Presidential Release 513, February 2022 (English Transcript)

Please note: the following is the full transcript of the Presidential Release on February 1, 2022.

(Music playing:  "Super Bowl Medley")

PAM ALLEN:  Good evening, everyone.  We are so excited you are here tonight.  Welcome to our February presidential release.  We will be started promptly at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.  Thank you so much for being with us tonight.

Just a few reminders, if you have not had a chance to submit your questions, you can submit those through our Q&A feature or send an email to [email protected] or through our social media.

We have captioning in Zoom as well as on 1CapApp, and that link is in the chat if you want to follow captions at your own pace.

Please take part in our poll questions.  We are wondering which issue for the upcoming Washington Seminar are you most passionate about.  So we have our four issues listed there.

The second question is who are you rooting for in this year's Super Bowl.

Please take part in our poll and thank you so much for being here.  We'll be starting here shortly.

(Music playing:  "Valentine" by Martina McBride)

(Music playing:  "I Got You, Babe" by Sonny and Cher)

(Announcement in Spanish)

PAM ALLEN:  Good evening, everybody.  Thank you so much for joining us tonight for our February presidential release.

Please take part in our poll, and we are going to get started here shortly at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.  Welcome.

(Music playing:  "Someday We'll be Together" by Diana Ross)

(Music playing:  "Live the Life you Want")

¶ ¶ Live the life you want, nobody can stop you.  Shoot for the sun and break on through.  So you're blind, you'll be fine, we've got good news.  You can live the life you want, yes, we know the truth.
Grab a cane, get trained, gotta get moving.  Make a change and a wage that's what we're doing.  Come with me.
¶ Live the life you want, nobody can stop you.  Shoot for the sun and break on through.  So you're blind, you'll be fine, we've got good news.  You can live the life you want, yes we know the truth.
¶ You and me, NFB, let's stick together.  NFB, you and me lives on forever.  You will see.
¶ You can live the life you want, nobody can stop you.  Shoot for the sun and break on through.  So you're blind, you'll be fine, we've got good news.  You can live the life you want, yes, we know the truth.  ¶ ¶

MARK RICCOBONO:  We don't hear you, Pam.

Pam Allen, are you out there?

PAM ALLEN:  Can you hear me now?

MARK RICCOBONO:  There she is.

PAM ALLEN:  Hi, everybody!  Sorry about that.  There was a little glitch in our Wi-Fi connection.

MARK RICCOBONO:  That never happens, what are you talking about.

PAM ALLEN:  So good to be with all of you tonight.  Thanks for joining with us tonight for our presidential release as we are celebrating Black History Month and we are preparing for Washington Seminar.  And President Riccobono, I'm going to turn it over to you.

MARK RICCOBONO:  Great.  I'm glad your glitch got fixed.  That seems like most of my day on Zoom today was glitches.  So in good company.

So Pam, I guess it's baseball season for us, right?

PAM ALLEN:  Yeah, that's right.  Tough, tough loss for Buffalo and Packers fans.

MARK RICCOBONO:  You pulling for the Bengals?

PAM ALLEN:  That's correct.

MARK RICCOBONO:  I'll go with that.  I got nothing else.

Well, congratulations to the Bengals and Rams fans.  I know it will be a great Super Bowl, and I'll enjoy the commercials.

All right.  Well, it's good to hear your voice, Pam.  Should we get started?

PAM ALLEN:  Sounds great.

MARK RICCOBONO:  Okay.  Greetings, fellow Federationists.  Tonight is Tuesday, February 1, 2022, and this is presidential release 513.  And February is here.

I can't believe it.  January flew right past, and we are one more closer now to our national convention, which I'm really looking forward to in New Orleans, especially with this cold weather.  It's a great thing to think about.

