Letter from the President
Fall is here and there is a lot happening across the country including schools being back in session and several fall state conventions. The National Federation of the Blind has affiliates in every state, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Our members represent the diverse cultures and backgrounds of the nation. The common bond of blindness ties us together, and we choose to come together in this organization to raise up all blind people in society. We believe that the blind have the right and the responsibility to speak and act for ourselves from our education and beyond.
We continue to transform America’s educational system to empower rather than exclude our blind youth. The Federation also continues to develop more inclusive educational programming for blind children and adults. Along with education, we seek to share our positive philosophy. Our state conventions are a great way to connect blind students and their families to blind role models. Please consider attending an upcoming state convention to hear more stories about the important work of the Federation from members.
Mark Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
Stronger Together–NFB Steps up Spanish Interpretation and Translation
La National Federation of the Blind sabe que la ceguera no es la característica que define tu futuro o a ti. Todos los días elevamos las expectativas de los ciegos, porque las bajas expectativas crean obstáculos entre los ciegos y su futuro. Vive la vida que quieres; la ceguera no te lo impide.
In English, The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.
The 2021 theme for Hispanic Heritage Month, “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope,” reminds us that we are stronger together– something we in the Federation have focused on throughout this year as well. Let us celebrate the contributions and importance of the many blind Hispanics and Latinos in our movement and community. Hispanic Heritage Month starts on September 15 and ends on October 15, which also happens to be White Cane Awareness Day, an important observance for independence.
Recognizing that there is a need for more Spanish content around blindness and blind people living in the United States, we are building more translated materials and interpretation during our events. While this is only one way to welcome all blind people, it can make a real difference.
- Our monthly Presidential Releases, a live event via Zoom
- Washington Seminar, part of our annual advocacy efforts
- 2021 National Convention, more than forty five hours of interpretation
- Integrated lessons with Spanish interpretation for NFB BELL® Academy In-Home Edition and NFB EQ, our summer education programs from blind students.
A NFB BELL teacher shared, “It was so fun to see a four-year-old girl come to understand that we read Braille with our fingers rather than with our vision. Any Braille teacher can relate to that epiphany and it mattered not that she was learning with her peers using an interpreter.”
Additionally, many of our state affiliates have begun interpreting state conventions. You can learn more or help with these efforts by reaching out to our Spanish Translation Committee.
Latest News at the NFB
October Gets a New Name: Blind Equality Achievement Month
Formally known as Meet the Blind Month, the National Federation of the Blind celebrates the organized blind movement each October. Throughout the month, our members conduct a variety of outreach activities in their local communities. This refresh was officially announced during the September Presidential Release, and we look forward to the exciting events this October during Blind Equality Achievement Month. #BlindMonth
President Riccobono Sends Letter to President Biden Regarding Interagency Coordinating Council on Blindness
Throughout recent American history, a myriad of programs and supports have been put into place by the federal government that promote greater productivity and self-sufficiency for the nation’s blind. Yet, various related initiatives remain uncoordinated. Read our recent letter to President Biden regarding the establishment of an Interagency Coordinating Council on Blindness.
National Federation of the Blind Urges Changes to the Macy Act
The Alice Cogswell Anne Sullivan Macy Act (H.R. 1959/S. 813 in the 117th Congress) seeks to improve K-12 education for blind students, but it focuses on the wrong areas. Learn more about the Macy Act and how it should be amended.
NFB-NEWSLINE® Restored in Montana
NFB-NEWSLINE® is a free audio and Braille information service for anyone who is blind, low-vision, deafblind, or otherwise print-disabled that offers access to more than 500 publications, emergency weather alerts, job listings, and more. Congratulations to our Montana affiliate for restoring NFB-NEWSLINE to all blind people in Montana. Our NFB-NEWSLINE program continues to grow, and content is being added all the time. Learn more at nfbnewsline.org.
Take Action This Month
Throughout our local chapters and state affiliates to our national headquarters and diverse committees, the National Federation of the Blind is an organization of collective action. Here’s what you can do to get involved this month.
- Read the 2021 Presidential Report delivered by President Mark Riccobono at the 2021 National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in the August/September Braille Monitor.
- Read our recent Voice of the Nation’s Blind Blog posts:
- Our partners at the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults provide free Braille books to thousands of blind children each year and are seeking interested participants for Braille books in Spanish. If you know someone who could benefit from Spanish Braille books, please share this Spanish Braille Interest form for them to fill out.
We certainly are a busy organization. Don’t miss these upcoming events, conventions, and celebrations.
- September-November, 2021: Fall State Affiliate Conventions
- September 28, 2021: Accessibility Boutique—Manual Testing with NVDA
- October 2021: Blind Equality Achievement Month
- October 1, 2021: Presidential Release, 12:00 p.m. Eastern, CC and Spanish translation available
- October 15, 2021: White Cane Awareness Day
- November 1, 2021: Presidential Release, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, CC and Spanish translation available
- November 1, 2021: Scholarship Program applications open
- November 16, 2021: National Federation of the Blind Anniversary