Statement of the Board of Directors to the Federation Community Regarding Location of 2024 National Convention

The National Federation of the Blind is aware that prominent civil rights organizations representing marginalized groups, including racial minorities, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community, have issued travel advisories for the state of Florida because of recently enacted laws and policies that affect these groups and, consequently, affect our members as well. We acknowledge the serious concerns raised in these travel advisories. Over the past decade, we have enjoyed many safe and meaningful conventions in Florida, and we hosted the 2016 General Assembly of the World Blind Union working closely with the team at Rosen Hotels & Resorts. We made a previous commitment to come back to a Rosen property in 2024 specifically because of the hospitality and respect shown to all our members by the Rosen Hotels & Resorts staff. 

As the transformative advocacy organization of blind people in the United States, our purpose in visiting Florida is to further the work of our organization through our annual Convention, which is our supreme governing authority, not to benefit the state’s tourism industry or to make a partisan statement of any kind. Our work is centered on defending the rights of blind people to live the lives they want. As our code of conduct affirms, the National Federation of the Blind does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, political affiliation, or any other characteristic or intersectionality of characteristics. We commit that our 2024 convention will be a safe space for all blind people, as well as our friends, families, partners, and allies, and we are confident that Rosen Hotels & Resorts and the Orlando community join us in that commitment. We will work closely with other civil rights organizations to ensure that our convention is a safe place for all our members and friends. 

Furthermore, we affirm and support advocates in creating a safer and more equitable America for all marginalized people in this country. To our members under attack by laws and policies, please know that we are actively working to ensure that these policies do not affect your continued participation in the organized blind movement. This work includes consideration of affordable locations without such advisories. We hear you. As we consider our future convention locations beyond 2025, we pledge to examine our convention-planning process and priorities to determine if there are more effective ways to select convention locations that do not present the increased risk for certain portions of our membership. We will continue to engage groups, committees, and divisions within the Federation to identify meaningful steps we can take to continue the work of the blind people’s movement in all parts of this nation.