn't get it. She did some exercises with a teacher instead on an irregular basis. This year she still has been excluded from at least one gym class to go to study hall. A teacher of social studies told me Ronnie runs out the door and out in the hall after class. He doesn't want her to do this. She might get hurt, he said. I said, Oh, Ronnie runs? Well, no, he said, but she walks too fast for her safety. God forbid! So my child walks too fast! She is disobedient, isn't she?
She is, as they put it, mainstreamed in this class, and all other children in this class have a book. She has a tape. She is to review her lesson, and then she gets ten minutes by herself with the instructor. Why bother mainstreaming her? My son Tim is also facing the same kinds of problems. One year he was not allowed to go down the steps alone. Safety reasons. He changed schools this year and was not allowed to go to the bus by himself. The teacher, as she put it, did not know he could do it on his own.
Ronnie belongs to drama club. They were having a talent show some time before Christmas. She practiced and was very excited about playing her guitar and singing. When I picked her up after the meeting when the talent show was to occur, I asked how it went. She said, I didn't play. I said, Oh, why not? First she said, I guess they didn't have enough time. And then she said, We had to sign up to be in the show, and no one signed me up.
This is occurring again. They are doing a play. A note was sent home with names of characters and parts to be played. She could choose. She later decided that since she did not know what the play was about, she didn't want to be in it. She had such a change of heart it seemed as if she was being influenced. I am so tired of trying to defend her. I just quit trying. She has lost heart, and so have I. She is in the developmentally handicapped classes, and time after time teachers want to make sure that we both know our places. The kids have one of the few trained orientation and mobility instructors in the state, so I presume we should be pleased. However, she has been very skilled at keeping us uninformed. These are some of the wonderful things she has said: Signing an IEP does not mean approving an IEP. It just means you were present. There is no one in this area who can teach you (parents) Braille. This is what she says, but I am learning that many of the blind are willing to teach us. This instructor was overheard at church saying: Can you imagine? They are considering hiring blind instructors.
This is what one mother of two blind children says, and much can be read between the lines. If her story were an isolated instance, it would be bad enough; but since it is the rule rather than the exception, it demands attention. The National Federation of the Blind faces no single problem of more crucial importance than the mess which is being made of the education of blind children. We absolutely must find a solution, and we must do it with minimal delay. Morally and ethically (even if not biologically) these are our children, and we must not fail them.
MANY VISUALLY IMPAIRED YOUTHS SPURN LEARNING BRAILLE
(This article, written by Beth Daley, appeared in the March 19, 1988, Boston Globe.)
Seven years ago Mike McDermott read so much that his parents had to pry books away from him so he would go to sleep at night. A year later, after a brain tumor took his sight, Mike could not read anymore.
He survived the tumor, but lost all of his sight in one eye and almost all of it in the other. What he can see now is the equivalent of peering through a straw.
Mike, now fifteen, is on the honor roll at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School for the sixth time. He does his homework on a talking computer that reads back his written work. Until recently he refused to learn Braille, saying he would not need it. His parents and teachers agreed, saying he should use what little sight he had.
But the painful truth is that, despite all his drive and academic achievements, Mike still cannot read.
Mike is one of an increasing number of visually impaired children in the Boston area who cannot read Braille, a trend that has Braille advocates concerned. They feel Braille is discouraged because educators and parents see it as an added stigma for visually impaired children.
Some advocates for the blind say visually impaired children who cannot read Braille face a bleak future in higher education and in the professional world. In Massachusetts the Braille literacy rate has dropped forty percent since a 1974 state law mainstreamed handicapped children into public schools. Out of the approximately 935 legally blind children in Massachusetts public schools, only about 65 can read Braille, according to figures released by the state Department of Education's Vision/Education Center. If partially sighted children don't learn Braille, that's not letting them read the best they can, said Priscilla Ferris, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts. And you can't get anywhere in the professional world if you can't read. Tape recorders and cassettes only take you so far. You need to communicate in other ways.
Chapter 766 calls for educating all special needs students in public schools. That includes mentally retarded and emotionally disturbed students and those with physical and sensory handicaps. At the same time the state also stopped funding private schools for special needs students. Many of those students subsequently entered the public schools. There are now no facilities in the Boston area specifically for visually impaired children. The Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown and other similar programs have turned into facilities for the multihandicapped, catering primarily to blind children who also have other handicaps.
If visually impaired kids are sitting in a college classroom and want to take notes, they can't if they can only scrawl a couple of words per page, said Diane Kroft, who works at the National Braille Press in Boston. They need to take down notes comprehensively so when they go back they can read them over. Braille can do just that.
Not everyone agrees that all legally blind children should learn Braille.
Legally blind does not mean anything, said Tony Caetano, director of the Vision Research library in the Vision/Education Center. It is simply a test that is administered, like an eye chart at a doctor's office. It does not measure individual vision capabilities. For that you need individual tests. That is why you cannot say every visually impaired child should learn Braille, some just don't need it.
Although there is disagreement on the extent that Braille should be taught, all sides agree that most public schools do not have the resources to determine which children need to learn Braille and which ones do not.
Because visually impaired children are rare, public school systems usually employ just one teacher who works with them part-time in several schools. There is often neither the time nor the know-how to determine whether the students should learn Braille or, if necessary, be tutored. If a kid needs to learn Braille, two hours a week is not going to keep them interested, Richard Jackson, associate professor and director of Visually Handicapped Studies at Boston College, said. That's the real problem, just recognizing which kids need Braille. Also, Ferris said, teachers are certified in teaching the visually handicapped, but these certifications require no renewals. Mike McDermott began learning Braille two months ago, after he and his parents decided that he needed to learn it because Mike intended on going to college.
When Mike first began to lose his sight, Mike McDermott Sr. said, People were telling us that he should use what sight he had. They all said that Braille was too hard to learn. It wasn't until we met up with other organizations of the blind that we began to realize that perhaps Mike needed to learn it. They told us: If you're blind, you're blind; and if you can read a bit, that's good. But to have Braille is even better.'
BRAILLE ON THE JOB
by Alfred Maneki, Ph.D.
(This article was taken from the Summer, 1987, Braille Spectator, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. Dr. Maneki is one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. He is also a person with an important job in a very sensitive area of government. His opinions as to what techniques blind persons need to use to function effectively deserve careful attention.)
I recently assumed responsibilities in a new position at the Department of Defense, where I have been employed as a mathematician since 1974. This job, unlike my previous job, requires the reading, editing, and analysis of complex computer programs consisting of numerous lines of computer codeaggregates of non-English combinations of letters of the English alphabet, numbers, and other symbols. I learned quite quickly that, even for the initiated, the task of comprehending computer code by listening to it read by the synthetic speech of a personal computer is at best tedious and inefficient. What is really needed for this work is good, old-fashioned, hard-copy Brailledots perforated on good, old-fashioned Braille paper. By judiciously using synthetic speech, I can identify the portions of a computer program which I need to review in Braille. By blocking a portion of computer code with my screen editor (a task requiring only a few keystrokes) and one instruction (two key strokes) to the Braille printer linked to the same computer, I have hard copy Braille within a few minutes. Now that I have hard-copy Braille, what do I do with it? I have an exact copy of computer code, not an interpretation rendered by an imperfect synthetic speech processor. This aids immensely in understanding the logic of a computer program. I can scan Braille and locate a needed line of code quickly. (Haven't we all been frustrated by trying to locate a passage in a book read on audio cassettes or on discs?) Even with a screen editor's search function, locating anything through synthetic speech is impossible unless I know exactly what I am looking for, which is not always the case. By keeping my index finger of each hand on separate lines, I don't have to read in linear computer code. This is impossible to do with speech.
We should not be fooled by the claims of Dr. Welsh of the Maryland School for the Blind and others that Braille is inefficient, and that some of us learn more efficiently from the spoken word, and that for some Braille takes time away from other learning experiences. Barring other physical limitations, all blind persons, regardless of the degree of vision loss, should be proficient in Braille. Surely not all of us would care to do the work that I do. But there are many exciting jobs requiring the use and handling of information which blind persons could do, given proficient Braille skills.
By teaching me a new philosophy about blindness, membership in the National Federation of the Blind has been important to me in realizing my potentials as a blind person. Through collective action, the National Federation of the Blind has improved the quality of life for all of us. However, there is still much to be done. Discrimination against the blind still exists, programs are still inadequate, and too many of us remain unemployed. Whether for the personal growth or for the possibilities of collective action, all blind persons have something to gain from membership in the National Federation of the Blind.
SUPPLY OF BRAILLE BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE BY BLIND INDIVIDUALS MAY SOON INCREASE
January 19, 1988
Mr. Arthur S. Kleinpell
Triformation Braille Service, Inc.
Dear Mr. Kleinpell:
I am writing in Jackie Wintle's absence. In late 1985 I asked her to arrange to promote Braille book sales by our producers. In June, 1986, an agreement was completed between Triformation and NLS permitting you to sell to individuals Braille copies of books originally transcribed for us. We were of the opinion that you entered into this agreement openly and enthusiastically. We are reviewing the file of agreements with the thought of renewing them with all the cooperating Braille producers. In looking at your records we note that to date we have had no reports of any books actually being sold by Triformation. Though we have received copies of copyright permission clearances, we are not aware of any publicity on the availability of the cleared books. For example, you were offered space in Braille Book Review to announce Braille books for sale but have never provided us with copy. Since you received the greater share of the Braille book production this year, we are concerned about your lack of activity in Braille book sales. We are particularly concerned with your manager's indifference to this project. As a nonprofit organization serving the blind community, we believe it is incumbent on you to find ways to make an extra effort to offer such services.
We will shortly be issuing revised and extended agreements. We hope that you will once again sign and then voluntarily take positive action to identify books that would be suitable for sales to individuals, obtain copyright permissions as you have in the past, actually produce copies for sale, and make their availability widely known. You may count on Braille Book Review for publicity. If you are having difficulty establishing a procedure for arranging for the overruns and sales, you might consult with Lois Mandelberg of our staff and with Phyllis Campana of National Braille Press, which has had considerable success in Braille book sales.
Frank Kurt Cylke, Director
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
March 11, 1988
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
As you may be aware, Triformation Braille Service has been earnestly communicating with the National Library Service concerning the outside sale of Braille publications to private blind consumers.
Through the research involved in this effort, many minor but troublesome complications have arisen.
The process begins with receipt of books to be produced in a given year for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and its network of libraries. These titles are sorted and randomly grouped according to presumed salability; children's books, computer information, how-to guides, and cookbooks seem to be of greatest interest. Written copyright permission must then be requested from respective publishers and upon receipt forwarded to the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Permission by the publisher may or may not be given. If it is, the number of copies to be pressed is increased. Several 1988 books have already been prepared for overruns. We cannot advertise titles as yet, while we are awaiting copyright permission.
TBS has very few marketing avenues, as it is geared toward mass Braille production. Your affiliation with the National Federation and influence in the blind community could prove a great asset toward making the books available for purchase. Prices will of course vary, but cost per copy is based on paper used, pressing and binding time, and style of binding (the hard-cover type being most expensive). An average three-volume book would be approximately $20 to $35. Any assistance the National Federation of the Blind could give in advertising the availability of these books to blind readers would be gratefully appreciated.
Arthur S. Kleinpell, Owner
Triformation Braille Service, Inc.
April 5, 1988
Dear Mr. Kleinpell:
I am somewhat mystified as to how to answer your letter of March 11, 1988. Although the National Federation of the Blind as an organization and I as an individual believe there should be more Braille books available to blind persons who want to purchase them, and although we would welcome availability of such books from Triformation Braille Service and would be more than happy to advertise such availability in the Braille Monitor and otherwise, your letter does not give me much help in knowing how to do it.
It seems to me that the most effective way for us to do such advertising would be to list specific books and their prices in the Monitor with the announcement that they can be purchased from you. If this is not practical, we might say that you have a catalog of Braille books and prices, which can be had upon request. Failing this, we could make the general comment that Triformation Braille Service is willing to sell Braille books to blind individuals but that we do not have information as to what titles will be available at what price or when.
Obviously if we pursue this latter course or some variant of it, Triformation's volume of sales and bookkeeping chores will not constitute a problem. Perhaps I am missing something in your letter, but I have perused it in vain to find what it is. I should think the only way that Triformation Braille Service can make outside sales is for you to produce a few extra copies of at least a reasonable number of books and allow us to advertise their availability. Of course, this will involve some risk and require the use of a certain amount of space, but not a great deal of either. If the project succeeds, it could be of great advantage both to the blind and Triformation Braille Service. If it does not, no great amount of effort or capital will have been wasted, and possibly something will have been learned. It could be (assuming, that is, that the project fails) that you selected the wrong titles or made some other mistake. Also, it could be that blind individuals in this country will simply not buy enough Braille books to sustain the kind of effort we are talking abouteven if those books are well selected and reasonably priced. It could be, but I doubt it.
However, I don't know for certain, and I don't think anybody else does. Whatever has occurred in the past, the economics, the technology, the competing activities, and the climate of today's America make what we are discussing speculative. Certain things I know. The Braille Monitor is the largest and most influential publication in the field of blindness today. It is widely read and much discussed. Anything which appears in its pages will be known by a sizable number of the blind of the nation. We believe that individual blind persons should be able to purchase Braille books at an affordable price, and we will do whatever we can to help make this possible. If you wish us to carry announcements and advertisements for you, we will gladly do it, frequently and without any charge. This only leaves the question of how and when. As I say, I am not sure from your letter how to proceed. I will begin by informing Monitor readers of this correspondence and will hope we can devise a workable mechanism for getting the project underway.
