# Presidential Release 521, November 2022 (English Transcript)

This is being provided in a rough-draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings
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[Music - "Live the Life You Want"]

PAM ALLEN: Good evening, my federation family!  It is so good to be with everybody for our November presidential release.  We are so excited that you're with us tonight virtually, and also live from the great State of California, it is now my pleasure --

(Cheering and applause)

PAM ALLEN: So great!  Sorry we are not there in person, but President Riccobono is live in person in California!  It is my pleasure to turn it over to you, President Riccobono.  Everybody sounds great and happy convention!

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Happy convention.  How are you doing, Pam?  Did you hear that?  You got an “I love you.”

PAM ALLEN: Sending that right back!

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: We wish you were here with us, but you're in Michigan, right?

PAM ALLEN: We're heading out bright and early in the morning.  So we'll be very happy to be with our family in Michigan.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: There's a lot of conventions going on.  I know I've got a text from Marci Carpenter.

PAM ALLEN: Washington is listening!

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: A lot of conventions this weekend.  But we did have Halloween.  Did you dress up Pam?

PAM ALLEN: I was very creative.  Guess what I dressed as?

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: A center director.

PAM ALLEN: Exactly, how did you guess?  How did you guess, but I heard that there were some other costumes.  I'm not sure if you heard about this, a blind referee costume.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Yeah, yeah, yeah.  It's not only that we don't talk about Bruno, we don't talk about Jerry Jones, either.  But we have written a letter to the company that sells the blind referee costumes and hopefully, next year, there will be no blind referee costumes.

PAM ALLEN: Public education.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Otherwise, maybe we'll get all blind people to dress up as Jerry Jones.
Anyway --

PAM ALLEN: Did you have a costume for Halloween?

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Well, I have a couple of costumes that I cycle through so I pulled out my Cousin It costume.

PAM ALLEN: That's a good one.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Yeah, it makes it hard to eat candy through all the hair.

PAM ALLEN: That is true.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: All right, well, shall we get start?

PAM ALLEN: Let's do it.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Thank you.

Greetings, fellow federationists!  Today is Thursday, November 3rd, 2022, and this is Presidential Release number 521! Live from San Diego, California!

(Cheering)

Live from the convention of the National Federation of the Blind of California, and this month, November 16th, we will be celebrating our 82nd year as the organized blind movement and, of course, California has long been a leader of our organization, going back to our founding, and our founding president, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.  It is great to be here with the Federation family here in California for this important anniversary month.