But before we get there of course, we do have our Washington Seminar, and I truly cannot believe how fast January went by with all of the great activity happening around the National Federation of the Blind and getting ready for our 2022 Washington Seminar.  We did of course make the decision to take our Washington Seminar virtual for this year one more time because, well, it looked like there wasn't going to be anybody in Washington, D.C., willing to take an in-person meeting.  So we're going to do one more virtual Washington Seminar, and our gathering in meeting will be happening on Monday, February 7, and I hope you tune in at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  Obviously open to everybody on Zoom.  And even if you're listening to this presidential release after that time, I hope that you continue to push our legislative activities forward.
Also during our Washington Seminar, there will be a number of other meetings but just wanted to call out the winter seminar happening also on February 7 for our National Association of Blind Students.  That will be happening from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on that day, Eastern Time.  You can reach out to our student division to register for that meeting and get the Zoom information.  I think for those tuned in tonight to the live presentation, we'll also put the registration link in the chat.

Okay.  There's a lot to talk to you about this evening.  The work that we have been doing in the last month.  One of the primary activities that we've been working on is pushing the federal government on making its program to distribute at-home COVID-19 tests accessible to blind people.  So to give you a little bit of background, when we got together for the presidential release in January, I had just sent a letter to the White House.  That letter went on January 3rd.  We would have sent a letter earlier, but during the month of December, we were hunting around the government to find out which agency was going to be handling this program after the President announced it, and we finally got the word that the White House hadn't decided yet.  So we wrote to the White House.  And after that we learned that the FDA would be handling the distribution of tests.  So we wrote to the FDA.  We found out who got contracts to distribute at-home tests.  We wrote to the contractors. 

After a number of weeks and many letters, we finally did get a response and a call with the White House to talk about our concerns about the fact that the federal government had made a significant commitment to distributing at-home tests to residents of the United States, to any home, and without any provisions for equal access for blind people.

I'm happy to report that we are in productive conversations with the White House and the administration about this issue.  Obviously it's not going to be solved quickly, but we are optimistic that a number of things are going to happen.  And I certainly hope it have more public announcements by the time we get to our gathering in meeting next week.

There are a few things to talk about regarding these tests not being accessible.  First of all, we are testing in our Center for Nonvisual Accessibility, we're testing all of the FDA-approved at-home tests.  There are -- well, it depends how you count them -- 13 or more FDA-approved tests.  We've only found one that has accessibility kind of end to end.  That's the Q Health product.  Before you run out and buy this test, it's a very expensive test.  However, it is fully accessible.  If you have a smartphone, it has some usability glitches as many things do, but pretty much usable from beginning to end.  And I would encourage you, if you have health insurance, to ask your health insurance provider if they will reimburse it, because it is mostly accessible.  So you might want to check that out.

But we're going to test all of the at-home available tests so we can give that information to the government, to the FDA, about what works and what doesn't.  And we hope that that will be a guiding force to determine what future accessibility efforts look like.  So stay tuned for more information about test accessibility and what we know about the tests that are out there.

Of course for many of us, we may just have an urgent need to take a test, so we're going to get the test we can and we're going to find a way to take it.  But the government really should have made these accessible.  These are taxpayer dollars being put into the purchase of these tests, and we're going to hold the government accountable.

Now, in order to coordinate all the information we have on this subject, we've spun up a new web page at, all one word.  So you can find the latest information including all of the letters that we've written to various folks in the administration, and we'll be posting our updates there.

Now, in the meantime, the National Federation of the Blind has sought solutions so that blind people can get access immediately to tests that are out there.  So we've talked to our partners at Aira, and we have created a National Federation of the Blind promotion with Aira so that you can make a free Aira call and have them assist you if you're a blind person with taking an at-home COVID-19 test.

You can find more information on the website about this as well as the email that we sent out today regarding this and other matters.  You do need to set up an explorer account.  It doesn't have to be a paid account.  And you can get assistance with an at-home COVID test.  We will be collecting some data through that process so that we can help, again, push the government in the direction that it needs to go.

So this is an immediate step that we have taken in order to make sure that all blind people have access.  Now, we recognize that of course if you don't have a smartphone and access to Aira, that does not solve the problem.  So we are dialoguing with the White House and we believe that they're going to be implementing some state-based systems to assist people in their homes to get access to tests.  Again, just an interim step.