National Federation of the Blind
RESPONSE TO RADIO READING ARTICLE
Our article on radio reading services for the blind in the February-March, 1988, issue evoked widespread response, much of it from the managers of radio reading services and some of it from others. Here are two typical letters:
Chicagoland Radio Information
March 11, 1988
Dear Mr. Jernigan:
As both a board member of the Association of Radio Reading Services (ARRS) and General Manager of the Chicagoland Radio Information Service, Inc. (CRIS), I found your article Radio Reading Services for the Blind: Service or Boondoggle (February-March, 1988) quite interesting and insightful. I would like to make a few observations of my own regarding the failure of the National Office, illiteracy issue, and the Association's political past.
ARRS is made up of over a hundred individual services run by idealistic and strong-willed individuals. If they weren't, they wouldn't be in the business. Unfortunately, most of us live hand-to-mouth, whether associated with a library, state agency, university, National Public Radio station, or operating independently. In Chicago we operate twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, with a paid full-time staff of six and a volunteer staff of 500Stan Potter's dream come true. Most radio reading services, however, are one- to two-man operations that primarily broadcast their local newspaper a few hours a day. Our budgets are small in comparison to most other services for the blind.
It is my opinion that the ARRS National Office has not been able to survive because no one would take the responsibility to fundraise for it. Initial one-time grants were made, but the persons running the offices did not pursue continuing funds. Board members have trouble meeting their own budgets, let alone raising funds for the national one. Also, all services for the most part are competing for the same slice of the funding pie as the national headquarters.
During my five years in radio reading, I've seen more than my share of politicking and internal turmoil. But times are hopefully a-changing. Past ARRS presidents were very strong forces in ARRS and, for the most part, ran the organization rather dictatorially. (The Tape Exchange relocation is one example.) In 1987 the assembly of voting members of ARRS rallied and successfully replaced some of the old core with new blood. Can we put the illiteracy issue in its final resting place! As the program chair of last year's conference, I can assure you that the illiteracy idea was put in front of the group by the opening speaker, who really was advocating the need of this service for the reading disabled (due to an organic reason). No consideration was ever given to including the illiterate by the board of directors.
Finally, you are absolutely on target when you say that it's ultimately the blind that will determine the success of radio reading services. At CRIS we raise thousands of dollars each year from an On-Air Listening Fund Drive. Some listeners have found apartments and employment through CRIS's broadcasts of the classified ads. Others have enrolled in rehabilitation and training programs featured on CRIS. Certainly our listeners are not in need of gadgets and a rocking chair, nor do we promote it as such. The whole concept of radio reading is to fill a need by providing a segment of society with information to help them lead lives that are more independent by knowing what is on sale at their grocery or finding a joband fulfilling by having access to editorial opinions or local activities that pique their interest. Hearing the newspaper is not important to some blind people, while to others it is a true godsend. The purpose of our existence: giving the blind the choice. A choice that without reading services they would not have.
Chicagoland Radio Information Service, Inc.
Newspapers for the Blind,
March 17, 1988
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
Regarding your article on radio reading services in the February-March issue of the Braille Monitor, I thought a response to your essay might shed some additional light on the controversy as well as afford me an opportunity to introduce readers of the Braille Monitor to a remarkable new reading service for the blind recently created in the state of Michigan with the direct assistance and guidance of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan and the American Brotherhood for the Blind. As a former broadcast journalist who has spent seventeen years in radio news (both as a reporter and as a news director), I feel qualified to make some basic observations about presenting information to the public.
Perhaps the most important and basic point to make right off is that the biggest gap in the availability of printed material for the blind is current, so-called time sensitive information, primarily newspapers. Even though some sixty-five million newspapers are sold in this country each and every dayand provided free of charge as a community service through thousands of public librariesnot one newspaper is produced in a format accessible to the blind or physically disabled. Access to newspapers is generally considered to be a cornerstone of a free society. It follows then that anyone prohibited from using and benefiting fully from the news, information, and opinions contained in newspapers is likewise prohibited from participating fully and effectively in the free exchange of ideas critical to a healthy society. On a more pragmatic level, anyone prohibited from using and benefiting from access to newspapers is also denied critical information about employment, education, political participation, health care, recreation, personal and family finances, to name just a few.
Which brings me to the concept of doing newspapers on radio. As you pointed out in your previous article on the subject, most everything presented by radio reading services beyond daily newspapers and other current information is duplicative to one degree or another. You also covered quite well the technical and political problems facing radio reading services. But there is an additional much more fundamental problem with the idea of broadcasting newspapers. Newspapers are selective reading material. By that I mean what interests you as a readerwhether it be sports or editorialsmay not interest me.
Newspapers are designed to appeal to a wide range of interests, often conflicting interests. The individual reader is expected simply to read what he chooses and skip the rest. Radio on the other hand is passive and nonselective. The user has absolutely no control over what is read or when it is readand there lies the dilemma. Radio is a very poor medium for presenting the lengthy and varied material in a newspaper that virtually demands the ability to select individual sections and items to be read. It would take an estimated fifteen solid hours of nonstop reading aloud to cover the contents of an average daily newspaper. And, of course, no one is going to--as you put it so well, Dr. Jernigan--sit in a rocking chair with a gadget for hours and hope someone reads something that interests them.
How have radio reading services responded to this dilemma? Generally speaking, by limiting reading of newspapers to about one hour to an hour and a half at most. That represents only about ten percent of the content of each newspaper being read, and that, in turn, means someone is doing the selecting for youone size fits all. One local radio reading service even has the audacity to proudly promote the fact that it reads eight local newspapers each day! In reality what it provides is a grand total of fifteen minutes of material from yesterday's edition of each paper. That is like saying, while flying nonstop from New York to Los Angeles, you visited dozens of cities, when all you really did was fly over them for a few seconds. There is a better way.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, a new reading service has been created in Flint, Michigan, with the guidance and assistance of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan. The Newspapers for the Blind concept is a completely different approach that highlights instead of sidesteps the length and variety of the material contained in local daily newspapers. With recent advances in computer and telecommunications technologies, it is now possible to provide a spoken version of daily newspapers via telephone to people unable to read regular print editions due to blindness or physical handicaps.
Newspapers for the Blind, Inc., a nonprofit organization, has successfully completed a one-year demonstration of the talking newspaper concept. Beginning February 9, 1987, and each day thereafter Newspapers for the Blind has been providing a spoken version of the local daily newspaper, The Flint Journal, to the print-disabled residents of metropolitan Flint, Michigan (population approximately 400,000). This innovative service is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and includes approximately eighty-five percent of the content of the regular print edition of the newspaper.
The talking newspaper service is in fact the only system in the nation providing print-handicapped people with on-demand access to a local daily newspaper. For the very first time ever, those unable to read print are now able to read what they want from local newspapers when they want. It works this way: Each day a group of volunteer readers gather at the NFTB office and read aloud the contents of the local newspaper. Their voices are recorded by a specially designed bank of digital recorders, which in turn are connected to local telephone lines. Nothing more costly or complex than a common push-button telephone is needed to use the talking newspaper. When a print-handicapped subscriber calls one of the digital units, the caller is first asked to enter his or her code number. (Each subscriber is given an individual code number.
The talking newspaper is not available to the general public.) After the code number is verified, the caller is then asked to enter the index number of the section of the newspaper he or she would like to read. (Each section has a number. For example, local news is number 12, state news is number 13, and so on.) The digital unit then begins to play back the first item from that section of the newspaper. At any time the caller may choose to go on to the next item in that section of the newspaper by simply pressing any button on the telephone. The user has total control, listening to as little or as much of any item as he or she wishes. Virtually the entire newspaper is available, including such things as grocery store inserts, help wanted listings, letters to the editor, columnists, community calendars, and senior citizens activity announcements.
Again, referring to your article, it is indeed nearly impossible to gauge the usage of radio reading services, for as you pointed out they only count the number of receivers distributed, not how often they are used. In contrast, Newspapers for the Blind carefully counts every single call to the talking newspaper systemsome 25,000 so far! In a few weeks we hope to begin serving the metropolitan Detroit area, and even though we have not as yet publicized or promoted the talking newspaper service in Detroit, we have received over one hundred unsolicited requests for service.
Dr. Jernigan, the final sentences of your Braille Monitor article bear repeating at this point: The decision concerning the future of radio reading (and here I will take the liberty of also including our talking newspaper service) will be made by the blind. It will depend on whether they believe the program is basic or peripheral, substance or fluff. I couldn't agree more. It was with the strong encouragement of the NFB of Michigan that we created Newspapers for the Blind and its talking newspaper service in the first place, and it will only be with the clearly demonstrated, ongoing support of the blind that it will continue and expand to other communities. Again, thank you for this opportunity to address what is a most important issue facing the blind community.
James E. Doherty
Newspapers for the Blind, Inc.
THE PROMISE OF CYCLOSPORINE
The following has been condensed from 'The Promise of Cyclosporine,' an article by David L. Winter, M.D., Director of Medical Research for Sandoz Pharmaceuticals. It appears in the Winter, 1988, Voice of the Diabetic, the publication of the Diabetics Division of the National Federation of the Blind. Diabetes is the largest cause of new blindness in the United States today. It is characterized by deterioration of the capillaries in the eyes and the kidneys, and while one can live without eyesight, he or she cannot live without kidney function. Until recently the principal method of dealing with kidney failure in the diabetic was dialysis, which is still widely used. Dialysis, which involves drawing the blood from the body through a filter to extract the poisons and then sending the purified blood back into the body, must be done at frequent intervals and is a very debilitating and time-consuming process. At best it is a delaying action. More recently, kidney transplants have been attempted, and with increasing success. One of the reasons for this success has been the discovery of a drug (cyclosporine) which keeps the body's immune system from rejecting the new kidney. Cyclosporine is comparatively new and is still quite expensive. However, it seems to offer great hope for the diabetic and for others who need organ transplants. Not only have diabetics been helped by kidney transplants but also now, in some instances, by pancreas transplants as well. Since the pancreas produces insulin and since the failure of the body properly to produce and regulate insulin is the cause of diabetes, the pancreas transplant program offers tremendous hope. Of course, cyclosporine has implications which go far beyond diabetes.
In view of the increasing number of diabetics in the population and the part which diabetes plays in causing blindness, it seems appropriate to inform Monitor readers about cyclosporine, so here is a brief summary and overview:
What is Cyclosporine?
Cyclosporine, a powerful, selective suppressor of the body's immune response system, has transformed the field of organ transplant surgery. Like another revolutionary drug, penicillin, cyclosporine was discovered quite by accident when a vacationing scientist from Sandoz Limited in Switzerland gathered some soil samples from a Norwegian fjord for company use. Microbiologists at Sandoz found a new strain of fungi imperfecti. One of the samples that they discovered contained a material which was active in killing other types of fungi. Although the discovery was interesting, the material was not considered to be of any medical importance and was not actively explored. In 1972 Jean Borel, a Sandoz biologist, re-examined the material and found that there was some medical significance in it. She noticed the chemical properties of the material had an effect on the immune system which suppressed it. By 1974 the chemical compound had been termed cyclosporine and had been shown to be an effective immunosuppressant. Most important was the discovery that the drug was not toxic to bone marrow or cells in the body; when cyclosporine is no longer administered, the white blood cells which it suppresses resume their bodily functions. Investigators began long-term studies and experiments with the drug on animals in 1976. The first studies on humans were conducted in England, and the success there brought the drug to American transplant centers. In 1983 the drug was approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration for general use in kidney, liver, and heart transplantation. The trade name for the drug is Sandimmune.
What Does the Drug Do?
When a transplant is performed, a doctor places a donor organ into the patient. The organ is foreign to the patient's body, and when it is placed there, it evokes a complex immune response. White blood cells are activated to kill the foreign invader. Most interesting is the complex procedure which leads to this rejection of a foreign object. There are many types of white blood cells, and they all have a different function in this process.
Lymphocytes are the cells which locate the foreign object and insure that only the object is attacked. Without these cells our entire body might be rejected in an immune response. Macrophages, polymorphonuclearleukocytes and monocytes are the cells which initiate an attack on the invader and control the intensity.
While the white blood cells are attacking the intruder, they produce chemicals called antibodies. Through the cooperation of these antibodies and the other white blood cells, the immune response is complete.
Rejection of a transplanted organ can be severe, or it can never happen at all. This can be affected by two factors: If the organ being transplanted is genetically similar to the body it is being placed in (i.e. the organ is from a close relative or it is tissue that has been removed from the patient and then replaced), then there is less or even no chance of rejection. The second factor depends upon the immune response level of the patient. Cyclosporine is important because it lowers the immune response level of the patient by suppressing the white blood cells. As mentioned earlier, the added importance of the drug is that the white blood cells start working again to protect the patient from other intruders once cyclosporine is no longer administered.
How Much Has the Drug Improved Survival Rates?