Speaking of leadership and celebrating, some of us think of this time of year as the season of giving, and it is a great time to think about how we can contribute to others who are in need, but we should not forget that our mission in the National Federation of the Blind also continues to need support, and thanks to the generous challenge grant from Vispero, every dollar contributed between now and the end of the year can be doubled up to $50,000, so it's really important that each of us urge our friends and family to help promote the work of the federation by contributing to this mission. Of course, you can contribute, too, but I would encourage us to share the opportunity with our friends and family, and to let them know that contributions will be doubled. It's really easy to make a contribution to the federation, just as a reminder. You can visit our online donation page, www.nfb.org/donate. People can call our main office, 410-659-9314, and dial extension 2430. Or, of course, people can send a check to our national office at 200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21230. Please help promote the opportunity, and thank you again to Vispero for supporting the work of the National Federation of the Blind. Now, November 8th is quickly approaching and that is the general election, and this is an important time for us to get out, as blind people, and vote, or well for that matter, you can stay in and vote, but the important thing is to vote! We need blind people to be part of the process. You can make your voice heard by casting a vote, but you can do better than that. But the first step is to cast your vote, and there are many ways in most jurisdictions to cast a vote, but when you cast your vote, we want you to tell us about your experience, because that data will help us. I want to remind all members of the federation that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that blind and low-vision voters must be provided an opportunity to vote privately and independently. That is, equivalent to the opportunities provided to nondisabled voters. We have been working tirelessly to protect the rights of blind voters and to expand those opportunities where it has been limited. After participating in the 2022 general elections, we need all blind voters to fill out our Blind Voters Survey. This helps us gather data to hold the government and others accountable for the experience of blind people. So whether you have a great experience voting, or a horrible experience voting, we need you to fill out our survey. Also, I would remind you that, of course, there are barriers to voting, but you should not let those barriers stop you from casting your vote. You should cast your vote, and then you should tell us what the problems were. That data can help us. Now there are two different versions of the survey. One is for voters who voted in person at a polling place, either early voting or on Election Day, and the other survey is for those who voted absentee, by mail, whatever that system is in your jurisdiction. The surveys are available, you can get to them on our website, www.nfb.org/vote. Also, I want to note that the surveys are available in Spanish, and if you need assistance filling out the online survey, we have staff standing by to help you do that, and you can fill out the survey as soon as you've voted. Both Lou Ann Blake and Jeff at our national office are available to help you if you have trouble with the online survey. Lou Ann is available at extension 2221, and Jeff is at extension 2206. Now, if you are going to vote in person, you might need some assistance with getting there, and thanks to our partnership with LYFT, LYFT is offering federation members a special code to offset the cost of transportation to get to the polls to vote during this election time. The code you can use is NFBVOTE2022. So all one word, NFBVOTE2022. You can put that into the LYFT app and you can get credit to support your transportation costs. There also is a link, which we'll have on our website if you want to use the link to get that verification code. The code is valid for$30 in transportation costs with LYFT to get to the polls.  It's a great partnership.  We appreciate that LYFT continues to support getting blind people out to polling places.
The code is valid from now through Election Day, and it is only offered to a limited number of members.  It's a healthy number, but it is a limited number, so please use the code because it helps us show that LYFT is making a difference in helping blind people get out to vote.

Now for many of you, that may raise the question of, well, but, what about both Uber and LYFT?  How are they doing on responding to our resolutions about the treatment of individuals who use guide dogs?  Well, I can talk to you about that.
Now for Uber, we have had a number of meetings with representatives from Uber over the past three months.  And, of course, the treatment that blind people have received from the ride-share services is not a new issue.  We've worked on it in many different dimensions.

Uber has made improved efforts at driver education during the last little while.  And they have specifically been training drivers on the requirements for carrying passengers who use service animals.  Specifically, if a rider reports a denial, there will be a thorough investigation, and the drivers will be suspended during that investigation.

If Uber determines that the denial was a result of a guide dog, then the driver will be permanently removed from the platform.

(Applause)

Now we should believe it when it happens.  That means we're asking all Federation members with service animals to try it out.  We need you to try it out.  Test it.  See if it's working and during this month of November, I know it's frustrating, there's been denials, it makes you not want to use the services anymore, but if we don't test it, and give them the data, we can't hold them accountable.  So we need members to test the Uber platform during this month to see if there have, in fact, been changes and improvements in the driver education.

If you experience a denial with Uber, it is critical to report it to Uber immediately.  After reporting it to Uber, please also share that report with the National Federation of the Blind through the form that can be found at www.nfb.org/legal.
It's great to report it to Uber, but if we get that data through our form, we can use that in our negotiations with Uber as well to hold them accountable.  Now that's Uber.

Now LYFT, we're still working on.  We have had fewer meetings with LYFT and so we are still in negotiations.  We would say that it's a little bit behind the curve of where we are with Uber, but we are hopeful that we will have a similar update regarding LYFT in the near future.  We know that this is very frustrating.  I've experienced the denials myself traveling with people.

I know it has been a headache for lots of blind people.  We're working hard to implement the resolutions and to hold these companies accountable, but we need the data to do it.

Now if you have questions about this or want more information, you can reach out to Al Elia who has been working on this on behalf of the National Association of Guide Dog Users.  His e-mail address is [email protected]  Or you can also call him at 346-439-7444.  Or you can reach out to Justin Young at our national office, [email protected], or at our main number, extension 2210.

Now let's talk a little bit about Braille.

It is now the time of the year that we talk about our partnership with the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults to promote the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest.  You can applaud for that.

(Applause)

The Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest is a great way for Braille readers to track the number of minutes they spend on reading between December 5, 2022, and January 23rd, 2023, and in that process, you can win prizes, just for working on Braille reading.