I do encourage Federation members who are in social media, Twitter, Facebook, to continue to tag the White House and the National Federation of the Blind on this issue.  Continue to note the inaccessibility issues you're having with COVID tests and how important it is that we as blind people be able to independently take these at-home tests ourselves without exposing others potentially to the virus or having to invite others into our home.  Or as a blind parent, certainly for me, being able to test my own children without having someone do that.  So continue to push that in social media.

Now, a couple of other related things.  We continue to want to collect data from members of the Federation about the accessibility of at-home COVID-19 tests and websites used for testing sign up or vaccinations.  You can share your experiences with us by filling out NFB's access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing survey which can be found at our legal web page,  So as you have experiences, good or bad, with signing up or getting access to testing, please share that with us.  Again, that data is really valuable when we go talk to the White House or do other advocacy on these issues.

Now, we have endeavored to make testing information also available through the NFB NEWSLINE system.  So we're wanting the NEWSLINE system to be a place where you can find up-to-date information about the government at-home testing that's available.  And we just talked to the White House about this today.  So we're hoping that they will continue to feed us the latest information so we can put it up on NEWSLINE.  So even our members who do not have access to the internet or smartphone devices have the latest breaking information in this area.

If you're getting on NFB NEWSLINE, you can follow these steps to find the at-home test information.  Press 5 to go to newspapers from other states.  And then choose option 1 for breaking news.  After that, press option 1 again for the at-home COVID-19 testing information.

If you are someone who uses the NFB NEWSLINE mobile app for iOS, you can select the information sources page, and then breaking news online.  And then you'll find the information about the COVID-19 testing.  Also other information there as well.  We have provided information about the COVID statistics, and we also are curating some of the breaking news about COVID-19 in a search.  So you can find all that there in the NEWSLINE app.  And if there are other resources that you think would be valuable for us to include in NFB NEWSLINE around COVID-19, please give our team that feedback.  We want to make sure that we include it there.

So the Federation is alive and well, working hard on this issue, and I can tell you from my conversation today with the White House that we have gotten their attention.  And we're going to continue on this path until we have accessible testing.  And I think the real important victory here is that we have an opportunity to change accessibility of at-home testing of all sorts in a positive way going into the future, not just for COVID-19, but for other important areas.  So stay tuned.  There's going to be some more important stuff happening here.

Now, there is other work we're doing.  You've heard me talk before about our plans to start a civil rights museum for the blind here at our Jernigan Institute.  And we are in the initial phase of evaluating what are the state of the art museum, dedicated to the civil rights movement of blind people, would be like.  And we need your help and your feedback to guide that process.  We need you to take a few minutes to fill out a survey, to let us know about your experiences with museums and what you would like to find in a museum of this sort.
This is just the first series of opportunities that will happen to collect information from Federation members about this, but it's a really important one.  So we need you to fill out a survey online.  You can go to, you can find the survey on our home page there.  Or you can call our telephone survey system to take the survey that way.  The survey will be available to members until February 18.  So just for part of this month.  So please take a moment, fill out the survey, visit our website, or call in to the telephone survey.  The number for that is (229) 632-7878.  Or you can call to free (833) 632-7878.  Really appreciate you giving us feedback.  I'm really excited about the potential for a civil rights museum highlighting the work of blind people in this nation to advance really the status of blind people all over the world.

I want to give a thank you to our PAC partners.  If you contributed in 2021, I want to give you a big thank you because it was our most successful year ever on the PAC plan, our first year topping $500,000 realized collected in one year on the PAC plan.  Really great news.  If you're not on this program to give us discretionary dollars to do things like pressing the government on things they already should have done, those dollars are really important.  And they're not tied to grants or other funders.  They allow us to go out and do the advocacy work we need to do.  So please consider getting on the PAC plan in 2022 if you are not already.  As I said, last year was the first year topping the $500,000 mark.  In fact, we actualized $500,400 on the PAC plan.  Total monthly contributions $43,022.89.  From 1,439 donors with an average contribution of $29.90.  But don't let the average fool you.  Every dollar helps.  And even if you're giving $5 a month, it makes a big difference.  So please consider getting on the PAC plan this year and thank you to our 2021 contributors for making it a record breaking year for the National Federation of the Blind.

