Release Date: 
Friday, October 19, 2007
Michael Barber
National Federation of the Blind
(515) 284-1569

Blind Group to Meet in Burlington to Discuss New Opportunities for Blind Iowa Residents

Des Moines, Iowa (October 19, 2007): The National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (NFBI) will be hosting an informational 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, October 20, at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Burlington.  "We as bind 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."

Location:  Comfort Inn and Suites
               1780 Stonegate Center Drive 
               Burlington, Iowa
Time:        October 20, 2:00 p.m.

"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 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.  He expressed the hope that a chapter of the Federation might be formed in the Burlington area.

"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," Barber said. 

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.  "Do you know," he said, "that blind people in Iowa now can vote for the first time using a fully nonvisually accessible secret ballot?"

If people are not able to attend Saturday's meeting, they can call Michael Barber at (515) 284-1569 to learn more about the NFBI and other issues that effect 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.