So we have three adult contests this year in the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest.  Registration will be open later this month, and I encourage all Federation members to consider registering to use this as an opportunity to promote Braille and enhance Braille reading amongst our chapters, especially with new Braille readers.

For more information on the registration process, you can visit actionfund.beanstack.org.  Beanstack is the platform we're using, so actionfund.beanstack.org to get more information.

Also this is the time of year when we talk about a very important partnership we have with Santa Claus to provide Braille letters from Santa to blind children.  Santa is very busy this time of year, and so he has asked us if we can help provide Braille letters for Santa.

And in the last couple of years, we have expanded this also to provide winter letters, winter celebration letters, to those who might not recognize Santa Claus or the Christmas holiday.  So we want to offer this to families who have blind children up to age ten.  You can visit the NFB website and you can sign up to get a Braille letter from Santa, or a winter celebration letter, and these are available in both English and Spanish.

The letters all come with some cool activities for the children, as well, and to make it accessible to the non-Braille readers, we include a printed copy because we believe in equal access, right?

Www.nfb.org is the place to find the letters.  You want to get your orders in so that they arrive in time for the end of December.

Now, we talked about on the last Presidential Release and we've been working hard on the website and Software Applications Accessibility Act, and I want to thank Federation members for your swift outreach to members of Congress. Literally hundreds of calls, e-mails have been made to support this important piece of legislation.

Please continue to keep the pressure on, although we are going into an election and the end of the congressional cycle, your pressure is really, really making a difference.

Absolutely.  The Honorable Tony Coelho has said of this bill, that "this bill is as significant as the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act."

(Applause)

And coming from Tony, who is truly the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this is a significant endorsement. The NFB has been coordinating outreach efforts with other organizations of the blind and for the blind.  We've also been doing outreach to some of the major tech companies in this regard, but your direct outreach to Congress is really important.

Recently, we presented with other organizations, a discussion of the bill at the M-Enabling Summit that happens every year in Washington, D.C.  This is a major technology conference, so that this bill was highlighted is really significant.  If you do your part and we continue to keep the pressure on, we can get this bill to move, and more importantly, we will lay an important groundwork for our legislative agenda in 2023.

Now I mentioned the M-Enabling Summit because our presentation there started with a video where our own John Pare introduced the representative who introduced the bill in the House of Representatives, this is Representative John Sarbanes of Maryland who is the local representative for the headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind.
I thought I would share with you on this release the video of Congressman Sarbanes' introducing the bill to the M-Enabling Summit.

VIDEO CONGRESSMAN JOHN SARBANES: Hi, everyone, I'm Congressman Sarbanes.  I'm proud to introduce the websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act with my colleague Senator Tammy Duckworth.  This important legislation will make websites and mobile applications accessible for everyone.  Today, the internet, as we know, is the center of nearly every aspect of our society, but digital innovation is only as powerful as it is inclusive.

As technology has evolved, digital accessibility hasn't kept pace, and far too many Americans cannot take full and equal advantage of new tools.  That's why we need uniform, consistent standards that lay out what true digital accessibility is, and provide adequate mechanisms to enforce it.

The Department of Justice has stated, unequivocally, that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to websites and other technologies, which act as a gateway to businesses, agencies, or their services, but the department has never produced the enforceable standards necessary to help businesses understand and uphold their responsibilities and truly make websites and software fully accessible to everyone.  The websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act would change that.  It would require the department to create long overdue accessibility standards for websites and applications that clarify that commercial providers who often design the websites and applications that we use are held to these standards just like the businesses and agencies hiring them.

It would also promote collaboration and technical assistance in ways that can develop these standards with a technical assistance center and an advisory committee.  The clear accessibility standards created under the websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act will help disability advocates and businesses alike as we all work together to reduce barriers to web accessibility.

I'm proud to have introduced this legislation with Senator Duckworth and I'm eager to work with all of you in securing its passage.  Thank you for all you do, helping us build a more just society, one that ensures equity and inclusion for every American.