A few announcements before we get to some questions.  We talked at the national convention about our blind driver challenge and our support of Dan Parker, who is a member of ours and a graduate of the Louisiana Center for the Blind.  We're supporting Dan in his efforts to break a world record.  Due to the pandemic, we have had to postpone the actual record attempt until later in 2022.  And so that event is actually coming up at the end of March.  I'm very excited.  Looking forward to being there to watch this world record attempt.  This effort is a partnership between us and Cruise Automation.  As I say, we're supporting Dan Parker to break the world record for fastest blindfolded driver, which is really cool because it's not just a record for blind people, but of course Dan is a blind person.  And we're using this record attempt as an opportunity to promote our work around self-driving vehicles and the inclusion of blind people in the autonomous vehicle industry, and Cruise, a great partner and dedicated to that effort with us, as a sponsor of this, and our efforts to get accessibility into automated vehicles.

The current record is 201 miles per hour.  So Dan will be attempting to break that.  I know that we will be talking more about it on the March presidential release, and probably the April.  But we're thinking that March 31 will be the actual record attempt.  So stay tuned.  We are hoping to provide some opportunities to watch that live or events around it.  That is still evolving, so watch for more information via email.

I want to call your attention to recent efforts to collect information about denials of individuals using service animals by Lyft, a rideshare company.  Both NFB and our National Association of Guide Dog Users are gathering stories from individuals who were denied rides because of their service animal by Lyft specifically, by Lyft drivers during the week of January 24-30.  If you had that experience just in this last week, we are encouraging you to share those stories with us and especially do so in a video recorded form.  If you need more information because you did have a Lyft denial between January 24-30, please contact Valerie Yingling here at our national office at extension 2440 or [email protected] or you can also reach out to our President of our NAGDU division.  You can reach him at (346) 439-7454 or email him at [email protected].

Now, I should say that if you have experienced discrimination by any rideshare provider because of a service animal, and frankly if you've just received a denial just because you're a blind person with a white cane, which does happen sometimes too, we are still collecting information through our rideshare discrimination survey, which again can be found at our legal web page,

We're doing this very specific action around the last week, but remember that we continue to collect data about all rideshare experiences through our ongoing survey that we have available.

I mentioned the Washington Seminar Great Gathering-In happening 5:00 Eastern Time on Monday, the 7th.  The final issue training session will be held that same day, Monday, from 2:00-4:00 p.m.  And I already told you about our student division meeting.  A number of other meetings.  You can find the links to all of these, including our Great Gathering-In, at the Washington Seminar page at  I'm confident it's right on the home page as well because Washington Seminar is coming up.  The Washington Seminar page also includes all of our fact sheets, the training information that we've made publicly available, the videos, they're all there on that Washington Seminar page if you need to refer to them.

Now, we have also put a lot of the Washington Seminar materials on NFB NEWSLINE.  So the legislative agenda, the fact sheets, you can find this information on NEWSLINE.  Where do you find it?  Well, to find the information, you should call your local number and press option 5 for newspapers from other states and choose option 5 again for national meetings.  And then you'll choose option 1 for the 2022 Washington Seminar fact sheets.  And you can follow the information from there.  And similarly, you can find this information in the NFB NEWSLINE app.  If you navigate to the second page, which is information sources, and choose all publications, you can search for NFB 2022 Washington Seminar.  So you can get the information in a variety of ways.  I do encourage you to read the fact sheets, be knowledgeable, especially if you're going to participate in the meetings.  But remember, it's not just about the meetings.  We need to follow up after Washington Seminar to continue to push our issues.  We have a good chance of getting some of our key priorities to happen still during this year leading up to the midterm elections.

