American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
Future Reflections
       Fall 2023      ADVOCACY

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Progress To Make the Web More Usable and Friendly for the Blind

by the NFB Advocacy and Policy Team

Reprinted from Braille Monitor, Volume 66, Number 10, November 2023

From the Editor: The following letter was sent to the NFB listservs by the Advocacy and Policy Team. It reports on a bill that is currently making its way through Congress and suggests the actions we can take to encourage its passage. This bill could play a critical role in our effort to use the internet smoothly and productively.

Dear Federation Family:

Thanks to everyone's hard work, the bipartisan Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act (S. 2984 /H.R. 5813) was introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives on September 28, 2023. This bill is a culmination of your advocacy, beginning with Washington Seminar and continuing up to now. The Senate bill was introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, and the House bill was introduced by Representative John Sarbanes of Maryland. You can read more about the introduction of the bill in Senator Duckworth's official press release. Senator Warren and Senator Markey have cosponsored the Senate bill, and Representative Pete Sessions cosponsored the House bill.

After years of advocacy, we are proud to have champions like Senator Duckworth and Representative Sarbanes, but the real challenge has only begun. Now we have to shift our focus toward building support for the legislation in order to get it through the committees, onto the floor of the Senate and the House, and ultimately passed by both Chambers, to the desk of the president. This is where your advocacy, as blind constituents from every state in the Union who will benefit from the requirements of this legislation, is more important than ever. Please call and email your senators and representatives and ask them to cosponsor the Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act today!

When you call or email you might say something such as: "Hello, my name is [your name], and I am a constituent of [senator/representative name]. I live in [city, state]. I would like to urge [senator/representative name] to cosponsor the Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act, [S. 2984/H.R. 5813]. This legislation would ensure that blind and disabled Americans can have the same opportunity to independently access websites and applications as our nondisabled peers. Thank you."

You can contact your member of Congress by calling the Capitol Switchboard and asking for the office in question. The number is 202-224-3121. If you contact your senator or representative via email, please copy Jeff Kaloc at [email protected]. Your calls and emails do make a difference.

Inaccessible websites and applications are barriers that prevent us from living the lives we want. They prevent us from getting the education, employment, and independence that we desire. This is why our advocacy for this bill is so important.

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