(Applause)

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Really great statement by Congressman Sarbanes and really speaks to the work that we've done in the National Federation of the Blind.  You'll remember that Senator Duckworth spoke at our 2021 virtual convention so we've been working on this bill for a long time, and it's going to be some more work to get it done, but we will get it done.

It's great to be here in California because we do a lot of interesting advocacy work in California, and I should say over here to my left off-camera is the president of the NFB of California, Tim Elder who also has the distinction of one of the powerful civil rights attorneys that we use, and recently, we were pleased to resolve some work that we have done with Amazon.

Specifically collaboratively resolving issues of back pay claims for five blind Amazon employees who were discriminated against, and Amazon representatives have worked closely with us to resolve this conflict, which we appreciate our California affiliate helping to provide leadership on.

We are continuing to work on this.  Representatives of Amazon recently toured our Colorado Center for the Blind to learn more about how blind people use alternative techniques to undertake tasks.
We're really pleased that Amazon remains committed to working to identify accessibility solutions and innovations for blind employees.  However, just like with Uber, our advocacy work is not done.

If you have had that workplace accommodations denied, or been placed on unpaid leave, or have experienced other issues in the employment process, applying for work at an Amazon fulfillment center, we need to continue to hear from you.

Again, we have established a good relationship, but that doesn't mean we won't continue to hold Amazon accountable. So if you've encountered these issues, are encountering these issues, please reach out to Valerie Yingling at our national office.  You can reach her at [email protected], and we can work with you on those issues.  If you learn of individuals experiencing that, let them know that the National Federation of the Blind is here for them.

I do have a number of Federation family notes for this release.  The first comes from Minnesota, where I regret to inform you of the passing of Susan Leiker on October 16th.  Susan is the twin sister of Judy Sanders, who you may remember won our Jacobus tenBroek Award at this year's convention.  I urge you to keep Judy and her family and friends of Susan in your thoughts and prayers.

From Georgia, we have learned of the passing of Everett Davis on October 9th of this year.  Everett moved to Georgia from Chicago, Illinois, and was a long-standing member of the NFB chapter on the south side of Atlanta.  Please keep Everett in your thoughts and prayers.

And from Nebraska, Linda Mentink reports the passing of John Wardman on Sunday, October 9th, 2022.  He was a member of the Columbus area chapter since September of 2017.  John was 84 years old.  His wife, Brenda, continues to provide service to the Federation as secretary of the chapter.

I encourage you to keep all of these Federationists and those I may not know about in your thoughts and prayers.
Pam, I think that's what I have for the moment on this release.  I'm going to flip it back to you.

PAM ALLEN: Okay!  Great, thank you so much, President Riccobono.  And I want to give our updates for our poll.  We had great participation so thank you everybody who took part in response to our question on voting.

Our top vote getter with 49% was I will or have voted in person with an accessible machine.  And following closely behind that for our second place was, I will vote in person or have voted in person with an assistant.  So you know how important it is to get out there in vote so thank you everybody for making sure that our voices are heard.

And our question about our favorite cake, this was a hard question for some people.  There was a chunk of people who said "all of the above" so I can understand why.  But our top vote getter, not surprisingly, chocolate cake, followed --

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Come on, carrot cake!

PAM ALLEN: It was second.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Okay, okay.

PAM ALLEN: It was second.  But it was a hard question for some.  So so many good choices.
So just a quick reminder to everybody, and I want to thank everybody so much in advance who had submitted questions tonight, and we appreciate all of your ideas and your questions and comments.
If you have questions, you can submit them through our Q&A app or you can e-mail them to [email protected], and we will do our best to get to all of them if we don't have a chance.  Our awesome communications team will be following up.

So first of all, President Riccobono, before we get to our questions, I understand that we have a birthday in the room there with you.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: That is true.  That is true.  Where is Allison?  Allison Depner, it's her birthday today!  She's been working hard behind the scenes, so happy birthday, Allison.  Do you want us to sing to you?  (Laughs) Go ahead, Everett.  Kick it off.  (Laughs)

(Crowd singing Happy Birthday to Allison)

(Cheering)

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: I didn't ask if we should do it LCB style.

