American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
Future Reflections
       Convention 2019      LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

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The Power of Unity

by Deborah Kent Stein

Domonique Lawless teaches Ian Oliver to use his cane on the escalator.On the last day of the 2019 NFB convention, a close friend joined me at the Mandalay Bay Plaza. She is sighted, and she had never attended an NFB National Convention before. I wondered how she would feel in the midst of nearly three thousand blind people. Would I be able to put her at ease?

But my friend didn't express dismay or even surprise as we crossed the hotel lobby, surrounded by guide dogs and tapping canes. What captured her attention was something I didn't expect. "People are so comfortable with each other," she marveled. "People of all races, all ages, hanging out together—I've never seen this anywhere else."

The national convention of the National Federation of the Blind brings together people of all ethnic backgrounds and economic strata, people from every state in the country and from overseas. Our experience of blindness and our philosophy about what it means to be blind unite us across our outward differences. The NFB is a richly diverse organization. Our commitment to create a better future for all blind people draws us together and makes us strong.

AJ McFadden and Andrena Sampson draw on the Sensational BlackBoard.The 2019 NFB National Convention took place July 7-12 at the Mandalay Bay Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Convention began with the annual conference of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC). This year the theme was "Blindness Skills: The Only Sure Bet in Vegas." The day of presentations and workshops was only the beginning. The NOPBC planned exciting activities for parents and children throughout the week. When families weren't involved in structured activities, they browsed the exhibit halls or shared ideas and resources with new friends and old. And of course, there was always time somewhere for a visit to the aquarium or a splash in one of the hotel's pools.

Trinda Huerta and Katie Cuppy gather armloads of books at the Braille Book Fair.During the last three days of convention attendees gathered by state delegation to hear inspiring presentations about opportunities and advances for blind people in education, accessible technology, and employment. Convention concluded with the annual banquet, including the presentation of the 2019 NFB National Scholarship awards and a powerful speech by NFB President Mark Riccobono. You can read President Riccobono's banquet address, "Choice, Exploration, and Resistance: The Road to Freedom for the Blind," at https://www.nfb.org/resources/speeches-and-reports/banquet-speeches/choice-exploration-and-resistance-road-freedom.

Federationists applaud President Mark Riccobono as he delivers his presidential address.This issue of Future Reflections contains a selection of articles based on convention workshops and presentations, as well as personal experiences and descriptions of convention programs and events. If you attended the 2019 convention, the articles and photos in this issue may bring back rich memories. If you haven't yet attended an NFB convention, we hope you will be inspired to join us for Convention 2020. We look forward to seeing you in Houston!

During a presentation about STEM activities, two Federationists build triangular structures with toothpicks and gumdrops.

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