Controlled studies of kidney transplant patients were conducted at major institutions in the U. S., Canada, and Europe between 1978 and 1982. Patients were chosen at random to receive either cyclosporine or azathioprine, a conventional immunosuppressant. The results from all trials were quite consistent: The transplanted kidneys of patients receiving cyclosporine survived significantly longer. In addition, the patients experienced fewer rejection episodes, fewer infectious complications, and shorter hospital stays. In combined averages from five studies of patients on cyclosporine and azathioprine, those on cyclosporine had a one-year transplant survival rate of eighty percent compared with sixty-one percent for those on azathioprine. All transplants used kidneys from cadavers. Today cyclosporine is widely considered the drug of choice for kidney transplants. By early 1985 more than 8,000 kidney transplant patients had received cyclosporine.
Are There Side Effects?
In animal studies, cyclosporine produced only minor side effects. Nevertheless, the animal work failed to warn of a number of side effects that appeared once the drug was tested in humans. Kidney damage is the most significant side effect of the drug, but it has been found that lower doses of cyclosporine can eliminate the danger of any damage.
Liver damage affected some early transplant patients. Once again the dosage of the drug was lowered, and the problem decreased sharply and is no longer considered a major concern. Hirsutism, or increased hair growth, appears in about one of four patients taking the drug. Overgrowth of the gums, high blood pressure, and tremors have been noted in ten to thirty percent of patients.
What Is the Future of Cyclosporine?
Cyclosporine potentially represents the first in a new class of drugs. As an immunosuppressant, its activity is unique and will certainly stimulate the research for other immunospecific agents. We can look forward to many more specialized immunosuppressive drugs in the future. It is hoped a form of cyclosporine may be developed which will destroy parasites without suppressing the entire immune system, leaving the patient vulnerable to other infections. The prospect of such achievements is extremely exciting to the scientists working on cyclosporine today as well as to the practitioners and beneficiaries of modern medicine.
LETTER FROM THE PHILIPPINES
February 17, 1988
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
This is to thank you most heartily for the cassette tapes you sent us of the highlights, including the main speeches at the annual conventions of the U. S. National Federation of the Blind together with cassette tapes and printed issues of The Braille Monitor. We started playing tape recordings of your national conventions for the benefit of our trainees and workers, most of whom are blind. We recognized the familiar attitudes about blindness that you and your crusading colleagues are fighting to correct. It may take much longer for us in this country to get to where you are now in this worthy crusade. We are a passive people. You may have heard how long we endured the abuses and the lies of our greedy politicians. But the hearing and reading about your fruitful efforts may be a good start for us here. Another idea that the materials you sent us is driving home is the value of being a strong and united national federation in achieving our goals. A national conference of leaders of the blind here scheduled for March may be an initial step in the move toward a national federation of blind Filipinos. When we finally reach those distant goals for our blind that in America are virtually within your grasp, we recognize that much of the initial push came from excellent model that has come to us through your recorded and printed materials. We are also indebted to the hospitality you have accorded to observers at your conventions from the Philippines.
For all this and for the materials you have sent us, thank you very much.
Very sincerely yours,
Amando R. Lerma
BACK DOOR POLITICS AND HIDDEN AGENDAS
As Monitor readers know, Justin Dart was fired as federal Commissioner of Rehabilitation late in 1987, receiving what some called a premature Christmas present. His dismissal came in the midst of a squabble between him and his boss, Madeleine Will, Assistant Secretary for Special Educationf and Rehabilitative Services in the U. S. Department of Education. As best anyone could determine, the quarrel had to do with a power play for position and authority. The nation's rehabilitation establishment (which had never shown much love for Dart) apparently had even less for Will--so the state directors and others began to say that Dart was the greatest discovery since apple pie. President Reagan did not heed the clamor to reinstate Dart. The rehabilitation establishment has a strong (one might almost say a controlling) voice in the affairs of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. In light of all of this, the following news release has at least a modicum of interest. It leads one to interesting speculations about who said what to whom and what they were really trying to accomplish or whom they were trying to embarrass. One also has to wonder how President Reagan (if in the midst of summitry, Iran, the contras, and such like he ever hears of the matter at all) will feel about the awarding of the President's Trophy. Ah, well, rehabilitation always was a highly specialized business. Here is the news release:
Texan to Receive Presidential Award
For Release: a.m., Tuesday, March 15, 1988
Washington, D.C.--The President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped today named Justin W. Dart, Jr., a well known advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, as the 1988 Handicapped American of the Year.
Mr. Dart, disabled by polio at eighteen, will receive the President's Trophy, America's highest honor given a person with a disability, on May 4 during the Opening Session of the Committee's three-day Annual Meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. The award will be presented by Committee Chairman Harold Russell and a White House representative.
The fifty-seven-year-old advocate won the award for his continuous battle against the inequalities that people with disabilities face and for his determination in overcoming his disability.
Chairman Russell, in making the announcement, said he knew personally of Justin's dedication to the democratic process and his zeal for improving the lives of others. I feel Justin is an excellent choice to represent the potential and capability of people with disabilities throughout our nation and the world. Mr. Dart, formerly the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, U. S. Department of Education, is meeting with others interested in disability issues to devise ways to mobilize and unite people with disabilities to fight effectively for their rights. He says that participating in the campaign process and voting is one way to help increase the quality of life for people with disabilities. As Vice Chairperson of the National Council on the Handicapped from 1982-1985, Mr. Dart was instrumental in writing Towards Independence, a report from the National Council to the President and Congress outlining the need of people with disabilities. Before serving on the National Council, he was Chairman of the Texas Governor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities (1980-1985) and continues to serve as a member of the Texas Council on Disabilities.
For more than thirty years Mr. Dart has been active in the human and disability rights movement. In the 1950's he organized the first integration club at the then- segregated University of Houston, promoted students' rights in Mexico, women's rights in Japan, and disability rights throughout the United States, Mexico, Japan, and Vietnam. Over the years, he and his wife Yoshiko have opened their home to seventy-seven foster children, many of them disabled, providing them with love and the opportunity to advance through education and employment. An astute businessman, he founded Japan Tupperware (a division of Dart Industries, now Dart and Kraft) in 1963 and served as its president until 1965.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, and a resident of Ft. Davis, Texas, Mr. Dart received his B.S. and M.A. degrees from the University of Houston and attended the University of Texas Law School. He has written papers on the philosophy and administration of independent living programs. Presently living in Washington, D.C., Mr. Dart is a life member of the Ft. Davis Historical Society and of Friends of Ft. Davis. He has worked closely with such independent living centers as the Westside Center for Independent Living in Los Angeles, California; and the Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York. He has been active in numerous organizations such as the National Paraplegia Foundation, the National Easter Seal Society, and American Council of the Blind.
Mr. Dart has received many awards including the Meritorious Services Award from the National Rehabilitation Association, Southwest Region (1983), Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Council on Independent Living (l984), and the Volunteer of the Year Award from People-to-People Committee for the Handicapped (1985).
The three-day annual meeting of the President's Committee is expected to attract 4,000 participants, including people with disabilities, from the United States and other countries.
THE BLIND GAIN INCLUSION IN THE CALIFORNIA CIVIL RIGHTS LAW AND THE SOUTHLAND CORPORATION LEARNS ABOUT BLINDNESS
by Sharon Gold
One of the long-term goals of the National Federation of the Blind has been the extension of equal protection to the blind under civil rights laws. In furtherance of this goal, the National Federation of the Blind of California, in early 1986, asked Elihu Harris, Chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, to introduce legislation to extend the California Civil Rights Act to include protection for blind and disabled citizens. Assemblyman Harris agreed to provide help to the blind of California through the National Federation of the Blind of California and introduced this legislation which would prevent discrimination against blind citizens residing in California when engaging in business transactions, in the granting of franchises, and in the purchasing of real estate.
The legislation, Assembly Bill 4260, passed through the Assembly with a unanimous vote. This legislation met with opposition when it came before the California Senate Judiciary Committee. The Southland Corporation, owner of the nationwide chain of 7-Eleven Stores, opposed the freedom of blind and disabled persons to engage in the business of buying and operating a franchise. On July 3, 1986, Kathy Letterman, Zone Manager for 7-Eleven Stores Zone 2219, wrote to Assemblyman Harris:
I write you today in opposition to A.B. 4260. This bill would force The Southland Corporation to accept any and all blind and handicapped franchise applications.
The Southland Corporation and 7-Eleven Stores require in every instance that the franchisee be an owner/operator. That is, the franchisee must have control of the store and it's (sic) operation on a daily basis. As you may be aware from your conversations with Marc Aprea, you know that the 7-Eleven system is a very complex one. It requires an understanding and ability to implement many different tasks. Should A.B. 4260 be enacted, denying an unqualified prospective franchisee on the basis of blindness or physical disability would violate the Unruh Civil Rights Act. This would place The Southland Corporation, and other franchisers that require owner/operator franchisees, in the untenable position of having to choose between granting a franchise to someone who is blind or physically disabled and unqualified or violating the Unruh Civil Rights Act. I do understand your very noble desire to ensure that the blind and the handicapped are not unduly discriminated against. However, I hope that you will understand that handicapped and blind people cannot operate a 7-Eleven Store and therefore would be inappropriate. It is for those reasons above that we must oppose your legislation
Following Kathy Letterman's letter, The Southland Corporation sent its highly paid and influential lobbyist to visit California legislators and to offer testimony against Assembly Bill 4260. The instruction to the lobbyist was to kill the bill. In an effort amicably to resolve the problem, the National Federation of the Blind of California attempted to communicate with The Southland Corporation through Southland's President, Jere Thompson:
August 6, 1986
Jere Thompson, President
The Southland Corporation
Dear Mr. Thompson:
This letter will acknowledge and respond to the letter written to the Honorable Elihu Harris of the California State Assembly from Kathy Letterman, Zone Manager, 7-Eleven Zone 2219, Lafayette, California, (copy enclosed) concerning California Assembly Bill 4260.
Assembly Bill 4260 is authored by Assemblyman Harris at the request of the National Federation of the Blind of California for the purpose of including the blind and disabled among those classes of persons protected by the California Civil Rights Act. This legislation (copy enclosed) includes within it an amendment to Section 51.8 of the California Civil Code prohibiting discrimination against the blind and physically disabled in the granting of franchises.
According to Ms. Letterman's letter, The Southland Corporation and its 7-Eleven Stores discriminate against the blind and physically disabled in the granting of franchises because the corporation believes that the blind and physically disabled cannot operate a 7-Eleven Store. Thus, Ms. Letterman continues, we must oppose your (Mr. Harris's) legislation. Ironically, this letter from your corporation in opposition to AB 4260 is direct and incontrovertible testimony to the absolute need for AB 4260. It is both unfortunate and unconscionable that in the 1980's a corporation such as The Southland Corporation, with its nationwide franchise chain of 7-Eleven Stores, would engage in the practice of such blatant and unmasked prejudice and discrimination.
In earlier times, the same letter might have been written in response to legislation to equalize law and eliminate prejudice and discrimination from the lives of women or blacks. As it has been said of the blind and physically disabled by The Southland Corporation, so also has it been said before of women, blacks and other minorities that the system (7-Eleven Stores) is a very complex one. It requires an understanding and ability to implement many different tasks denying an unqualified prospective franchisee on the basis of blindness or physical disability would violate the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Surely, The Southland Corporation cannot seriously think that blind persons are incapable of dealing with complexities. Surely, The Southland Corporation cannot seriously think that blind persons are incapable of dealing with the implementation of different tasks. And, surely, The Southland Corporation cannot seriously think that the inclusion of blind people in the Civil Rights Act would mean that blindness, in and of itself, would automatically make the prospective franchisee qualified to own and operate a franchise.
The prohibition of discrimination against women, blacks, and other ethnic and racial minorities, which is currently contained within the Civil Rights Act, does not make the presence of womanhood, or skin color, or ethnic descent, or religious affiliation the qualifying factor for becoming a franchisee. It is, therefore, ludicrous to suggest that to be blind is to be qualified. On the other hand, it is equally ludicrous to suggest that to be blind is to automatically become an unqualified prospective franchisee. Today, blind persons own, operate, manage, and work in every type of business, concession, or profession imaginable. Blindness does not stop us, but the attitude of corporations like The Southland Corporation does. Like sighted people, we dare to hope and dream of success and prosperity and, like sighted people, we seek opportunity to exhibit our abilities.
Often prejudice and discrimination against the blind arise out of ignorance. Perhaps The Southland Corporation is ignorant of the qualified blind business persons who are self-employed or manage businesses for others. Such highly motivated and successful blind persons are assets to a corporation such as The Southland Corporation. Deliberately to eliminate a prospective franchisee because he or she happens to be blind is to run the risk of denying the corporation a valuable asset. Whether Ms. Letterman's letter is written out of ignorance or whether The Southland Corporation really practices such blatantly prejudiced attitudes toward the blind, I trust that you will think about this letter and reconsider the position of The Southland Corporation expressed by Ms. Letterman in her letter concerning Assembly Bill 4260.
I shall appreciate hearing from you regarding this matter.
Very truly yours,
Sharon Gold, President
National Federation of the Blind of California
Mr. Thompson declined to respond to this letter. Despite the influence of the National Federation of the Blind of California and Assemblyman Harris, it was apparent that the disagreement over this legislation would result in its demise. Therefore, at the request of the National Federation of the Blind of California, Assemblyman Harris withdrew Assembly Bill 4260. One of the assets of the National Federation of the Blind is our ability to organize and demonstrate our collective strength. What affects the blind in California affects the blind across the nation. Working hand in hand, our state affiliates provide strength to each other and assistance in the time of need. United, our affiliates provide a front which is changing what it means to be blind across the entire nation. The National Federation of the Blind of California contacted other NFB affiliates which were planning Fall conventions. Our Illinois affiliate, Stephen Benson, President, and our Maryland affiliate, Sharon Maneki, President, responded by adopting resolutions speaking to The Southland Corporation and its 7-Eleven Stores concerning prejudice and discriminatory behavior. These affiliates planned to submit the resolutions to the local news media.