If you are not an NFB NEWSLINE subscriber, you can sign up for free by calling (410) 659-9314 and dialing extension 2317.  Or you can visit or go to

I mentioned the meeting of our student division earlier.  But you should also know that our student division is, again, sad to be not in person at the Washington Seminar but happy to have the support of the Federation in many ways, including the opportunity for all of us to bid on some great auction items to support the work of the National Association of Blind Students.  There's beauty baskets and other technology and things that you will want to get.  And also to provide your dollars to support the work of our students who have been continuing to work hard to connect blind students and share resources in these socially distanced times.
To get to the auction, you should go to  We'll put that in the chat as well.  I encourage you to go to the auction site.  Check it out.  I won one of the auctions last year.  I'll have to see if I can win one this year.  But the students have continued to do such great work during COVID-19.  I would encourage you to support them.

The deadline for the auction, I should give you that.  The deadline for the auction is Wednesday, February 9, at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  So not much time after our Great Gathering-In, just a day or so, so make sure you go check out this auction site before Wednesday evening, February 9.

I do have some Federation family news which I regret to have to share with you this evening.  First of all, from Maryland, I regret to report the passing of Michelle Clark on January 15, 2022, due to a variety of health issues.  Michelle was a founding member of the National Harbor chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, which happened 12 years ago.  She served for 10 years as the chapter President and as well she served on the affiliate board of directors.  Michelle was also well-known for her beautiful voice.  She participated in our performing arts division, and you may remember she performed as part of our 75th anniversary celebration at the convention.  Michelle was also a courageous Federationist who stood up for her rights.  She participated in a complaint that we helped help with against the federal government.  It was a 508 complaint for inaccessibility of workplace technology.  So I encourage you to keep Michelle and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

I also regret to inform you of news that came from Iowa of the passing of Ted Hart on January 28.  Ted actually passed away in North Carolina due to complications resulting from his contracting COVID-19.  Ted was one of the very early students that Dr. Jernigan had at the Iowa Commission for the Blind.  He was 81 years old when he passed, and he has been a long time member of the Federation.  He always would regale people with stories when you came across him.  And it was one of the tools he used to teach people about the capacity of blind people.  I first met Ted in 1998 at the memorial service when Dr. Jernigan passed away, and I was privileged to get to hear some of his stories of his experiences with Dr. Jernigan.  So a long time Federationist who will be missed.  I encourage you to keep him and his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

I do have a few pieces of joyful news to share with you, though, on this release.  The first comes from Maryland, and that is the news that Nikki Prichard-Tippett, a member of the NFB of Maryland at large chapter an former President of the Maryland Tri-County chapter and her husband Frank welcomed a baby boy on January 10 of this year.  Jackson Levi Tippett came in at 6 pounds and 11 ounces and 18 inches long.
I'm told that mom, dad, and older brother Gavin are all doing well and delighted to welcome the newest member of the National Federation of the Blind.  So welcome, to Jackson.

And also proud to report from the great state of Georgia the arrival of Alastair Dean Aikens born on January 28, born to Greg and Anna Aikens.  Greg has served as President of NFB of Georgia and has been an active member there.  They welcomed Alastair a couple days ago.  They're all doing well and excited to welcome him as the newest member of the National Federation of the Blind in Georgia.  So welcome to our new members.  And please continue to share with me the great news of those who are joining us across the Federation.

I think that's what I have right now, Pam.  I'm going to flip it back to you for questions.

PAM ALLEN:  All right.  Thank you so much, President Riccobono.  And before we get started with our questions, thank you again, everybody, for submitting your questions ahead of time and also tonight for our Q&A feature, we'll share our poll results.

We asked people the issue that they felt most passionate about for Washington Seminar.  You could choose more than one, but our top vote getter was our Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act.  And close behind was our access technology act.  I think it was tough for people to decide because everybody is passionate about all of them, but I think we'll have a very successful Washington Seminar.

