September is National Guide Dog Month, and we are proud to promote our National Association of Guide Dog Users division, which has a great wealth of information and resources available on https://nagdu.org/. This is an opportunity for us to kick off our celebration of independent travel and freedom for the blind, which leads us to Blind Equality Achievement month in October.
September is also back to school time. As a blind parent of three children, two of whom are blind, I know well the difficulties that come with going back to school and trying to navigate the access to information issues that come up frequently. Of course, that's on top of the normal adjustments that all families make during the back-to-school process. I want to remind you all, whether you are dealing with the back-to-school process yourself, or whether you are supporting others who are dealing with it, the Federation has a number of important resources that can be helpful to families and students. One of them is a Blind Parent’s Essential Guide to Effective Communication from Public and Private Schools. You can find that in both English and Spanish on our website. We also have the Self-Advocacy in Higher Education Toolkit for our blind students who are navigating colleges and universities.
Whether you are a parent or a blind student, you can participate in our ongoing efforts to gather information about nonvisual access barriers to educational technology by filling out our educational technology accessibility survey.
Please check out the information on our website and share information about our tools and resources to help students, parents, and guide dog users. Let’s spread the message that we are here to help raise expectations and turn dreams into reality.
Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
Despite a high unemployment rate, you can find blind people working in a variety of jobs. The National Federation of the Blind provides working-aged blind people with an opportunity to compete in the workplace on terms of equality by supporting potential employers and blind job seekers. The Federation develops and demonstrates best practices in and around employment and hopes that others will emulate our programs.
A leader in the NFB Employment Committee shared the fundamental principles of the work we do:
“The Federation first and foremost believes in the capacity of blind people and connects blind people to one-another to help us believe in ourselves. Resources like the Where the Blind Work webinar series, employment toolkit, the career mentoring, and career fair help us to develop skills and find jobs, but if we don’t have the basic belief in ourselves and our abilities, the other resources are for naught.”
Bringing authentic experiences to potential employers and blind job seekers expands possibilities by sharing tips and tools and raising expectations for all. You can visit our Center of Employment Opportunity for more information on our career mentoring and other employment initiatives.
Nation’s Blind Podcast Episode: Meet Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Winner Caroline Karbowski
The latest Nation’s Blind Podcast episode features an interview with Caroline Karbowski who received one of the 2022 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards at the national convention in July. She is the founder of See3D, which provides models created through 3D-printing technology. Caroline described how she became a sighted Braille user. Access and share the podcast audio or transcript.
Blind Prisoner Suit Settled
The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and two blind prisoners recently resolved their suit against the Colorado Department of Corrections. The requirements included in the settlement can be considered best practices protecting the safety and privacy of blind prisoners. Under the settlement, the blind prisoners will no longer be required to rely upon other inmates to access communications and will now have equal access to education and employment opportunities which can even reduce time served. Learn more about the prisoners' rights settlement here.
Comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Regarding Autonomous Vehicles
The National Federation of the Blind submitted comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the development and testing of fully autonomous vehicles on August 19. These comments were in response to petitions from Ford and General Motors to be exempt from certain Federal Motor Vehicle Standards as they pertain to autonomous vehicles. The exemption requests included features in the area of brake pedals, rearview mirrors and backup cameras, and positioning of windshield wipers and sun visors. Given the great benefit that fully autonomous vehicles will likely have for blind Americans, we reviewed this matter and believe that the exemptions sought by Ford and GM should be granted in order to further the development of fully autonomous vehicles. Read our comments on the policy statements page of our website.
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.
- Your voice is needed—complete our planning survey online or by phone. More information available at https://nfb.org/civicrm/event/info?id=538&reset=1.
- Read the recent blog post, “From Contributor to Editor: Monitoring a Movement” by Gary Wunder.
- Check out A Blind Parent’s Essential Guide to Effective Communication from Public and Private Schools, a toolkit which provides a summary of rights to equal access and effective communications.
- Share our Self-Advocacy in Higher Education Toolkit, which provides guidance on advocating for the reasonable accommodations necessary to succeed in college.
- If you are in a position to do so, give a qualified charitable distribution from your individual retirement account and avoid taxes. Use our IRA Instruction Form to submit to your IRA administrator.
We certainly are a busy organization. Don’t miss these upcoming events, workshops, and deadlines.
- October 2022: Blind Equality Achievement Month
- October 1, 2022: Presidential Release live, 5:00 p.m. eastern, CC and Spanish translation available
- October 15, 2022: White Cane Awareness Day
- October 26, 2022: NFB Virtual Career Fair, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. eastern
- January 30, 2023: Great Gathering-In kick off to Washington Seminar
- March 23, 2023: Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, Baltimore, MD
- July 1-5, 2023: 2023 National Convention, Houston, TX