Before the Maryland and Illinois resolutions could be implemented, the media blitz, which was going on in California, got the attention of The Southland Corporation. Pete Dexter, a nationally known writer and political columnist for The Sacramento Bee, wrote an article concerning the opposition of Southland to Assembly Bill 4260. Other articles appeared in newspapers including The San Francisco Chronicle, which began by saying: 7-Eleven, the country's largest chain of convenience stores, is fighting an attempt to allow blind and physically handicapped people to own and run its stores. In early October of 1986 The Southland Corporation requested a meeting with representatives of the National Federation of the Blind of California. We agreed to meet but only if The Southland Corporation President, Jere Thompson, attended the meeting or sent an official designee who could engage in binding policymaking decisions for the Corporation. On October 15, 1986, a meeting was held in the law office of Assemblyman Harris in Oakland. Attending this meeting were representatives of The Southland Corporation, including Michael Click of Dallas, Texas, the official designee to the meeting by the President of The Southland Corporation, and two California based representatives of The Southland Corporation. Also present were Assemblyman Harris and members of his staff. Members of the National Federation of the Blind of California attending the meeting were Sharon Gold, President; First Vice President James Willows; Todd Elzey, President of the NFB of the Bay Area; and Sheryl Pickering.
The purpose of the meeting was to resolve Southland's opposition to Assembly Bill 4260. For more than an hour, we discussed blindness and the abilities of blind business persons. Before the meeting ended, Mr. Click had promised the California Federationists and Assemblyman Harris that The Southland Corporation would provide total support for legislation similar to Assembly Bill 4260 for the 1986-1987 legislative year. As a part of this meeting, Mr. Click accepted an invitation to visit the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore and agreed that, in the future, The Southland Corporation would rely on the National Federation of the Blind as a consultant on blindness. On November 11 and 12, 1986, Mr. Click met with Dr. Jernigan and NFB of California President Sharon Gold at the National Center for the Blind, where Mr. Click gained more insight into the abilities of blind persons in the business world. Mary Ellen Reihing, Assistant Director of Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB), took him on a tour of the Center. Mr. Click saw movies on blindness and heard banquet speeches delivered by Dr. Jernigan. He spent an evening at Dr. Jernigan's home with Dr. Jernigan, Mrs. Jernigan, and Sharon Gold, where many hours were spent discussing blindness.
At the conclusion of his stay in Baltimore Mr. Click was an enthusiastic supporter. In fact, Mr. Click said that he had never met a blind person until the October 15 meeting, when he met with California Federationists. He promised that Southland would afford fair and equal treatment to blind persons when interviewing for jobs at Southland and when being considered as prospective franchisees. On January 6, 1987, Assembly Bill 4260 was reintroduced into the California Legislature by Assemblyman Harris as Assembly Bill 181. Assembly Bill 181 had overwhelming support, with thirty-four co-authors from the Assembly and thirteen from the Senate. The Southland Corporation made clear the withdrawal of its opposition to the inclusion of the blind and disabled in the Civil Rights Law. In a letter dated March 18, 1987, to Assemblyman Elihu Harris, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary, the Southland Corporation made clear the withdrawal of its opposition to the inclusion of the blind and disabled in the Civil Rights law:
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide you Southland's support on Assembly Bill 181.
The Southland Corporation is the oldest and largest operator and franchiser of convenience stores, having pioneered the convenience store concept in the 1920's. Currently there are approximately 8,000 7-Eleven stores in the United States serving seven million customers a day. We have over 1,200 7-Eleven stores in California. Approximately 1,100 of those stores are operated by local independent franchisees. Southland is committed to fairness and opportunity irrespective of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or blindness or other physical disability. Southland's employment and franchise practices and policies are unquestionably clear on that point. Our position of support on A.B. 181 is an extension of and consistent with those policies and practices. So long as a prospective franchisee meets the qualifications and standards of the franchiser (financial, technical, business experience, etc.), we do not believe that any franchiser should discriminate against individuals solely because of their blindness or physical disability. Our only concern is to assure that franchisees have the opportunity to succeed in the operation of their franchise. Thank you again for providing me this opportunity to support A.B. 181.
Kindest personal regards.
Marc A. Aprea
Senior Government Affairs Representative
The Southland Corporation
As Assembly Bill 181 moved through the legislative process, members of the National Federation of the Blind of California worked diligently to increase the momentum and support for this legislation. The California School Employees Association, the California Teachers Association, and the Disabled in State Services were among the other organizations which wrote letters in support of Assembly Bill 181, while the California Association of Affirmative Action Officers asked to co-sponsor the legislation.
At the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee which considered Assembly Bill 181, the National Federation of the Blind of California was proud to have the Office of the California Attorney General and the Committee on Human Rights of the State Bar of California stand with us in testifying for this legislation.
On July 14, 1987, George Deukmejian, Governor of the State of California, signed Assembly Bill 181 into law and filed this legislation with the Secretary of State, who chaptered the bill as Chapter 159 of the California Statutes of 1987. Several months have now passed since this anti discrimination bill became law. More important than the adoption of the legislation itself was the contact with and education of the officials of the Southland Corporation. This is a prime example of the National Federation of the Blind at work, doing its job to make life better for the blind and open new opportunities to them. There are 7-Eleven stores throughout the nation, and it is now time for interested and qualified blind persons to begin to consider seeking franchises. The way is open, and it happened because of the coordinative and determined effort of the National Federation of the Blind.
SOCIAL SECURITY: EMPHASIS ON VENDORS, BUT FACTS EVERY BLIND PERSON SHOULD KNOW
by James Gashel
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays monthly cash benefits to people under age sixty-five who have worked a sufficient amount of time in Social Security--covered employment or self-employment, provided they are blind or disabled under the law. Licensed vendors in the Randolph-Sheppard program are presumably blind under the Social Security Act since the definition of blindness used in both laws (Randolph-Sheppard and Social Security) is identical. However, that does not mean that every blind vendor automatically qualifies for an SSDI check.
This article is written to respond to the many questions which continue to arise from vendors or persons assisting them in determining their potential eligibility for SSDI checks. In many respects the circumstances under which vendors operate and receive their income are unique and have unique implications that must be understood to deal effectively with Social Security issues. Social Security personnel can apply the requirements of the law correctly only if we are able to give them the facts they need to evaluate income and earnings. This is particularly important for vendors and their advocates. However, many of the facts and concepts presented here apply to all blind persons in dealing with Social Security. Nevertheless, we will highlight the particular considerations that apply in the case of vendors.
Being Fully Insured
For the blind there are three principal eligibility factors which are necessary to entitle an individual to receive SSDI benefits: blindness, being fully insured, and having stopped doing substantial work. For those who are not blind, there is a fourth requirement, being recently insured. You need to have worked the required time under Social Security-covered employment or self-employment. The amount of past work required of any blind person is a matter of individual determination, depending on when the person became age twenty-one and the year in which blindness began, or (if blind before or while working) the year in which the person stopped doing substantial work. For blind people who became age twenty- one in 1950 or later, quarters of coverage are calculated as follows: one quarter is needed for each year elapsing after the year age twenty-one was attained, up to and including the year before the person became blind or stopped doing substantial work, whichever occurred later. For blind people who became age twenty-one before 1950, the years that are counted to have enough quarters of coverage begin with 1951 up to the year before blindness or the loss of substantial work occurred, whichever came later. It is not required that quarters of coverage be earned in any particular year. It is only that the number of quarters (regardless of when earned) needs to total the number of years required for each individual. Younger people who became blind or stopped doing substantial work in their twenties, for example, can qualify with as few as six quarters, but no less. Older people will need substantially more quarters. Any blind person who has enough quarters of coverage as described here is called fully insured. The Social Security Administration will tell you how many quarters of coverage you have. During 1988 a quarter of coverage is credited for earnings of $470.00 received during a calendar quarter. Four quarters are credited with earnings of $1,880.00 for the calendar year 1988, regardless of when the money is earned during the year. The amount needed to earn quarters of coverage for 1989 or later years will be higher. Increases take effect each January.
Being Recently Insured
Being blind and being fully insured are the first two important eligibility conditions for SSDI checks. Disabled people who are not blind must also meet a third condition, which is called recently insured. They must have worked enough to earn quarters of coverage in at least twenty out of the most recent forty quarters. This means that a substantial number of their quarters of coverage must have been earned during at least five out of the most recent ten years. Social Security personnel sometimes erroneously apply this recent work requirement to blind people. But remember, the blind need only be fully insured, not recently insured.
What does it mean when we say that a blind person has stopped doing substantial work? In addition to blindness and being fully insured, not doing substantial work is the third principal condition of eligibility for SSDI if you are blind. Generally, any blind person whose countable income is less than $700.00 per month in 1988 is not doing substantial work. The amount of time spent at work and the amount of actual labor or management work done does not count. Only income is evaluated in the case of blind people applying for SSDI benefits. Seven hundred dollars is the monthly amount allowed for countable income during 1988. In 1989 (and beginning in January of each succeeding year) the monthly amount allowed will increase. The law requires this annual adjustment.
All income is not necessarily countable income. Your real income before taxes may be much higher than $700.00 per month (or the higher monthly amount allowed during any year after 1988). Deductions to reach countable income may bring the income below the monthly amount allowed. If someone helps out in a vending business but is not paid, the reasonable value of the unpaid help should be deducted from the vendor's income to reach countable income. The unpaid help is a bonus that must be subtracted to find the vendor's countable income. The vending machine income that some vendors receive from machines that they do not operate or service should also be subtracted to reach countable income. This money does not reflect the level of the vendor's work activity. The vending machine income is entirely excluded because it is a subsidy. But that is not true of income from vending machines that the blind vendor services. It must be counted.
Unincurred business expenses are another form of subsidy that must be excluded from real income to reach countable income. Although space for the vending facility is provided without charge in most instances, the value of the space is an unincurred business expense. Without the contribution of the space, the vendor would have to pay the cost; so the free space artificially inflates the vendor's income. Its value should then be subtracted from the vendor's real (before taxes) income. The building management should be able to provide an estimate of the charge per square foot if the space had to be rented. Free utilities are also an unincurred business expense. Their value can be determined. It is the amount of the utility costs (even though the vendor does not pay them) that should be subtracted from the vendor's income.
Impairment-related work expenses should also be considered and subtracted from the vendor's income. Paid help for clerical assistance, reading, driving, and other services of a work- and impairment-related nature can be deducted to determine countable income. Buying devices that are blindness-related and used in part (or entirely) for work is another form of impairment-related work expense. Monthly installment payments on accounts for equipment purchases can be subtracted to reach countable income. So can care of a dog guide or the purchase of some medications. Special transportation services, such as taxi fares when public transit is not available or cannot be used, are also deductible. Impairment-related work expenses can actually be any costs resulting from blindness and necessary (at least in part) for work.
In sum, real (before taxes) income is not necessarily countable income, especially in the case of blind vendors. The Social Security Administration is only interested in identifying countable income and will exclude other income that is not an accurate measurement of work. The exclusions include any subsidies, the reasonable value of unpaid help, unincurred business expenses, and impairment-related work expenses. Once these standard deductions have been made, countable income that is below $700.00 per month during 1988 (or a greater amount beginning in 1989 and increasing each year thereafter) will not be called substantial gainful work. If countable income is above the monthly amount allowed after all of the deductions have been made, substantial gainful work has been achieved, and eligibility for SSDI checks will stop after a trial work period is over. The trial work period will normally be over if there have been earnings of $75.00 in any month for nine months, not necessarily consecutive months.
Social Security Disability Insurance is insurance, not welfare. You have to earn entitlement by working and paying in during enough calendar quarters. Once you meet the eligibility conditions, benefits can then be paid. Being poor is not one of the conditions. Rich people also qualify for Social Security. The question of whether one agrees or disagrees is not really relevant. The law is the law. While the Social Security Act is not everything that it might be, the work incentives we have won give blind people the opportunity to get a foothold and begin to support themselves without abrupt termination of their Social Security benefits. Whatever one may think of the law, it is certainly better for the blind than it used to be. And the blind are not now lumped with other groups of the disabled, something which resulted from NFB efforts. Disabled people who are not blind can only earn $300.00 per month before their SSDI checks are terminated. Moreover, they have a much harder time than the blind in establishing initial eligibility for benefits. In numbers there is strength, but numbers alone are not enough. Knowledge and concerted action are also required. The National Federation of the Blind is a force to be reckoned with. It grows stronger each day. What would life for the blind of this nation be like if the National Federation of the Blind did not exist, and never had existed?
HOWARD BARTON'S CONTACT WITH SOCIAL SECURITY
Howard Barton is the administrator of the Idaho Commission for the Blind.
In 1985 he contacted federal officials to complain about Social Security policies concerning the earnings of blind vendors. We learned of this contact by obtaining a copy of a memorandum from the regional office of Social Security in Seattle to the headquarters office of Social Security in Baltimore. Barton and others may some day learn that they cannot act against the blind without our learning about it. Barton complained that blind vendors are allowed to deduct from their monthly earnings the value of any unincurred business expenses. The unincurred deductible costs in question include free rent and free utilities. These services (rent and utilities) are contributed to the vendors and, thereby, increase their income over what it would otherwise be.
