FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Governor Martin O’Malley to Serve as Honorary Co-chair of Braille Literacy Campaign

Governor Martin O’Malley to Serve as Honorary Co-chair of Braille Literacy Campaign

Baltimore, Maryland (March 19, 2009): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading advocate for Braille literacy, announced today that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will serve as an honorary co-chair of the NFB’s Braille literacy campaign. As a co-chair, Governor O’Malley will help advance the NFB’s Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, a national initiative to promote the importance of reading and writing Braille for blind children and adults. The Braille Readers are Leaders campaign kicked off in July of 2008 with the unveiling of the design of a commemorative coin to be released on March 26, 2009, in recognition of the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille (1809–1852), the inventor of the reading and writing code for the blind that bears his name.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to have Governor O’Malley as part of this historic initiative to bring Braille literacy to all of the blind children and adults in America who need it. As the respected governor of the fine state of Maryland, home to the headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind, Governor O’Malley will be an invaluable asset in reaching out to the citizens of Maryland to share his belief in Braille literacy. There can be no doubt that the ability to read and write Braille competently and efficiently is the key to education, employment, and success for the blind. Despite the undisputed value of Braille, however, only about 10 percent of blind children in the United States are currently learning it. Society would never accept a 10 percent literacy rate among sighted children; it should not accept such an outrageously low literacy rate among the blind. The Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, with the support of influential Americans like Governor O’Malley, will reverse the downward trend in Braille literacy and ensure that equal opportunities in education and employment are available to all of the nation’s blind.”

Governor Martin O’Malley said: “I am honored and pleased to serve as an honorary co-chair of the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign. I have worked with the National Federation of the Blind many times, and I truly believe in its mission to bring literacy to all blind children and adults. Blind people have the same right to literacy as everyone else and I am eager to participate in the campaign to accomplish this mission.”

For more information about the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign and the Louis Braille commemorative coin, please visit www.braille.org.