Washington Seminar Agenda

The National Federation of the Blind's 2019 Washington Seminar is scheduled to take place January 27 through January 31, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol, 550 C Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. 

Sunday, January 27

9:00 AM–5:00 PM: Parent Leadership Program, National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute (Baltimore, MD)

  • This seminar, sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), a division of the National Federation of the Blind, empowers parents with the critical leadership skills, advocacy tools, and Federation philosophy they need to build a strong state division of the NOPBC. If you wish to recommend a parent (or yourself) to participate, please contact Carol Castellano prior to the seminar at carol_castellano@verizon.net.
  • The Parent Leadership Program will also be meeting on Monday, January 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. prior to leaving for the Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol for the Great Gathering-In.

4:00–7:00 PM: National Association of Blind Students Check-In and Information Desk, House Room

3:00–5:00 PM: Behind the Lens: Conversations on Visual Interpreter Tech, Senate Room

  • How do visual interpreter platforms and equipment shape, extend, and constrain our skills and opportunities as blind people? How do business practices and design choices affect us, and how can we affect them? How is visual interpreter tech introduced, taught, and positioned in the context of blindness training? These informal discussion sessions are designed to help us have an open, thoughtful, and sales-free conversation about what visual interpreter tech means in our community. Users, developers, workers, and anyone else with an interest is welcome.
  • RSVPs are optional but appreciated. Please contact Chancey Fleet, President, National Federation of the Blind Assistive Technology Trainers Division; 2018-2019 Fellow, Data and Society Research Institute) at chancey@datasociety.netor 347-632-8383.
  • We will be available again on Monday January 28, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Senate Room.

5:00–7:00 PM: State Affiliate Presidents Meeting, Capitol I

  • All Federation affiliate presidents who are available should attend this gathering with the President of the National Federation of the Blind. The purpose will be to receive organizational updates, discuss important topics for affiliate presidents, and share information that our top affiliate leaders should know. Since we are not all meeting in Baltimore prior to the seminar, this is our one opportunity to bring just the affiliate leaders together. Only affiliate presidents are permitted at this meeting.

Monday, January 28

7:45 AM–1:00 PM: National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute Tours, Lobby

  • Buses will load at 7:45 a.m. and will depart at 8:00 a.m. sharp.
  • Tours of the Jernigan Institute will begin at 9:30 a.m. and buses will leave to return to the Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol at 12:00 p.m.

9:00 AM–3:00 PM: Dream Makers Circle Table, Lobby

  • Please stop by to learn how easy it is to join our legacy society. Be a part of helping our next generations by joining our Dream Makers Circle. It can take just minutes.

9:00 AM–12:00 PM: State Presidents and Legislative Directors Briefing, Congressional II

  • All state presidents and legislative directors attending the 2019 National Federation of the Blind Washington Seminar are asked to attend this legislative briefing, with two new issues, this year’s meeting is particularly important. The briefing will cover our 2019 legislative priorities, tips for effective Hill meetings, follow up strategies, and Washington Seminar logistics that affiliate leaders should be aware of for the week.

9:15–10:00 AM: National Association of Blind Students, Winter Student Seminar Registration ($5), Capitol Ballroom Foyer

10:00 AM–12:00 PM: National Association of Blind Students, Winter Seminar, Capitol Ballroom

  • Students, teachers, young professionals, and curious minds: Join the National Association of Blind Students (NABS) for our annual Winter Seminar. You will interact with blind students from across the country, learn from successful blind professionals; benefit from informative presentations on topics including internships, study abroad programs, recreational activities, and scholarships; and engage in discussions on issues ranging from self-advocacy in the classroom to securing employment. Registration is $5 at the door!
  • We accept credit cards, Venmo, PayPal, and cash.
  • Direct questions to Kathryn Webster, President, at nabs.president@gmail.com or 203-273-8463.

1:00–4:00 PM: National Association of Blind Merchants: With Challenges Come Opportunities; Making a Difference, Making it Happen, Congressional I Ballroom

  • We will have a discussion about the challenges of 2019, new private sector opportunities, and BLAST 2019.

Room #275 is open 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and for one hour following the Great Gathering-In.

2:00–4:00 PM: Legislative Seminar, Capitol Ballroom

  • Whether you are a Washington Seminar veteran or an enthusiastic rookie, we urge you to attend this interactive seminar. The government affairs team will provide essential information about our legislative priorities for 2019. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions and put your knowledge into practice.
  • The fact sheets can be found at nfb.org/washington-seminar. We encourage you to review these documents carefully beforehand and come prepared with questions so we are all well-equipped with the information we need to make our case to members of Congress and their staff.

3:30–4:30 PM and 6:30–7:00 PM: Dream Makers Circle Table, Capitol Ballroom Foyer

  • Please stop by to learn how easy it is to join our legacy society. Be a part of helping our next generations by joining our Dream Makers Circle. It can take just minutes.

5:00–7:00 PM: Great Gathering-In, Capitol Ballroom

  • Congressional II Ballroom is the overflow room

7:30–9:30 PM: NFB LGBTQ+ Group Meetup, 21st Amendment Bar and Grill

  • Get to know members of the NFB LGBTQ+ group at the 21st Amendment Bar and Grill following the Great Gathering-In. Come learn about how the group is building the Federation and assisting blind LGBTQ+ people to live the lives we want. This is an informal social and you will be responsible for purchasing your own food and beverages. For more information, please contact Tai Tomasi at 515-329-4908.

8:30–11:30 PM: Federation Fiesta, Congressional Ballroom

  • What are you doing after the Great Gathering-In? Come on out to have light appetizers and drinks, see old friends, and make some new ones, while supporting your students’ division! Enjoy great music from singer and song writer David Amaya and practice salsa dancing with Patti Chang and John Bailey while socializing and bidding on exciting items in our annual auction. Think: iPad Mini, smart microwave, AirPods, Amazon Echo, iPhone, and so much more! Come early to get a good seat and to check out all of the awesome auction items before they go up for bidding. Tickets are $7 at the door. To preorder a wristband, please see any member of the NABS board prior to 7:30 p.m. on January 28.
  • Direct questions to Edward Shaham, Federation Fiesta Coordinator, at personal.edward@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 29

Room #275 is open 7:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

5:00–6:30 PM: National Federation of the Blind Congressional Reception, Congressional Ballroom and Foyer

  • The members of the National Federation of the Blind invite members of Congress and congressional staff to come learn more about our organization, legislative priorities, and how we live the lives we want.

Wednesday, January 30

Room #275 is open 7:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and for one hour following the evening briefing.

6:00 PM: Reviewing Our Day on the Hill, Capitol I

  • A meeting with John Paré, Gabe Cazares, Kimie Eacobacci, and Stephanie Flynt.

Thursday, January 31

Room #275 is open 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.