And also thanks to our great team with all the prep and hard work.

Our second poll related to the Super Bowl.  Overwhelmingly the Bengals are coming out as the predicted winners.  We'll have to see how that goes.  And we do have a few people that prefer the commercials.  But according to this poll, the Bengals are going to be the champs.  So we'll have to see how that goes.


PAM ALLEN:  Thank you again, everyone, for question submission.  And we will get started with the questions.

We have a few things related to Washington Seminar.  Someone is inquiring about how long have we been doing Washington Seminar.

MARK RICCOBONO:  Oh, memory test, huh?


Can we do phone a friend?

PAM ALLEN:  Better you than I.

MARK RICCOBONO:  I believe the first -- I wasn't there.  Let's just start with that.  But I believe the first Washington Seminar-like meeting was around 1973 or so.  I guess that means we're coming up very close on 50 years, right, of Washington Seminars?  So that's pretty exciting.

PAM ALLEN:  That is.  That's awesome.

MARK RICCOBONO:  Obviously we have had a presence in Washington, D.C., much longer than that, going back to Dr. tenBroek's days certainly of advocating with the federal government around social security and other things.  So advocacy at the federal level of course was a big reason that we organized the Federation, but this style of meeting, the Washington Seminar, it's about 50 years now.

PAM ALLEN:  Great.  Lots of years of making a difference.

Related to advocacy, we have several questions about voting and access.  So our first one is inquiring of the Build Back Better Act, if it includes the right of blind people to vote independently, or is that decided on a state-by-state basis?

MARK RICCOBONO:  So in terms of voting and voting protections at the federal level, we have continued to advocate for the inclusion of provisions that would strengthen accessibility to voting.  That obviously is still pretty controversial at the federal level, in terms of additional legislation to be passed.  So we advocate both approaches.  We will continue to monitor what's happening with federal voting legislation, but states and our state affiliates should continue to press these matters.  We've gotten a number of affiliates now that have gotten stronger voting laws.  Colorado, as you heard at our national convention has gotten a very strong law.  So we would love to work with affiliates on getting state laws that improve accessibility provisions for the blind, especially as it relates to electronic submission of ballots and electronic return.  So receiving ballots electronically and returning them to the polls.  We figure if you can vote electronically from the space station, that blind people should be able to vote from their home in a secure manner on the ground.  Although, you know, if we can get a blind person on the space station, that will be cool too.

PAM ALLEN:  That will be next.

Also related to voting, we had a question from Florida, one of our members in Florida, inquiring about a state law there that does not allow volunteers to assist someone with voting in the voting booth.  So they're wondering how the NFB is working on issues of that respect.

MARK RICCOBONO:  So on that specifically, I would encourage you to reach out to our advocacy team in terms of the specifics of that, but this is not a new issue.  This is, you know, one of the earliest Federation involvements in voting was fighting for the right to bring someone in to the polling place who could assist you with the ballot, a person of your choosing.  And so certainly what we advocate today is that the ballots be accessible so that you don't need someone to help you, but certainly the law would support and should support that if you need assistance, that you be able to bring a person of your choosing to fill out the ballot for you.  So I would encourage you to reach out to our advocacy team.  That is something that we have fought before and we can look at the specific laws in your state.  But certainly that should not be a barrier for you.

PAM ALLEN:  And then we have a question about someone who is curious about signing up for listservs and wondering how that is possible.

MARK RICCOBONO:  So the Federation operates -- Dave Andrews is going to throw something at me because I don't know the exact number off the top of my head, but I'm sure even he has a hard time coming up with it.  We have hundreds of listservs.  An impressive amount of information gets distributed through these listservs.  You can find all of the ones that are publicly available by going to and you'll find them listed there and you can sort through them and find the ones you want to join and you can find information about how to join them.  And if for some reason you have trouble with the website, I'm sure there's someone in your local chapter or affiliate that would help you.  But is the place to go.