Barton was upset that blind vendors in some instances continue to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits while they are working. He complained that the Idaho Commission cannot claim reimbursement for rehabilitating these vendors. Therefore, he wanted the Social Security Administration to stop their disability insurance checks. Then the Idaho Commission for the Blind could be paid for providing rehabilitation to them. Officials of the Social Security Administration in Baltimore responded to Barton's challenge by defending the policy of deducting unincurred business expenses since that is what the law requires. The idea of Social Security is not to limit an individual's income. Even very rich people can and do receive Social Security Disability Insurance or retirement benefits.
Actual earnings are measured. Then those actual earnings are used by Social Security to determine a blind person's ability to work. But only actual earnings are used. When earnings are inflated by subsidies (free rent and free utilities, for example), the inflated portion of the earnings must be identified and excluded. This is the only way that Social Security can fairly and legally measure a blind person's work activity and the actual value of the work. Subsidies must be discounted, whether Howard Barton likes it or not. It is interesting to reflect upon Barton's motives and behavior upon what he was trying to do and why. As a group, the blind of this country are far more unemployed, underemployed, and economically disadvantaged than administrators of rehabilitation agencies. Those administrators are employed for the specific purpose of helping the blind improve their economic condition. Yet, here is an administrator who is not only willing but actively engaged in an attempt to reduce the income of an entire segment of the blind population. And why? For the noble and unselfish purpose of making his statistics look better. And, of course, it was done secretly and without fanfare. Still, there are those who keep telling us that there is no need for a watchdog organization, a National Federation of the Blind. After all, they say, how could there possibly be any difference in the objectives of the agencies established to serve the blind and the blind themselves? Let's get together. Aren't we all working for the same thing?
To which we answer: Sometimes, and with some of you. Meanwhile we will keep our independence, our alertness, and our watchdog posture. We will work cooperatively with those individuals and agencies that are truly interested in the well-being of the blind and we will deal with the others as we should.
SOCIAL SECURITY AND TRIAL WORK: FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW
by James Gashel
An inquiry from a woman in Rupert, Idaho, brought home to me the need to explain the Social Security policy on trial work. She said she was calling for her husband. He is blind and receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. She asked:
Can he work?
The caller said she had asked someone at the Social Security office the same question. Her husband had been offered a job as a dispatcher. It would be part-time work during the holidays. He expected to work three weeks, all in one month. For this he would be paid $660. He had never worked before while receiving SSDI benefits. How, she asked, would the temporary work affect his checks, or would it? That was the question the caller had raised with the Social Security office. But the answer she got from someone at the Social Security office was troubling to her. She said she was told that her husband definitely could not work.
If he did, his checks would stop, or so she had understood. She asked me to comment on the answer and help her set the matter straight. Could her husband work? In the circumstances I have just described, the caller from Idaho and her husband would not need to worry. Working would not stop the checks. The work in question, with earnings of $660 or more, would only be counted as one month of trial work. That's all. The rule is that a month of trial work is counted when earnings from the work are $75 or more. The trial work months need not be consecutive. Nine months of earnings over $75 will be evaluated to see whether a beneficiary is able to perform substantial gainful activity.
Applying this rule, it is possible to use up an entire trial work period even though earnings may be intermittent and relatively low. Then, if a real job comes along, the beneficiary may be surprised to learn that all of his or her trial work months have been used. In the example from Idaho, that would be the only disadvantage of accepting the dispatching job. Otherwise, working would have no actual effect at all on the continuation of the checks or on their amount. Something else you should know: After nine months of trial work have been used, the beneficiary who continues to work is still entitled to receive at least three more checks. These cover the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth months after work first begins. Remember, the first nine months may be interrupted by short or long gaps between periods of work. After the twelfth month of work, entitlement to benefits is suspended if the work continues to represent substantial gainful activity.
In the case of anyone who is blind, substantial gainful activity will not be found if earnings are less than $700 per month during 1988. (See other articles in this issue.) This monthly amount increases each year, beginning in January. Benefits will continue indefinitely after the twelfth month and beyond for any blind beneficiary who is earning less than $700 per month of countable income. Blind people who earn more than the monthly amount allowed cannot receive checks after the twelfth month of trial work. However, if work stops (or earnings fall below the monthly amount allowed) any time during a thirty-three-month period (after the first twelve months of work), benefit reinstatement is automatic. When someone at the Social Security office says that you cannot work, it helps to understand the context of the answer. It really means that you cannot continue to perform substantial gainful activity after twelve months of trial work. Anyone who can perform substantial gainful activity is working, according to Social Security. Anyone who cannot perform substantial gainful activity is not working, and is (according to Social Security rules) unable to work. But in the real world, outside of the rules of Social Security, you can work and have earnings of any amount during a trial work period of twelve months and up to $700 per month of countable income thereafter (at least in 1988). Higher earnings will be allowed in 1989. Those are the facts.
SPORTSWRITER GETS RESPONSE
by Kenneth Jernigan
Steve Bisheff is a sportswriter for the Orange County, California, Register. His columns are snide, cutsie, and without much content. It is hard to see why the newspaper continues to keep him on since surely most people would not be annoyed or amused but just bored by his writing and would turn to something else.
But in his February 20, 1988, column Bisheff struck a spark, one that he probably never expected. In the midst of would- be sophisticated and humorous comments about the Winter Olympics in Calgary he said this:
The most heart-rendering medal ceremony of the Games has been for the blind skiers. It was done in Braille.
Under date of March 31, 1988, I received the following letter from Dr. Owen Clayton, a Federationist from California:
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
Enclosed are two clippings from the Orange County Register. One is a sports column by sports writer Steve Bisheff, published February 20, 1988, and the other is my response. Apparently William Buckley isn't the only writer to put his foot in his mouth when commenting on the capabilities of blind athletes. Though, to be sure, Bisheff is not intellectually in Buckley's league.
I would like to call on all Federationists who are also competing blind athletes to deluge Bisheff (c/o Sports Department, Orange County Register, Post Office Box 11626, Santa Ana, California 92711) with letters of testimony on the breadth of athletic competition among the blind and the various adaptive methods used therein, and information on where he can see blind athletes in competition, the better to strengthen his easily rent heart for the next time he puts his foot in his mouth.
Owen G. Clayton, Ph.D.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
February 28, 1988
Bisheff Comment on Blind Skiers Is Way off Course
Will somebody please remove Steve Bisheff's foot from his mouth again?
I refer to comments in his (February 20) column about an Olympic medal ceremony for blind skiers being heart- rendering and done in Braille.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, considering his snide remarks several weeks ago twitting 70-year-old Greeks Al Campanis and Jimmy Snyder for their tasteless remarks about the capabilities of blacks in sports. Being legally blind from birth, I cannot let the present comment go without a rebuttal. I suppose if one had no idea that blind people could ski let alone ski competitively--one would get a lump in one's throat at seeing blind skiers awarded Olympic medals. But Bisheff compounds his ignorance by going on to say that the ceremony was done in Braille. I have no idea what he meant by that. Braille is a writing system, and (to my knowledge), having watched Olympic medal award ceremonies before, the giving out of written certifications is not a part of them. Thank heaven we were spared an account of how the blind skiers made it onto and off of the victors' platform. (I suppose they used white canes or dog guides, as most independent blind people do; come to think of it, some of those skiers might have been less than totally blind, since the definition in law of blindness covers vision ranging from the abysmal to the nonexistent.) Bisheff should be made aware that there are athletically inclined and capable blind people out there, who have to make only minor adjustments (as by using a buddy system in skiing or golf) to compete comparably with the sighted. He should ask around and seek some of them out. He might learn something, and now would not be too soon to start.
Owen G. Clayton
ON THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE
What Parents And Children Need To Know About Blindness And Independence
by Barbara Cheadle
In the movie, Places In The Heart, Sally Field is a widow trying to hold on to her little farm during the depression of the 1930's. Early in the movie, she is persuaded by the banker who holds the mortgage on her land to take in his war-blinded brother as a boarder. The banker assures her that his blind brother, Will, can pay his own way (he canes chairs and makes brooms) and won't bother or interfere with her household in any way. As the movie unfolds, Will gradually becomes accepted as a contributing member of the household. He rescues Sally's daughter when an approaching tornado blows a tree branch into the little girl's upstairs room. When harvest time comes and the push is on to win the prize money for the first bale of cotton picked in the county (without the prize money Sally will lose her farm), Will takes over the kitchen chores. We see him baking corn bread, cooking on the stove, and snapping green beans. The dialogue even suggests that he is a better cook than Sally. Furthermore, he actually gains some mobility through a system of clotheslines strung from the house to the cotton fields--a system he uses to run and warn Sally that the truckloads of cotton pickers from the south have arrived to pick her neighbors' cotton. For the time and circumstances, Will seems to be quite independent. He has work and therefore his own source of income. He demonstrates competence in an emergency, and he pulls his own weight in household responsibilities. But is he really independent? In one tension-filled scene Sally Field is trying to convince Will and Rosie (the black farm hand) that going all out to win the prize money is the only way to save the farm. Without malice (only speaking a truth that everyone already knows) she tells Will that if she loses the farm, it is the home (institution) for him.
And she's right. For all his independence Will ultimately has no control over his own destiny. He is blind. Though he can pay his own way, it is someone else (his brother) who will determine his fate. If Sally Field can achieve financial security (keep the farm), then she has won her independence. That's not so for Will. He is blind. Independence for the blind, then, is more than a matter of skills, personal competence, or even financial security (though these have their place). Independence is control. Independence is an attitude. Independence is opportunity. On Saturday, July 2, 1988, at the National Federation of the Blind convention at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Wacker Drive in Chicago we will be hosting our seventh National Seminar for parents of blind children. The theme will be, On the Road to Independence:
What Parents and Children Need to Know About Blindness And Independence.
We will specifically focus on how parents can help their children grow in independence and, for that matter, what independence is. We will discuss what skills are needed for independence and how we can learn them and teach them (or see that others teach them) to our children. We will talk about how we can foster a spirit of independence in blind children of all ages--toddlers to teenagers (i.e. getting your children to speak up for themselves and solve their own problems.) The role the NFB has played in creating opportunities for independence for blind children will be examined in light of what it means to our blind child. College students from the NFB Student Division will be there to talk about what helped or hindered them when they left home for the first time. We will also focus on the problems blind parents encounter as they guide their sighted children toward independence, problems our own children will someday face. The agenda obviously has appeal to blind teenagers, and even mature children of eleven or twelve. If your teenager or older child is coming with you, then plan for him or her to participate in the seminar with you. It will be a good experience for the whole family.
For your younger children (ages five through ten) we are planning an all-day field trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo. (The children may also take a side trip to a nearby children's museum.) For children ten and older, we will have organized adult supervision for walking trips to one or more of the following: Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Museum of Natural History. There will be some cost for these trips, and pre-registration is required. Children who are not pre- registered will be taken only on a space-available, first- come, first-served basis. For information about pre- registration or other matters concerning the seminar contact: Mrs. Debbie Hamm, Secretary, Parents of Blind Children Division, 747 West Pilger, Roseburg, Oregon 97470. Telephone (503) 673-5510.
Child care will also be available during the Saturday seminar, during the regular convention sessions, and during the evening of the banquet. A set fee is not charged for this service, but we do ask that parents make donations to cover the costs. We hire qualified child-care workers to supervise the children and the volunteer aides.
The registration fee for the seminar is $8.00 per family. This entitles the family to a print or tape subscription to Future Reflections, our magazine for parents of blind children, and to membership in the NFB Parents of Blind Children Division. Pre-register, and save yourself that long wait in the registration line. When the seminar breaks at noon, you will be on your own for lunch. There are a number of restaurants and fast food places within easy distance of the hotel, so this should not present any problems either in terms of time or finances. Activities for parents at the National Federation of the Blind Convention will not end on Saturday with the workshop. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) Workshop will be held on the following Tuesday (July 5) evening from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. We had an excellent workshop and turnout for this program last year. We anticipate doing as well, or even better, this year.
The annual meeting of the NFB Parents of Blind Children Division will be held Monday afternoon, July 4. At the business meeting we will hear reports from our state and local parent chapters and divisions. Last year many parents were disappointed that we did not have enough time to hear from all the groups. We will attempt to hear from all this year. We will also elect officers, discuss old and new projects, and take up any other business we have. For example, the status of efforts of NFB affiliates to pass legislation providing for the opportunity for legally blind children to learn Braille will certainly be on the agenda. The blind have come a long way on the road to independence since the depression days depicted in the movie Places In the Heart. The National Federation of the Blind has been the key element in making it happen.
Come to the 1988 National Federation of the Blind convention, the seminar for parents of blind children, and all of the other meetings and activities at the Hyatt Regency Chicago from July 2 to July 9, and learn what you can do to help your blind child achieve true independence.
GAME AND EDUCATIONAL CENTER AVAILABLE TO THE BLIND
(From the Editor: Some time early this year Mr. Ronald Morford, President of Automated Functions, Inc., came to my office to show me a computer game for the blind. He asked that the Monitor carry an article about it, and I told him we would be glad to consider it. Since there are those who persist in saying that I make a virtue of claiming computer illiteracy, I will only say that my success with the game was indifferent, short-lived, and thoroughly unspectacular. However, I must go on to say that I found it interesting and believe many people would enjoy it immensely. Be that as it may, the blind of the nation should know about it. Therefore, here in edited form is the article which Mr. Morford submitted to me for publication. Incidentally, he says he will be at the national convention in Chicago to demonstrate his product.)
