FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Michael Barber
President
National Federation of the Blind of Iowa
(515) 284-1569

Blind Group To Meet in Burlington

Des Moines Iowa, (January 8, 2008): The National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (NFBI) will be hosting an organizational meeting for blind and interested sighted persons on the current issues and concerns that affect blind people in Burlington and around the state.  The meeting will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2008, in the conference room at the Hy-Vee pharmacy in Burlington.

Location: Hy-Vee Pharmacy
              3140 Agency Street
              Burlington, Iowa
Date:       Saturday, January 12, 2008
Time:       2:00 p.m.

"We as blind people desperately need an established network and support system," said Michael Barber, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa.  He pointed out that the blind represent a "low incidence" population and that blindness, as a characteristic, "can affect anyone, regardless of race, religion, economic circumstance, or educational level."

"Professionals in the blindness field can provide valuable information about products, techniques, and training options," Barber said, "but they cannot speak for the blind nor affect change in public policy the way we who are blind can and should."

Barber said that Federationists have been active in the Burlington area the past several months and are ready to form a local chapter in Burlington.  The meeting on Saturday is intended to provide valuable information about the National Federation of the Blind, its many programs, and the services it offers to the blind of Iowa and the nation.  A chapter of the Federation will be formed at this time.

"Too many people around the state do not know that there are ways to read local and national newspapers over the telephone, free of charge.   They do not know of the new advances in technology by the Federation that make it possible to have a print-reading system--right in their pocket," said Miranda Brown, the local organizer and NFB member in Burlington.  "There are so many things that we can benefit from here in Burlington that we can learn from others across the state and country.  Too many things happen for blind people that we do not know about until it is too late," she added.  "Having a local chapter here in Burlington will provide us with a network and support system throughout the country that will help us become proactive and benefit blind people in this area."

Barber added that changes in the Books for the Blind program operated by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress offer the possibility of digital talking books in years to come.

Speaking about other technological developments that benefit the blind, Barber said, "Do you know that blind people in Iowa now can vote for the first time using a fully nonvisually accessible secret ballot?"

If unable to attend Saturday's meeting, please call Michael Barber at (515) 284-1569 or Miranda Brown at (319) 754-5624 to learn more about the NFBI and other issues that affect blind persons.

The National Federation of the Blind of Iowa is an organization of blind and sighted individuals working to advance the general welfare of the blind of Iowa and the nation.  Under the motto, "We are changing what it means to be blind," the organization educates the public about the ability of persons who are blind to lead productive and self-sufficient lives and advocates for the rights of blind people.