May 2023

President's Message

Dear Friends:

Let me begin by sharing my hope that all our moms enjoyed an incredibly special Mother’s Day. I appreciate all that you do.

All around the Federation and here in Baltimore we are gearing up for the most important event of the year, the national convention. The scholarship committee recently met at the Jernigan Institute to select thirty finalists who will be joining us in Houston in July. Each year is a transformative event, and I know 2023 will be even better.

I can’t wait to interact with all of you. There are so many networking opportunities, affinity gatherings, things to discover in the exhibit hall, and informative sessions. Please take advantage of all our convention has to offer.

I am especially looking forward to experiencing our democracy in action. From the resolutions meeting, to debates in the halls and restaurants, and social media interactions, we are a grassroots democratic organization made up of individual members.

I urge all of you to participate in the convention’s democratic process. Each affiliate has a delegate who represents all members, not just those attending the convention in-person. Make sure your voice can be heard by contacting your affiliate president before convention and ask for delegate information so you can fully participate. Our Federation is strongest when everyone gets involved and participates.


Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind

Convention – Not a Conference

What is the difference between a convention and a conference?

The simplest dictionary definition for conference is “a formal meeting.” Each year the National Federation of the Blind gathers for our national convention. While our Convention is a formal meeting, it is much more than a conference. Article V of our constitution declares: “the Convention is the supreme authority of the Federation. It is the legislature of the Federation. As such, it has final authority with respect to all issues of policy...”

And our national convention is the largest gathering of blind people in the world. Federation conventions empower, teach, energize, and impact attendees like Carla who summed up her first conventions this way:

“My first experience at a convention of the National Federation of the Blind was when I received a scholarship from the Illinois Affiliate. After years of believing that blind people did not have the same capacity for success as sighted people, the members at the Illinois State Convention proved me wrong! It was life changing for me. Suddenly, I realized that I had the potential, as a blind person, to do whatever I wanted in life; blindness was not going to hold me back.

My first national convention the following year was even more memorable than I had expected. It was so freeing to meet blind people from all over the world, knowing that we had common bonds, and the desire to improve the quality of life for all blind people. The National Federation of the Blind National Convention is one of my favorite events of the year. It is more like a family reunion, rather than the annual business meeting of the Federation. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”

It is not too late for you to join the 2023 National Convention in Houston in July. If you are concerned about finances, you can learn about ways to attend on a budget in the Braille Monitor article “More About the Dynamic 2023 Convention” by Norma Crosby.

Visit our convention page for hotel and convention registration information.

Latest News at the NFB

Introduction of Access Technology Affordability Act Applauded

The Access Technology Affordability Act was reintroduced in the Senate on Thursday, May 4, by Senator Ben Cardin (Maryland), with Senators John Boozman (Arkansas), Ron Wyden (Oregon), and Todd Young (Indiana) as cosponsors. The Federation applauds the introduction of S1467 which will create a $2,000 refundable tax credit to help cover the cost of qualified access technology. Learn more about the ATAA.

Give $20 Convention Drawing and Aira Matching Gift announced

Thousands of Federation members contribute each year to various funds that support blind people. 2023 is no exception. The Federation announced on May 2 that the Give $20 convention drawing will take place on July 6 at the annual banquet of the National Federation of the Blind and that Aira has generously agreed to match up to 25,000 dollars of donations given between May 1 and July 6, 3:00 p.m. Central Time. To enter the drawing and contribute or learn more visit our Give $20 page.

NFB and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Meet

President Mark Riccobono met with the director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), Len Olijar, last month to discuss the next generation of paper currency in the United States. The meeting was cordial and productive, and President Riccobono was even able to preview some of the raised tactile features that will be implemented on the upcoming redesign of the ten-dollar bill, scheduled to be released in 2026. Listen to U.S. Currency to Become Easier to Use from the Nation’s Blind Podcast for a deeper understanding.

Teachers of Tomorrow Application Period Open

Applications are now open for the 2023-2024 National Federation of the Blind Teachers of Tomorrow cohort. NFB Teachers of Tomorrow is an immersive professional development program that connects teachers of blind and low-vision students to the lived experiences of blind people. The program will equip the participants with knowledge of the skills and attitudes that can help blind students thrive in school and beyond. Apply for and learn more about our Teachers of Tomorrow program.

Mastodon Move Announced

The Federation has moved to the social media platform Mastodon to establish a more robust and blind-driven social network. Mastodon is a free and open-source software for running self-hosted social networking services and forums. We invite you to learn more and connect with us at @[email protected] and @[email protected]. Learn more about Mona, a Mastodon app for iOS, iPadOS and MacOS, on the Living Blindfully Podcast.

Take Action This Month

Throughout our local chapters and state affiliates to our national headquarters and diverse committees, the National Federation of the Blind is an organization of collective action. Here’s what you can do to get involved this month.

Important Dates

We certainly are a busy organization. Don’t miss these upcoming events, workshops, and deadlines.