A new game center enables a visually impaired person to play highly interactive talking games. The game center is a regular typing keyboard with a slot in its right side. Plastic cartridges are slipped into the slot, and the fun begins. All of the games talk, and many use sound effects. The games have different levels of difficulty. In this way they do not become boring. The game center is called Game and Educational Machine (GEM). The system weighs only two pounds and is fourteen by ten by three inches.
The games come on plastic cartridges, which are the size of an audio cassette. GEM uses both speech and sounds for games. Any regular television set may be connected to receive visual output. The visual output enables blind and sighted people to play together. [The Editor interpolates that it is also possible for sighted people to play by sound, but back to Mr. Morford's article.] The visual output does not give any advantage to the sighted player. Unless the visual output is wanted, GEM requires no television set.
GEM sells for $399.00, which includes the game system and an introductory cartridge. The games sell for between $29.00 and $40.00 each. Typical games are: Tug of War, Monster Shoot, Submarine Hunt, Bowling, Casino, Wheel of Fortune, Concentration, and others. Some of the games challenge your memory, while others depend on your quickness and ability to react to different sounds. The games can be played with other people or alone. GEM also has educational cartridges. These include a talking scientific calculator, a math tutor, states and capitals, nations and capitals, and more.
GEM is produced by and available from Automated Functions, Inc., 6424 North 28th Street, Arlington, Virginia 22207. Phone 703-536-7741. In order to hear a demonstration of the GEM Bowling game call the number listed.
COMMENTS ON MAX RAFFERTY, RICHARD HOOVER, AND FATHER CARROLL
From the Editor: As Monitor readers know from long experience, the letters we receive in the National Office of the NFB are many and varied. It is not necessary for the Monitor Editor to agree or disagree with what a letter says to print it. It is only necessary that the letter be instructive or interesting or, in the alternative, entertaining. Sometimes, of course, a letter has the virtue of demonstrating all three characteristics. With that introduction here is a letter. The reader may classify it according to his or her own predilections:
March 30, 1988
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
Dr. Max Rafferty, formerly Superintendent of the California State Department of Education, died in New York City in 1986. I am told that he was killed in an accident. A friend, Mrs. Angela Tanner, is quite upset that no one in the blindness field took notice of the death of this great American, who did so much to promote the employment of blind teachers in the public schools of California. His research helped prove that blind persons made good teachers, both of sighted and blind children. He urged local school systems to give blind teachers an opportunity to be employed. Even though he was very conservative in his outlook, he believed in the ability of the blind. He was a progressive in that respect. He believed in giving an equal chance to all human beings, including the blind. It is true that (under the leadership of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek and others) the National Federation of the Blind had a lot to do with opening up these opportunities, but it is also true that Dr. Rafferty was the right person at the right place to be of great help. Therefore, he should receive recognition and credit for his bold stand. Most college and university teachers (especially those who were training teachers of the blind and other educators at that time) strongly and publicly opposed encouraging (or, for that matter, permitting) the blind to work as teachers. Even Perkins Institute (with all of its reputation for pioneering and progressive thought) had a requirement that any blind person applying to enter their teacher-training program must first have the definite assurance of employment at the end of the course. This was not required of sighted applicants, and it was discriminatory and wrong.
Dr. Richard Hoover, Father Thomas Carroll, and others in the blindness field were only advocating that blind persons not be employed to work with the blind. Dr. Hoover's reason was simple. He said that the blind cannot see. Therefore, it follows that they cannot teach. We know that funds were not made available to blind applicants to train as mobility teachers and for other instructional positions.
An article in the November 23, 1962, Newsweek magazine was right on target with this way of thinking. It indicated that the blind do not make good teachers and pointed out the fact that the mobility training program at Western Michigan University, as well as other such programs, would not accept blind trainees but only the sighted. After all, the professionals in the field ought to know; and if they do not believe that the blind can teach, surely that settles the matter.
In the face of all of this negative thought on the part of the professionals in the blindness field, the university professors, and the general public Dr. Rafferty was still prepared to believe in the capabilities of the blind, and he had the courage to stand up and say so with a high profile. His experience in California became a model for other states. Blind persons could point to California as an example and ask other state and local education systems for teaching positions. Dr. Rafferty was a far-sighted man, who in a brief space of time made advances in California which required decades to achieve elsewhere. He was a real friend of the blind, one who truly believed in their ability. It is ironic that when Dr. Richard Hoover died in 1986, many in the field wrote long articles about his achievement in pioneering the use of the long cane and his work, along with Father Thomas Carroll, in getting the federal government to provide funds for training mobility teachers for the blind teachers who had to be sighted. Despite the praise of Hoover and Carroll, their work closed opportunities for the blind in the field of teaching. Hoover and Carroll were eulogized as great friends of the blind, who cared for their needs and made mobility possible for them. No one talked about the damage which they did to the self-esteem of the blind by denying them work in various fields. The recent self-assertion of the deaf (in demanding a college president who is deaf and can communicate with the deaf community) is in the spirit of the present world. It comes at a time when the blind community needs to make it clear that all of what is done in the name of the blind by agency administrators and boards is not always necessarily in the best interest of the blind especially, the run-of-the- mill blind person. Both Father Carroll and Dr. Hoover are cases in point. They were thought to be speaking for the blind as well as about the blind and, indeed, they did a certain amount of good work. Yet, though both of them were honored as friends of the blind, they did much harm to the blind.
There are striking parallels between what has happened to the deaf and the blind. During most of the nineteenth century the deafness field was largely led by people who themselves were hearing impaired. Then, during the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century a struggle took place between the deaf and the hearing as to who made better teachers of the deaf and better workers in the field in general. You guessed it. The hearing felt that they should staff the schools for the deaf, become agency managers, and in general receive the preferred positions. At an international conference of deaf and hearing teachers of the deaf in 1900 the hearing did not want to sit in the same room with the teachers who were deaf, saying that they had nothing in common with them. In some ways work with the blind has followed this same route. However, both the deaf and the blind now have their own organizations and can speak for themselves.
There are, of course, many sighted persons who have the best interest of the blind at heart and are thoroughly honest in their approach. They do not claim to know everything that is good for the blind and do not attempt to dominate them. They believe in self-assertion and self- determination for all human beings, including the blind. In some respects they are like the whites who helped the black civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Once the blacks got their own leadership and got up on their own feet, these people waved them on to equality and independence. Such persons have an abiding faith in human equality, justice, and individual capacity to manage one's own life. Max Rafferty was one of these. May his memory survive, and may he receive from the blind the recognition and credit which he deserves.
P. C. Stone
by Curtis Chong
(This article appeared in the Winter, 1987, Minnesota Bulletin, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota.)
We in the National Federation of the Blind maintain that it is respectable to be blind. More than that, we have stated on numerous occasions that given proper training and opportunity, we can compete on terms of absolute equality with our sighted peers. We have said that we have the ability to work with the sighted, live with the sighted, and participate as active members in our community along with the sighted.
In the National Federation of the Blind we don't just talk about our philosophy of blindness. We live that philosophy. An example of our philosophy in action can be seen in James Davis. James Davis is currently employed as a Taxpayer Service Representative by the U. S. Internal Revenue Service. He lives in St. Paul, is married, and has two children (Quana, who is seven; and Aisha, who is two). He is active in (and helped to found) the Twin Cities Church of Christ. He also holds the office of second vice president in the Metro Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota. Finally, he has the unique distinction of belonging to two minority groups: He is blind and black. Those are the essential facts about the man. How, you might ask, did he achieve this relatively ordinary lifestyle? How did he manage to become one of the twenty-one percent of the working-age blind who happened to be employed? What motivated him to seek out a life as a tax-paying citizen instead of deciding to live on welfare? Davis spent the first eleven years of his life in a small town in Mississippi. His family made its living sharecropping. He became blind at the age of nine. He then spent two years at the Mississippi State School for the Blind in Jackson. At that time there were actually two schools for the blind: one for blind children who were black and the other for blind children who were white. It was at the school for the blind where he first learned to read. In fact, he learned Braille there. In 1965 when Davis was thirteen his family pulled up stakes and moved to Chicago. There he entered public school. Like many other blind children of that era, Davis commuted back and forth each day to a centralized school, where a resource room for blind children and a special education teacher were available. Also, as was true for other blind children of the time, official orientation and mobility training for Davis did not commence until the eighth grade, at which point he began using public transportation to travel to and from school. Davis spent the last two years of high school in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), where he rose to the rank of sergeant-major. They didn't give me any problem about my blindness, he said.
From 1978 to 1977 Davis attended Illinois State University, training to become a teacher. My mother was always big on education, he said. However, his experiences in the classroom, combined with the lack of encouragement from college faculty members, convinced him that he didn't really want to teach. He then determined to leave school for a time. He spent two months working in the sheltered workshop at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and then decided to acquire training as a darkroom technician. This he obtained by spending a quarter at the University of Illinois Circle Campus, after which he spent nine months as a darkroom technician working for a hospital. Not satisfied with his situation in life, Davis then decided to return to college. In 1980 he acquired his degree in human services at Northeastern Illinois University. Armed with this degree, he held a variety of jobs, including one as a social worker at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and another as a coordinator for disabled students with Chicago City Colleges. Eventually Davis wound up working for the U. S. Internal Revenue Service as a Taxpayer Service Representative (TSR). It is interesting to note that he was the first blind TSR to be trained by the IRS in that region training he received with pay. In other words he was not required to attend the TSR training program operated by Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind in which the blind trainees are not paid.
Last year Davis and his family moved to the Twin Cities as a part of a mission team to found the Twin Cities Church of Christ. Although Davis decided to give up his job with the IRS in Chicago so that he could make the move, he was fortunate enough to obtain a TSR position with the St. Paul office of the IRS. In October of 1987 he was promoted to a Grade 7 level. My involvement in the Federation began when I was a student, he said. When I worked in the shop I saw a lot of blind people who had been there for thirty or forty years. They simply didn't believe in themselves. I found that people in the Federation had pride and a sense of direction. They knew what they wanted and had confidence in themselves.
I guess my philosophy has always been in line with that of the Federation, he said. Other organizations simply aren't as positive.
WILLIE LUMPLUMP SPECIAL
Recently, a number of Federationists have received a form letter from the office of Senator Robert Dole. Senator Dole was asked to bring discriminatory airline practices to an end. He promised that he would do so, but he failed to do anything to try to keep the promise. Among other things, Senator Dole said that he would introduce legislation in the Senate which would prohibit airlines from adopting discriminatory seating policies. The bill was never introduced. Instead, the form letter has come from Senator Dole's office saying that he is quite concerned and that he hopes for the best.
After receiving this letter, Willis Gene Saunders of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, wrote President Maurer a letter:
February 29, 1988
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Saunders:
I greatly appreciate your letter concerning access to air transportation for disabled individuals. It was out of concern for the often poor treatment afforded disabled individuals by airline personnel, that I introduced the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986. This bill, which was passed and signed into law in the fall of 1986, requires the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate regulations to ensure non-discriminatory treatment of qualified handicapped individuals consistent with safe carriage of all passengers on air carriers. Representatives of airline industry associations and disability organizations joined the Department of Transportation (DOT) in regulatory negotiations on the assumption that better rules would result if they were negotiated than might have been developed through the usual process.
Many issues were resolved through these negotiations, but unfortunately they broke down in December of 1987, before agreement was reached on all the concerns. Even though the parties are no longer negotiating, regulations on the Air Carrier Access Act will be developed by DOT as is required by law. DOT will be issuing draft regulations in the near future. Though I do not expect any problems, some may arise if DOT or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) place any restrictions on access for disabled individuals because of safety concerns. It is important for you to know that, because of the legislation I introduced, neither DOT nor FAA may restrict access to air transportation because of safety, unless they can clearly demonstrate the existence of a safety problem.
I am confident that DOT will issue regulations on the Air Carrier Access Act that will safeguard the rights of disabled individuals. If not, then you have the right, as part of the regulatory process, to make appropriate comments concerning their proposed rules. If you believe the final rules are discriminatory, you will have the right to file suit in federal court, if you are denied access based on those rules. I look forward to a time when disabled persons may travel freely by air without being subjected to arbitrarily interpreted or applied policies.
United States Senate
Willis Gene Saunders had this to say about Senator Dole's letter.
Point Pleasant, West Virginia
March 9, 1988
Dear Mr. Maurer:
On December 1, 1987, I wrote to Senator Robert Dole of Kansas, suggesting that he use his influence to attempt to get a law passed which would prevent airlines from discriminating against the blind in the area of emergency exit seating, solely on the grounds of blindness.
On March 4, 1988, I received the enclosed letter from Senator Dole's office. I was informed by a sighted friend that it looked like a copy of a form letter.
The contents of the letter remind me of an old Red Skelton radio skit in which Willie Lumplump meets two spies in a bar. The spies, thinking Willie is a lot smarter than he is, try to pump him by buying him drinks. When he's asked what he wants to drink, he answers, A Willie Lumplump Special. They quickly order it and then remember to ask what it is. He replies, A half a glass of hot water with half a glass of cold water and two ice cubes. He then adds as an afterthought, Boy, that's a lot of nothin', isn't it? Do you think this letter falls into the same category as a Willie Lumplump Special?
