This is the month that we celebrate the eighty-second anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind. I just returned from visiting our affiliates in California, New Hampshire, and Texas, where I reflected on our history, which began in California with our founding. In New Hampshire I had the opportunity to talk with transition-age blind youth about owning their authentic self. We have come so far since 1940 and there is work that we still need to do together.
The work is done by leaders and members in their community. I am excited to welcome the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind to Baltimore and our Jernigan Institute in early December. Our board members will travel from around the country to plan for the future so we can build a better world for future generations. Many of our members will travel to Washington, DC in late January to educate congress on issues that impact the blind—a important effort that makes me hopeful and appreciative.
As we plan for the Thanksgiving holiday, I think about being grateful for many things but especially for the community of support we have in the NFB. I wish that others had access to the networking and support we enjoy. When I am traveling, I encounter the spirit of determination of our movement, but I also hear the difficult stories of discrimination and low expectations that we continue to face. Our movement gives us great hope for the future. In listening to the ambitious career pursuits in New Hampshire, I was thankful that we have built a strong foundation for blind youth to stand on and anticipate what they will do as leaders in our movement in the future. I personally thank you all for all you do to make these dreams come true.
From my Riccobono and Federation families to yours, happy Thanksgiving!
Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
Raising Expectations in the Kitchen
The National Federation of the Blind raises expectations every day because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. It is Thanksgiving time in the United States, and some of us will enjoy the holiday by cooking. Many people do not understand how blind people cook and think that cooking is dangerous for the blind, but we know that using nonvisual techniques while cooking keeps us safe, and the food tasty. Training centers affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind instill high expectations in students and teach the value of nonvisual techniques through good training. Preparing a meal for forty people is a requirement of each student before graduation.
One recent graduate shared:
Attending a training center instilled in me the confidence to tackle many recipes and strategies in the kitchen that I previously wouldn’t have tried to attempt. In particular, I gained experience deep frying by making apple fritters and working with a whole chicken by spatchcock. Cooking for other people once made me nervous, but now I enjoy cooking for my peers in our free time.
Our flagship magazine, the Braille Monitor, contains a recipe section in almost every issue. For more information check out our NFB in the Kitchen group. The group’s purpose is to connect blind people with the tools, techniques, and resources useful to excel as a blind person in the kitchen. The group also works to raise expectations for blind people’s independence in the home as well as employment in the food industry.
Latest News at the NFB
Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest Registration Opens
In the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest sponsored by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, children and adults across the United States compete to read the most Braille pages alongside other participants in similar contest categories. This year's contest will begin in December, but registration is open now. Find more information and the link to register for the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest on the American Action Fund page.
Blind Voter Survey Launched
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that voters with disabilities must be offered an opportunity to vote privately and independently in a way that is equivalent to the opportunity afforded to voters without disabilities. This requirement applies to both in-person voting and voting by mail.
After exercising the fundamental right to vote, all blind and low-vision voters are encouraged to complete our 2022 Blind and Low-Vision Voter Experience Survey. The 2022 survey consists of two versions of the survey: one survey for those who voted in person at an early voting center or their local polling place, and a second survey for blind and low-vision voters who voted by mail. Both surveys can be accessed, in English and Spanish, from our Voting Resources webpage.
Early Childhood Initiatives Include Santa and Winter Celebration Letters
Returning this year, the National Federation of the Blind is not only helping Santa with Braille letters to blind children, but our program also has a winter-themed Braille letter for those who do not celebrate the Christmas holiday. We are excited to provide both of these letters in English and Spanish. Parents of children under the age of ten can select one of the options that best fits their family.
Starting November 7, parents can request the Braille activity packet online, via fax, or email. The celebration packets will start going out to blind children around the country on December 6. The Braille letter will also be accompanied by a print copy so the whole family can participate in the fun activities. The deadline for letter requests is December 16 to ensure that a return letter in Braille is received before the winter season ends. Learn more about the Santa Letters and Winter Celebration Program.
Vispero Challenge Grant Runs Through December 31, 2022
The National Federation of the Blind relies on the generosity of individual supporters and partner organizations to help us transform dreams into reality for blind people. Now is a great time to contribute to our mission. Thanks to a generous challenge gift from Vispero, every dollar contributed until the end of the year will be matched up to $50,000! You can help us challenge expectations and double your contribution.
- Give online at nfb.org/donate
- Mail a check to National Federation of the Blind, 200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
- Contribute by phone using a credit card by calling 410-659-9314, extension 2430
- Share this information with family and friends!
Thank you for contributing to our mission and helping blind people live the lives they want. For more information visit the Vispero Matching Gift page.
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.
- Double your dollars and help us meet our goal to match $50,000 from Vispero, the maker of JAWS for Windows.
- Mark your calendar and attend the next Presidential Release on December 1, 2022. at 8:00 p.m. eastern via zoom or streaming.
- Check out the latest Nation's Blind Podcast which celebrates tomorrow’s teachers of blind students.
- November 29, 2022: Social Media Accessibility Boutique 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. eastern (virtual)
- December 1, 2022: Presidential Release live, 8:00 p.m. eastern, CC and Spanish translation available (virtual)
- December 14, 2022: Accessible Device Showcase 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. eastern (virtual)
- December 16, 2022: Deadline for Santa and Winter Celebration Letters
- January 30, 2023: Great Gathering-In kick off to Washington Seminar, Washington, DC
- March 23, 2023: Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, Baltimore, MD
- July 1-5, 2023: 2023 National Convention, Houston, TX