PAM ALLEN: That version was much more melodious, I will say.  Happy birthday, that's awesome.  Great to be celebrating with your Federation family and thank you for all your hard work.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: We won't tell her who put us up to it.  It was a member of the chapter, but we won't mention who.

Suggestions you might have for people who are working on reading Braille and building their speed.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Well, a couple of things, and I think this has come up previously on a release, but, you know, the important thing in building up speed is reading.  You just need to read and as someone who learned Braille when I turned 21, the summer I turned 21, I have watched myself go through the process of learning Braille and reading really is the way to do it.  So what I would say is if you could get in a group with some other people, reading short things so that you can have a sense of accomplishment, if you're going to start with War and Peace, probably hard to feel like you're making progress.

But Colonel Book articles, Monitor articles, stories about blind people.  Even poems, right?  Although those are a little trickier because poems have a little different structure to them, but things that when you read them, you're going to feel like you've made some progress are important.

But also then thinking about reading things that have to some extent repeat words in it, so you can build that knowledge. But the key is reading.  If you can find somebody to read with, that's always a great motivator.

PAM ALLEN: Awesome thank you so much.  And a question, a couple of questions we have, everybody's really excited. It's the time of the year, we've been outreaching to our members of Congress.

So we had questions with updates that you could share about the Access Technology Affordability Act and also legislation related to access for medical devices, if there are any updates you have.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Well, the Access Technology Affordability Act, we continue to have 116 members of the House of Representatives supporting the bill and 40 senators.  It's a great foundation.  We are still hopeful that that bill will get attached to something before the end of this year, so really great opportunity to keep the pressure on.  We do have a very strong commitment from our bill sponsors that they're watching for an opportunity to add this to legislation that is going to go through before the end of the year.

On medical devices, it's a slower climb.  I don't have the exact numbers off the top of my head, but we have gotten some good support and certainly, we're going to need to continue to push on that.  Obviously, there is support for the idea when we talk to people.  It is a little bit of a harder lift in that we haven't been running this bill as long, so continue to keep the pressure on.

No substantive updates regarding medical device act, though.

PAM ALLEN: Okay great.  And along the lines of legislation, we had a question about:  When can we make reservations for Washington seminar?  And is that available yet?  And if not, when and how?

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Great question.

PAM ALLEN: Really excited.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Why haven't you made your reservation yet?  It's open, it's available.  The Washington seminar, of course, will be kicking off with a great gathering meeting at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, January 30th, and going through Thursday of that week, February 2nd.  We will be meeting at the Holiday inn capitol at 550 C street Southwest as is a long-standing tradition.

You can make your reservations, yes.  You can make them now.  Some people already have.  To get a room with a king bed is $109. To get two queens is$129 per night.  Plus, the D.C. 14.5% tax on top of that.  You can find all of this information at www.nfb.org/Washington-seminar.  Washington-seminar is where you find all of this and that will include the reference code that you should use when booking your room at the Holiday Inn.  I think there's a link there, also.
So yes, please make your reservations.  We are planning to have an in-person Washington seminar.  We're continuing to monitor what the rules and regulations are in D.C. and in Congress.  We are anticipating that for our meetings, our big meetings at the Holiday Inn, we will be requiring masking in the great gathering and the training because it's really hard to do social distancing, but from there, we probably will be inviting Federation members to take the appropriate steps they feel are necessary to keep themselves safe.

At this point in time, we do not anticipate requiring testing as part of the Washington seminar, but, of course, we would encourage people to test before traveling.  Always the wise thing to do.

PAM ALLEN: Okay excellent and it will be here before we know it.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: It really will be!  I'm excited about that that.

PAM ALLEN: We have a question concerning our winter letters.  Are there any age restrictions?  What is the age category?

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Yeah, I know we have some people that like to try to get a letter, even though they're 46 years old or something like me, but yes, it's really intended for kids ten and under.  So please keep that in mind, so ten years of age or younger.

