Early this month I traveled to New Orleans to firm up many of our 2022 National Convention arrangements. Members of our Louisiana affiliate joined me for our live presidential release and shared their enthusiasm and readiness to host Federationists from all over in July.
National convention is a time for fellowship and for learning techniques—the tips and tricks of managing our blindness. I know as a blind parent of blind children myself I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. When we get together, I can ask questions of other blind parents, share my lived experience with adaptive techniques for parenting, and learn about things like accessible tools and appliances. The networking that we do around parenting, hobbies, careers, and more enriches my family and I am looking forward to being in-person again in New Orleans. There is nothing like thousands of blind people invading a hotel and hearing the tap of long white canes echo through the halls.
Join us and raise your expectations around blindness. If you are unable to attend in-person, register for our virtual experience. Together we will reinvigorate our belief in the capacity of blind people because we know that blindness is not the characteristic that defines blind people or our futures.
Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
Federation Support for Parents and Grandparents
In the National Federation of the Blind we support parents. Sometimes that means we help parents of blind children and sometimes it means we help blind parents and grandparents. At other times we assist blind parents and grandparents of blind children. How does the National Federation of the Blind make a difference?
Cassie, a blind parent of a blind child, tells us, “As soon as NFB BELL® (Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning) Academy is available for my son, Robert, who is five, he’ll be right there. Robert’s daddy and I are passionate about him learning Braille because I know that things will be harder for him if he does not know Braille. I grew up as a blind child in west Tennessee and my family did not know about any blindness organizations. I did not learn Braille and my reading load in mortuary school was difficult to manage. Robert knows about “dots” which is what he calls Braille now and he is excited when I put his hands on books. His little face just lights up. We also know that the best part about our being involved in the NFB is that Robert and I don’t need to “fake it”. We can be ourselves.
Jenny, a member of NFB who is a blind grandmother, likes to learn from what other blind parents and grandparents share in Facebook groups. “I am a little nervous. I have a new grandbaby coming any day. I don’t post much, but I watch posts and know that I can learn about different techniques from others with experience. I will be helping care for the new little one.”
Blind people are often seen as people who need care rather than caregivers. Through our extensive network, the national Federation of the Blind provides the resources blind parents and grandparents need to take care of our children and grandchildren confidently and independently. Learn more about our blind parents' resources here.
Latest News at the NFB
National Federation of the Blind Announces Scholarship Finalists
Each year the Federation awards scholarships during our national convention. In 2022 the Federation is committed to awarding thirty scholarships each in the amount of $8,000. Recently the thirty finalists were announced. Our finalists travel to national convention and each day they are mentored by a different Federation leader. Many past winners explain that the award money is spent quickly, but the mentoring and networking last a lifetime. Learn about the finalists here.
Give $20 Gift Matching Campaign Launched
Each year thousands of Federation members make contributions during national convention. In 2022, your generosity is still needed to fund our great programs. When you give $20 or more between May 1 and July 10, 3:00 p.m. central time, you will be entered into the Give $20 Convention Drawing to win the following:
- Round-trip transportation for two for the 2023 NFB National Convention
- Hotel at the convention
- Banquet tickets for two
- $1,000 in walking-around cash
OR take the cash!
And, thanks to the generous gift from HumanWare, every dollar contributed during this campaign will be matched up to $50,000! Visit our give $20 page to contribute and double your dollars.
“We’re With U!” Global Benefit Concert for Ukraine Update
Congratulations to the global blind community for making a huge difference to support the blind of Ukraine. The “We’re With U!” concert was April 16 and had over one hundred blind performers. With the active participation of the National Federation of the Blind, World Blind Union, and Mushroom FM we raised over $100,000. The concert is available on demand at MushroomFM.com or you can find it at https://nfb.org/blindwithu.
Federation Monitoring of Social Security Administration Kiosks Continues
NFB continues to monitor the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) implementation of our 2020 settlement agreement regarding the accessibility of visitor-intake-processing kiosks for blind people. With SSA field offices recently reopening, we are collecting information from blind people who have visited SSA offices. For more information, please visit our legal page.
President Riccobono Keynote Speaker for ICT Accessibility Testing Symposium
Scheduled for Monday, May 16, to Wednesday, May 18, the ICT Accessibility Testing Symposium brings together accessibility professionals to present, discuss, and debate ideas. The keynote speech by NFB President, Mark Riccobono, will be shared for free on Monday, May 16, at 11:00 a.m. eastern. President Riccobono will be discussing the Blind Driver Challenge—its impact on technology, accessibility, and new possibilities for independence. Check out the symposium and speech details at https://webable.tv/ict-symposium-2022/.
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 Quest for a COVID-19 Test" by Valerie Yingling in the latest issue of the Braille Monitor to learn about accessible and inaccessible testing options.
- Contribute to our Give $20 Matching Campaign and enter for a chance to win cash or a trip to our 2023 National Convention.
- Register for 2022 National Convention.
- The #NFB22 convention career fair is scheduled for July 6 in New Orleans—available for job-seekers and employers. Visit our convention page to register for the career fair.
We certainly are a busy organization. Don’t miss these upcoming events, workshops, and deadlines.
- May 31, 2022: Reprise of the Workplace Accessibility Boutique, 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET
- May 31, 2022: 2022 National Convention registration deadline
- June 1, 2022: Presidential Release live, 8:00 p.m. eastern, cc and Spanish translation available
- June 21, 2022: Convention Career Fair registration closes
- July 5-10, 2022: NFB National Convention, New Orleans