PAM ALLEN:  Okay.  Now we have several questions about our upcoming national convention in the great city of New Orleans.  Just wondering about any updates as far as COVID protocols or other thoughts if there have been any updates.

MARK RICCOBONO:  So Pam you can take all the New Orleans questions.  But in terms of COVID, obviously we can't predict exactly how things will look in July.  But what we know today gives us a pretty good indication of how things are going to be.  We're going to continue to encourage masking at the convention, especially in the public areas, the meeting halls, the breakout rooms, the hallways.  We're going to be requiring that people wear masks.

We're going to make information available in and around the convention if people do need to go and get a COVID test.  We will be working closely with the hotel on that.  We know that they have a number of protections that they take already in terms of extra cleaning and making hand sanitizer available.  Obviously we're going to encourage people to be smart about their interactions at the convention in terms of making a decision what's right for you.

I would encourage people to consider getting vaccinated.  I think it's a great thing to do.  We just had a booster clinic here a couple weeks ago.  I respect some people haven't made that choice, but I do think folks should consider it.  We will not require vaccinations for the convention, but certainly we will be taking all the reasonable precautions we can.

Now, it's very hard to predict what things will look like 5 months from today.  Everything is on the table at this point.  We want to put forth the safest, smartest convention experience we can.  We don't know what all the regulations are going to be in New Orleans.  I know, and Pam you could probably verify this, that at least right now in many places they do require proof of vaccination, especially to go into venues that have live entertainment.  So you will want to consider carrying that with you.

If you have ideas about things that we should and can reasonably do with respect to the convention, please send them along.  We are going to be streaming parts of the convention so that those who can't attend for any reason have access to some of those things.  We can't reasonably offer all of the convention meetings that we have in person virtually, but we will of course offer the core meetings that we have, and we're going to try to do some other things.

That's what we know today.  But again, if you have suggestions, we would love to have them.

PAM ALLEN:  I know we're all very excited to welcome everybody.  So we're definitely counting down the days.

So again, I thank everybody so much for the questions.  If we didn't have a chance to answer your question tonight, then our outstanding communication team will be following up with everyone.  And again, we so appreciate everyone joining with us this evening.  Please join us for our next presidential release, which will be held on Tuesday, March 1, which happens to be Mardi Gras day, by the way, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern using Zoom, the Nation's Blind YouTube channel, or by asking your Amazon device to open nation's blind.  You can also contact the President at (410)659-9314 or via email at [email protected].

And I will turn it back over to you, President Riccobono.

MARK RICCOBONO:  Thank you very much, Pam. Great to be with you.

Go Bengals.

That's what I have for the February release.  I encourage everybody to be actively engaged in the work of our Washington Seminar, and especially the follow-up after our Washington Seminar.  The Washington Seminar is really the kickoff for the year of legislative and advocacy activity, and everybody can play a role in that.  I'm looking forward to the Washington Seminar and what's going to come from it and the great progress we're going to make during the month of February.  And a happy Valentine's Day to everybody and a happy Black History Month.  I hope you take an opportunity to again reflect on the work that our Black leaders have done to contribute to the diversity and strength of our organization.

And with that, before we get to the customary endings, I'll say let's go build the National Federation of the Blind.

SPEAKER:  Hi, I'm Oriana and I'll be telling you a joke.  Knock knock.

SPEAKER:  Who's there?

SPEAKER:  Dozen.

SPEAKER:  Dozen who?

SPEAKER:  Dozen anybody want to let me in?

I have another one.  Why are elevator jokes so good?

SPEAKER:  Because they're very uplifting?

SPEAKER:  No.  They work on many levels.

SPEAKER:  Oh, that is way too uplifting.

SPEAKER:  Hi, I'll be telling you one joke.  Will February march?

SPEAKER:  I don't think so.

SPEAKER:  No, but April may.

The preceding message was brought to you by Mark Riccobono, President, National Federation of the Blind, [email protected], (410) 659-9314,  Let's go build the National Federation of the Blind.

(Meeting ended at 8:50 p.m.)