Yours in Federationism,
Willis Gene Saunders
The following recipes are submitted by Jenny Smith and Sue Ribet of the Anderson Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina.
BARBECUE POTATO SALAD
by Sue Ribet
3 tablespoons vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
5 cups cooked potatoes (diced)
2 hard-boiled eggs (diced)
½ cup green onions (diced)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
Mix vinegar, seed, and ¾ cup mayonnaise together and pour over potato mixture. Toss. It's very good.
CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE
by Sue Ribet
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 heaping tablespoons cocoa
2/3 stick melted margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon plain flour
3 eggs (slightly beaten)
5 tablespoons water
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Mix sugar, cocoa, and flour. Combine margarine, eggs, water, and vanilla. Mix with dry ingredients, blending well. Bake thirty to thirty-five minutes in 350-degree oven.
by Sue Ribet
2-1/2 cups finely chopped cabbage
3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 medium potato diced in small cubes
1 cup water
Cook above ingredients until tender. Add two cups milk and four ounces Swiss cheese (cut in small pieces). Heat just enough to melt cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Very good. Can be frozen.
APPLE CUSTARD PIE
by Sue Ribet
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 eggs (well beaten)
½ cup melted butter
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups golden delicious apples (peeled and diced fine)
1 deep-dish pie shell
Combine all ingredients (except apples) and mix well. Add apples, and stir to coat well. Set aside while preparing the pie shell. Pour mixture in pie shell and bake ten minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake thirty minutes longer. Bake on lower rack of oven. Very good served warm with ice cream.
BLACK WALNUT POUND CAKE
by Jenny Smith
3 cups sugar
½ pound butter
½ cup Crisco
5 extra large eggs
3 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons black walnut flavoring
1 cup black walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients as listed. Grease, flour, and spray Pam on a tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until done. May be frosted with a mocha frosting or eaten plain.
JENNY'S PECAN PIE
by Jenny Smith
½ cup sugar
½ stick butter or good quality margarine
1 cup pecans (chopped)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 cup corn white syrup
1 pie crust
Bake at 300 degrees for approximately one hour.
ORANGE SLICE CAKE
by Jenny Smith
2 sticks margarine
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
1 can coconut
1 pound orange slice candy (chopped)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1-1/3 cups buttermilk
2 cups chopped nuts
1 cup raisins or dates
Mix ingredients, as any other cake, adding coconut, candy, nuts, and raisins last. Pour into a well-greased, floured, and Pam-sprayed tube pan. Cook in preheated 300-degree oven for one hour or more. Pour a glaze of one small can frozen orange juice and one pound ten-x sugar over hot cake. Very good.
JAPANESE FRUIT PIE
by Jenny Smith
2 cups sugar
1 cup raisins
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 stick melted margarine
1 cup nuts
1 cup coconut
2 pie crusts
Mix and pour into two pie crusts. Cook at 350 degrees for thirty minutes or until done.
On March 4, 1988, Don Capps called the National Center for the Blind to say that he and Betty had just become grandparents. At 12:40 that morning the Cappses daughter Beth gave birth to a healthy baby boy--nine pounds, nine ounces, twenty-one inches long. His name is Aaron David Holdcroft. His father and mother (David and Beth) live in Rochester Hills, Michigan, where David is a minister. The Cappses were in Rochester Hills to celebrate and give assistance. Congratulations to the Cappses and the Holdcrofts.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: I would like to submit hi tech items for sale in the Monitor. All of these items are designed for operation in Apple 2-E Transend Modem/both card and software. Including manuals in print and tape. Parallel printer card with cable. I would appreciate your placing these items in your next Monitor. They may call or write to me in print, Braille, or on tape. Contact: Mae Jones, 700 North Denning Drive Apt. 101, Winter Park, Florida 32789; telephone (305) 628-0484.
Laurie Eckery writes:
I would like to announce the results of the February, 1988, elections held by the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska, Omaha Chapter: President, David Robinson; First Vice President, Lonnie Merritt; Second Vice President, Henry Vetter;
Secretary, Laurie Eckery; Treasurer, Floyd Bolden; Board Members:
Edna Allen, Dan Marshall, and Marie Bolden.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The Jefferson City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri is selling fund-raising aprons. These aprons are made of sturdy canvas with waist ties. These aprons are off-white with a bright blue logo and National Federation of the Blind across the front. Two pockets are useful for holding brochures and money for fund-raising. They are also useful as carpenter aprons and clothespin aprons. They may also be used for holding cleaning materials while dusting around the house and other handy uses. Aprons may be purchased at: 1-10, $4.00 each;
11-25, $3.50 each; 26-50, $3.00 each; 51-1,000, $2.50 each. Make check or money order payable to: NFB of Jefferson City. Please call or write in advance of order for availability of quantities:
Betty Walker, 1826 Mississippi Street, Jefferson City, Missouri 65101, (314) 634-7969.
From the Editor: I have just learned of the death on March 22, 1988, of C. Stanley Potter, who was for many years head of the Minnesota State Services for the Blind. When I was Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind, I had frequent contacts with Stan. I did not always agree with him, but we came to be close friends. In fact, on more than one issue we fought together as allies. A notable instance of this was the battle we waged in the mid-1970's to preserve the independence of the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind. Stan Potter was a gentle soul, who made more than the usual efforts to avoid anything resembling controversy, with the result that he sometimes found himself embroiled in more conflict than he would if he had charged straight ahead. Be this as it may, I found Stan to be a person with genuine concern for the well-being of the blind and a warm heart. I am sorry that he is no longer with us.
**Matters of the Heart:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: Remember your loved one with this unique book of poetry; or maybe you just want to treat yourself with a very special gift. Matters of the Heart, by Marita Lyn Tabron. Cassette and print copies are $8.00 each, and Braille copies (on durable plastic paper) are $20.00 each. Send your check or money order to: Mary Walker, Post Office Box 497446, Chicago, Illinois 60649.
**Free Bible Cassettes:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The Bible on audio cassette is available free of charge as a gift to every person who is of low vision, visually impaired, or blind. Those who are print handicapped also qualify. These cassettes are provided to those who desire the Scriptures and furnish valid certification of the visual impairment or disability.
This is not a lending program. All materials are free of charge and meant to be kept. The New Testament has been recorded in twenty-five languages. Portions of the Old Testament, Bible Studies, and Bible Messages are also available in several languages.
One set of Bible cassettes and Bible Studies is offered to each eligible person in the language of his/her choice. All that is needed is a request from the individual with a certification of the impairment from a source recognized by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Organizations of and for the blind, doctors, nurses, rehabilitation workers, and librarians are some of the recognized sources. Professionals who work with the visually impaired or print handicapped may request Scriptures directly for their clients by using their agency letterhead stationery. All materials will be shipped Free Matter for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Orders with valid certification or requests for further details may be directed to Bible Alliance, Inc., Post Office Box 621, Bradenton, Florida 34206, USA, a nonprofit and nondenominational organization. Telephone (813) 748-3031.
Steve Zielinski writes: The 1988 elections for the Detroit, Michigan, Chapter were recently held, with the following results:
Donald Drapinski, President; Steve Handschu, First Vice President; Angela Curvin, Second Vice President; Raymond Roberson, Secretary; Donna Posont, Treasurer; Charlie Horton, Board Member; John Scott, Board Member; and Eugene Payne, Member at Large.
Sister Agnes Windolph of Dubuque, Iowa, writes:
I make illustrated Braille books for blind children. First, there are the extremely simple A-B-C books. These have a large simulated Braille letter, silhouette, and the Braille word (first-grade Braille) and the numbers from one to ten, suitable for a pre-school child, one who has had no Braille at all. On the next level the A-B-C book has more than one picture and word per letter. The next level of difficulty has simple sentences with each picture. The last level consists of descriptive sentences and paragraphs with each letter. I also make Christmas books of different kinds, including one very simple (first grade Braille) comparable to the simple A-B-C one. I will gladly send these, free of charge, to any blind children who would like a book of their very own. If wished, a silhouette of the child, provided by you, will be included in the book with the name of the child underneath. Having given many away, I still have some on hand--first come, first serve. If I know the age, sex, and amount of Braille known, I can adapt the book somewhat to the child as I make it.
For information contact: Sister Agnes Windolph, 1001 Davis Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa 52001.
**Affiliates Take Heed:
We learn from the February, 1988, Palmetto Blind (the publication of the NFB of South Carolina) that the South Carolina affiliate has chartered two large buses to take members to the NFB convention in Chicago. As the editor of the Palmetto Blind says, The NFB of S.C. is determined to be at the top or near the top in attendance at the Chicago convention. Never take idly what the South Carolinians say. Other affiliates take heed.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Henter-Joyce, Inc. of St. Petersburg, Florida, announces a new product for the blind and visually impaired. JAWS (Job Access With Speech) is a software package designed to give blind computer users the flexibility needed to insure productivity. JAWS includes features such as a dual cursor design, built-in macros, windows, and a Lotus style pop-up menu system. JAWS will work with the popular speech synthesizers. JAWS sells for $495 and is available from Henter-Joyce, Inc., 7901 - 4th Street North, St. Petersburg, Florida 33702.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: For Sale: Total Talk, in mint condition, $2,000 or best offer, write Rob McIninch, 16 Harrison Street, Calais, Maine 04619.
About a year ago, President Maurer became a member of the Braille Authority of North America. Last fall at its meeting in New York City he was elected Vice Chairman. The minutes for the meeting of the Braille Authority of North America for the fall of 1987 contain the following:
M. Maurer discussed the possibility that BANA should be the organization that takes a hand in recommending teachers for visually impaired students to have the capacity to teach Braille, and the programs for educating those teachers be structured so that Braille is something they actually learn and not just hear about. And, secondly, that Braille be a part of the curriculum for blind students. M. Maurer feels that with the above done, we can begin to work to increase the use of the very subject we spend our whole time speaking about. M. Maurer discussed his concern that Braille was not being taught properly. M. Maurer made a suggestion that the policy of BANA be that reading and writing are essential skills for teachers of the visually impaired; that teachers of the visually impaired should be able to perform those functions; that adequate instruction in Braille reading and writing should be available to blind students. Moved, seconded, and carried THAT: we adopt the above recommendation and that BANA follow through with a research study.
When Federationists become a part of a program dealing with the blind, somehow policies begin to appear which are truly beneficial for the blind people being served.
Under date of October 14, 1987, Senator Strom Thurmond wrote to David Houck, Director of the Federation Center in Columbia, South Carolina:
Dear Mr. Houck:
Recently I was presented with the first Braille and tactile map of the United States Capitol and Mall area. This map was produced and funded by the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
Knowing of the dedication and commitment of your organization to the blind in South Carolina, I thought you would like to have this map for the benefit of your membership. You and your organization are to be commended for the outstanding service to the blind in our State. Accordingly, it is a pleasure to provide you with this map.
Please be assured of my deep concern over the welfare of our blind citizens. Anytime I can be of further service as your United States Senator, please do not hesitate to contact me. With kindest regards and best wishes.
**Dialysis at Convention:
Karen Mayry, President of the Diabetics Division of the National Federation of the Blind, writes:
Dialysis will be available at North Western Memorial Hospital, Wesley Pavilion, Room 434, Superior Street at Fairbanks Court, Chicago, Illinois, 60611, telephone number (312) 908-3328, during our 1988 convention in Chicago, Illinois. Individuals requiring this service should contact Ms. Nancy Zotto-Vanek to obtain a transient patient packet. Patients must fill out information forms and physicians' statements prior to dialysis treatment at North Western.
The hospital is located approximately one mile from the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Cab fare is approximately $4.00 each way. Buses are available one block from the hotel and stop at the entrance to North Western Memorial. Bus fare is $1.00 each way. The dialysis unit is open for night hours, as well as the usual day schedule.
Fees required by North Western Memorial are a one-time $50.00 charge plus $25.00 per treatment. Please contact Nancy Zotto-Vanek as quickly as possible to make your arrangements.
We are indebted to the Palmetto Blind, the publication of the NFB of South Carolina, for this gem:
My name is gossip. I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I am quoted the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society.
My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.
To track me down is impossible.
The harder you try, the more elusive I become.
I am nobody's friend.
Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and wreck marriages.
I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache, and indigestion.
I spawn suspicion and generate grief.
I make innocent people cry in their pillows. Even my name hisses. I am called Gossip. Office gossip. Shop gossip. Party gossip. Telephone gossip. Before you repeat a story, ask yourself, is it true? Is it fair?
Is it necessary? If not--SHUT UP.
We have recently been contacted concerning the upcoming vacancy in the position of managing director of Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Michigan. The vacancy will occur July 1, 1988, and an active search is now being made to find a suitable candidate. Those interested should contact: Educational Management Network, Post Office Box 792, Nantucket, Massachusetts 02554.
**Roy Miller Dies:
Roy Miller, President of the Sheltered Shop Employees Division of the National Federation of the Blind, died from heart failure and complications of diabetes on February 29, 1988. He was elected president of the Sheltered Shop Employees Division at the NFB convention in Minneapolis in 1982 and was the first division president to die in office. There are many things for which Roy Miller will be remembered--courage, loyalty, willingness to work, and a wish to earn his own way. But above all, he will be remembered as one who wanted fair treatment, not only for himself but for other blind people as well. He was the driving force in organizing the workers at the Houston Lighthouse for the Blind and, thereby, in setting in motion the movement of blind shop workers to organize throughout the country. He was quiet, modest, and unassuming; but those who mistook those characteristics for cowardice or unwillingness to stand up for what he believed often came to regret it. He was much loved by the blind of Texas and the rest of the country. Roy Miller's death is a great loss to the blind of the nation. He was truly a man--one to be respected and remembered.