PAM ALLEN: Okay and another question related to the conference that was just hosted in Baltimore that you're discussing and the collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind with corporations and conferences representing technology and technology vendors.  Can we continue to collaborate with large corporations and make sure that they hear our voices and they're aware of our newest legislation?

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Well, it's a great question.  I don't think of anything specific related to the bill that we want our members to do.  We are working closely with especially the major tech companies to get them to understand the bill and hopefully, support the bill.  That is still an ongoing process because, you know, working with members of Congress leading the effort, we weren't able to bring those companies in while the bill was being drafted.

So we're doing a lot of educational work right now with these companies to get them on board.

So what I would say is stay tuned.  If we find that there's a need to put pressure on any of the major tech companies, then we will certainly urge people to do that.  What I would say is if you have connections with other tech companies, you have contacts, you know people in the C suite, send them the fact sheet and offer to talk to them about the bill and try to get them on board.  There are a number of companies out there that are doing great work.

I had to provide a COVID test to come here to the NFB of California convention and I used my reader device from Q Health, which is a company right here in San Diego.  Took the test independently, was able to get my results independently and e-mail them off to the e-mail address independently.

Let's get companies like that on board with this bill, that are already building products with accessibility in mind.

So if you have those contacts, get them on board.  Hopefully during the holidays people are going to get tired of you talking about the website and Software Applications Accessibility Act.

PAM ALLEN: Excellent well again I want to thank everyone for submitting questions and we really appreciate the great discussion.  If we did not have a chance to get to your question tonight, our outstanding communications team will be following up with you and we are definitely sending all our love to all the conventions happening and I know President Riccobono you'll have a full weekend ahead in California.

So I want to thank everyone for being with us tonight, and remember to join our next Presidential Release that will be live from Baltimore on Thursday, December 1st, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern via Zoom, the nation's blind YouTube channel, our internet stream or by asking your Amazon device to open nation's Blind.  You can contact President Riccobono at 410-659-9314, or via e-mail at [email protected]

Thank you, and I will turn it back to you, President Riccobono.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Thank you very much, Pam and I'll look forward to having you live in person at the release in December.  That will be great, as well as our board of directors and some supporters of ours.  That will be really great.

We have to decide if we're going to do any special decorations again this year.

PAM ALLEN: We'll be planning our tree.  We've got to get creative again.  We'll be looking forward to seeing you soon.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: All right.  Sounds great and happy Thanksgiving.

PAM ALLEN: Same to you.  And Melissa and the kids.

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: Thank you.  Well, it's been a pleasure to bring this Presidential Message from the NFB of California.  Thank you, California for hosting.

(Cheering and applause)

As we come to the close of this Presidential Release, I do think about the time of Thanksgiving and being grateful for so many things, but most importantly, the true support community that we have in the National Federation of the Blind.
I wish that others had access to the kind of network and community that we have in this organization.  I think it is sometimes too easy to overlook what a true gift it is that not just that we do the work together, but that we have the support of each other, not just in the good times that we get to celebrate, but in the hard times.

And I know when I'm out traveling and I get into situations which are frustrating to me, I'm grateful that I can go to my Federation community and get recharged and remember that blindness is not the characteristic that defines me.  It's the low expectations that we have to overcome by working together.

And so I'm really grateful to each and every one of you for the work, the commitment and the heart that you put into our movement.

And so as I come to the close of this release, that's what I'm thinking about, especially as we have had a truly special and motivating year in our organization.  I'm sure we'll talk more about that on next month's release.

To close this release, we have some customary endings from some of our friends here in the great State of California.

So I'll leave you with let's go build the National Federation of the Blind.

CHILD VOICE 1: Hi, what kind of dog does a magician have?  A labracadabra.

CHILD VOICE 2: What do you call a witch that only eats sand?  A sandwich.

CHILD VOICE 3: Hi, my name is Kylee.  And I'm going to tell you a joke.  What's Beethoven's favorite fruit?  Banana-nana!

Narrator: The proceeding message was brought to you by Mark Riccobono, President National Federation of the Blind, [email protected], 410-659-9314, www.nfb.org.  Let's go build the National Federation of the Blind.