**Oglesby Fitness Center:
Federationist Bob Oglesby has for many years been manager of the Health Club at the YMCA in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Recently he received an honor which gives testimony to the high esteem which he enjoys in the community. The Spartanburg YMCA family center has the highest number of members per capita of any YMCA in the United States, with one out of every eight persons in Spartanburg using its programs. Not surprisingly, the Spartanburg YMCA has found it necessary to embark upon an expansion program, and the Robert L. Oglesby Fitness Center of the Spartanburg YMCA was dedicated in November of 1987.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: I have two items for sale. These are: 1. VersaBraille cassette storage unit--Model P2D. Includes VersaBraille unit, input/output serial port computer cable, master overlay cassette for operating unit, and both operating instruction manuals. 2. Optaconan R1C model. It is, unfortunately, inoperable at this time, due to the fact that the retina modules need repair and to be upgraded to an R1D. The buyer would have to obtain the upgrade on the retina module from TSI. For information and prices contact: Karin Williams, 2379 St. George Drive, Concord, California 94520, 415-687-2920 (home), 415-646-4883 (work).
Governor Carroll Campbell has reappointed NFB of South Carolina President Donald Capps to the Board of Commissioners of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind. The appointment is for a six-year term. Capps, who was initially appointed by Governor Riley to a six-year term in 1981, will now serve until his term expires in 1993. At a December, 1987, meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the School the nine-member board unanimously re-elected Capps as Vice Chairman of the Board.
As of this writing (Monday, March 21, 1988) Karen Mayry, President of the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota and the Diabetics Division, is between two minor surgeries on her wrists. On March 14 she had surgery on her right wrist to repair a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. The same procedure is scheduled for March 28 on her left wrist. Karen reports that she is recovering smoothly from the first surgery and anticipates the second surgery to go as well. According to Karen, the surgery is a half-hour outpatient procedure, which relieves abnormal pressure on a major nerve in order to restore hand function. As Monitor readers would expect, Karen has not allowed either the condition or the surgery to slow her down.
**Expert on Blindness:
As Monitor readers know, the Idaho Commission for the Blind in 1984 dismissed its blind director and its two blind supervisory staff. It has had only sighted supervisory staff since. These dismissals resulted in protracted legal action, which has still not been settled. In January of this year, at the trial involving the dismissal of the two blind supervisors, the current administration of the Idaho Commission for the Blind made clear its philosophy, its integrity, and its capacity to help the blind. We quote from the Spring, 1988, Gem State Milestones, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Idaho:
At another point Ed Easterling, Chief of Rehabilitation Services who is supposed to have replaced both Smith and Martin, testified that he had a good understanding of blindness. He gave two reasons for this: First, he may lose his vision some day. Second, he is handicapped. When asked the nature of his handicap, he said that he could not turn his head without moving his whole body because of arthritis. This handicap causes him to know all about blindness.
Steve Benson, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, wishes to inform those who care to know that the Chicago White Sox will be in town during the week of the National Federation of the Blind convention this summer. He does not say which days, but as Federationists know, the convention week is Saturday, July 2, to Saturday, July 9.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Please print these items:
I would like to donate to a nonprofit educational institution or library or any approved tax-exempt facility serving the blind four pieces of talking software which run on the Apple 2-E series of computers. These are major pieces of applications software with a retail value of $800. They come complete with recorded and printed documentation. All I require is the payment of shipping from Tampa, Florida, to destination, suitable insurance, and a letter suitable for Internal Revenue Service for income tax deduction for the taxable year 1988.
For sale: The Compuserve Users Information Guide. Current edition on two four-track cassettes, $25 delivered. High quality lifetime guarantee double-sided disks with sleeves and labels, package of ten $10 delivered.
I would like to start corresponding with other users of IBM compatible talking computers in order to compare experiences with different screen readers and to exchange share-ware software. Prefer to correspond on cassette tape.
For information on any of these items write to: Mr. Tandy Way, 8909 Peppermill Court, Tampa, Florida 33634.
Timothy Hendel of Miami, Florida, writes: The Alumni Association of the New York State School for the Blind is having its annual reunion June 17-19 at the Treadway Inn in Batavia. We hope some people who have not attended in a while will come, as we would like to have more members in the association. For more information or to pay your $3 annual dues and get the Alumni Bulletin, contact: Betty Wiley, 20 Clare Avenue, Albany, New York 12202; (518) 449- 7264.
Dave Hyde, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon, suggests that we include the following announcement:
Braille calendars, 1988, with holiday inscriptions, $1.00; Braille and print playing cards, $2.50; Braille and print pinochle cards, $3.50. Please send your check or money order to: Doug Lee, 1076 Ruge Street, N.W., Salem, Oregon 97304. Call (503) 362-0179.
**No Knowledge About Blindness:
The February, 1988, Observer, the publication of our Montana affiliate, says: Luther B. Prickett of Louisiana will be the next Superintendent of the Montana State School for the Deaf and Blind, effective on or before July 1, 1988. He was selected by the Board of Education at their February 4 meeting in Great Falls and agreed to accept a salary of $41,500. Prickett was the child of deaf parents, and his background is in the field of work with the deaf. He is currently Director of Student Life at the Louisiana State School for the Deaf. Although Prickett may have great empathy for all handicapped children, it appears that he has had no previous experience or contact with the blind. Once again, the blind have been relegated to no man's land. We wish Mr. Prickett much success in his new position, and we will certainly endeavor to cooperate with him in upgrading education for blind children in the state. We just have to hope that this man will be willing to learn about blind children, their needs, and abilities; and when the next superintendent is chosen, the law will require some background experience in work with the blind, as well as the deaf. This will be so only if we make it happen.
**A Sign of Our Progress:
The following article (dated March 26, 1988) was widely printed in the press throughout the country:
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.--Members of a condominium association say they were mistaken in refusing to let a blind man rent an apartment.
We're hoping he's going to move in and be a neighbor. If he moves in, he's going to be two doors from me. We're hoping this can end up a positive thing from a negative thing, Morris Barnett, director of the Keswick B Condominium Association at Century Village, said. Larry Tomecek, 35, whose lawyer filed a discrimination complaint March 4, said he didn't know whether he would accept the offer.
The president of the condominium association, in a letter to the owner of the unit that Tomecek was planning to rent, had said he was rejected because he unfortunately is blind.
Chris and Doug Boone of Portland, Oregon, announce the birth of their baby, Edward William, on March 17, 1988. Edward William weighed seven pounds, four ounces, and was twenty- one inches long. As Federationists know, Chris was formerly President of the NFB of Nebraska, and Doug worked for a time at the Nebraska agency. Congratulations to Chris and Doug, and also to Edward William.
**When Presidents Marry:
We have just received word of the wedding of Joan Abraham, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada, and John Tait on April 15 at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas. Joan has been President of the NFB of Nevada for almost two years, and John is a long-time leader of the affiliate. We also note the joining in matrimony of Gary Wunder, President of the NFB of Missouri, and Sue Micich, President of the NFB of Wisconsin--one more incentive to become a state president. Congratulations to the presidents and to all who succeed them.
How many of us have committed the National Federation of the Blind pledge to memory? Some local chapters and state affiliates begin each meeting by repeating the pledge. It is a good idea.
Here it is:
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 programs and policies of the Federation; and to abide by its Constitution.
We have been asked to announce that the Courage Center, 3915 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, Minnesota 55422, telephone (612) 588-0811, has produced on tape a number of publications of interest to amateur radio operators. Publications include: ARRL 1987 License Manual With Questions and Answers, Running Your Own Ham Station, ARRL Net Directory. The Courage Center will supply print catalogs upon request.
**21st Century Federationist:
April 3, 1988
Dear President Maurer:
Sure hope I got your name right. You see, I just came home from the hospital yesterday. I was born March 31 at 8:52 a.m., my weight was six pounds five ounces, and I was nineteen inches long. My grandparents, Paul and Bernie Dressell, said that you would want to know all about me, so they told me to write to you. They have been telling me about the NAC Tracking demonstrations and the Marches on Washington in which NFB has been participating for these many years. They sound like a lot of fun, so please don't stop them until at least I have had a chance to be a part of them.
My grandparents have also told me about the other leaders in the movement, such as Dr. Jernigan, Barbara Pierce, Bob Eschbach, and countless others. I am looking forward to meeting all of you; but being three- or is it four-days old, I imagine it will be a while before that happens. Until such time I wish all of you well.
James Edward Dressell
P. S. Since I have been born, all and sundry--my parents as well as grandparents--have been telling me what I should do. I am already getting tired of that, but possibly that might be the first step to being a Federationist.
We learn from the Winter, 1987, Minnesota Bulletin of the death in December of Archie Erickson, former leader and president of the Minnesota state affiliate. Archie, who died at age eighty-two, lived a long and full life. He was from an earlier era in our movement, a time when the blind were far less strongly organized than we are today, but he did what he could to open doors and create opportunities. Andy Virden's tribute in the Minnesota Bulletin is eloquent.
On Tuesday, April 12, 1988, Barbara Walker, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska, was taken to Bryan Memorial Hospital in Lincoln for an emergency appendectomy. The appendix was so inflamed that it was near to rupture. Mrs. Walker returned home on Sunday, April 17, and when your Editor talked with her on April 19, she was still very much in the process of recovering. However, there is every indication that she will soon be back to her usual level of energy and vitality.
Seville Allen, President of the Potomac Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia and one of the long-time leaders of the state affiliate, was appointed March 19, 1988, to a three-year term on the Arlington County Commission on the Physically Disabled. The Commission advises the county government on matters relating to the handicapped.
At the convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi held in Jackson on the weekend of April 8-9, the following people were elected to office: James Moore, Hazelhurst, President; Sam Gleese, Jackson, First Vice President; E. U. Parker, Laurel, Second Vice President; Gwen Stokes, Jackson, Secretary; and Doris Keith, Jackson, Treasurer. Board Members are: Richard Paine, Hazlehurst; Sarah White, Jackson; Mary Reed, Jackson; and Hugh Barlow, Jackson.
Mary Wurtzel, who chairs the Committee on Parental Concerns, writes as follows: Child care will once again be provided during our 1988 NFB convention. It will be available beginning Saturday morning for the parents' seminar. Child care is also provided during the Committee on Parental Concerns meeting Sunday evening. It is helpful for planning if people let us know how many children you are bringing and their ages. Federation leaders can help by making sure more people actually get this information to me. If your child needs more intense care and does not function in a larger group, you will need to provide your own child care. Parents, please make a donation to child care part of your convention budget. You did better last year, but much of our costs are still covered by other chapters, affiliates, and our national office. Thank you Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas City, and Wichita, Kansas, chapters for past support. Send information or inquiries to: Mary Wurtzel, 1918 Kingswood Drive, Lansing, Michigan 48912; phone (517) 485-0326.
**Carol Anderson Dies:
Karen Mayry, President of the Diabetics Division of the National Federation of the Blind, writes as follows:
Carol Anderson became familiar with the National Federation of the Blind in 1985 through our Diabetics Division. She wrote to me regarding her need for a kidney transplant, after which we conversed by phone and wrote to one another. I found her to be an exciting person, willing to help where needed and interested in the work of the National Federation of the Blind. Following several illness-related delays, Carol received her kidney. It worked wonderfully well for her, and she and I met at our 1986 March on Washington. By then she had become involved with our organization in both New York and New Jersey. Her interest had compelled her to attend the March on Washington despite a sprained ankle. As roommates and individuals who shared a kidney transplant, we developed a special bond with one another.
Carol was involved in several volunteer positions--Red Cross, sports for kidney transplant patients, and church. She also served as treasurer of the NFB Diabetics Division during the past two years. Many, many individuals have been touched by her lively spirit, concern about good diabetes control, and compassion for all diabetics. Death struck Carol--age thirty-three through a massive heart attack Sunday, April 10, 1988. She understood how complications of diabetes can affect one's life. She will remain in our hearts as a person whom we loved and cherished.
The following press release was issued jointly by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and the National Federation of the Blind in October of 1987. We reprint it with an addendum as a reminder:
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) announce the availability of the first ever, mass- produced Braille edition of John Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Blind writers, students, and other interested readers now have access to this important reference tool, which lists more than 22,500 quotations, sayings, and writings of English and American authors. A detailed index serves as a key to locating and identifying passages in the book. Braille production of Bartlett's is a joint effort of NLS and NFB with the permission of Little, Brown, and Company, the print edition publisher. Gift funds from the estate of Leonard R. Stachura were used to purchase the metal plates needed to produce the 105-volume set. NLS has distributed copies for reference use in forty-three cooperating Braille-lending libraries around the country. NFB is offering the set at cost in soft-bound and hard-bound editions. Individuals and schools or other organizations may purchase the soft-bound edition for $230 and the hard- bound edition for $630 directly from NFB at: 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.
Addendum: The soft-bound edition requires thirteen feet, two inches (158 inches) of shelf space, and the hard-bound edition requires seventeen feet, six inches (210 inches) of shelf space.