Braille Monitor                                                             February 2007



Atlanta Welcomes the National Federation
of the Blind for the First Time

by Anil Lewis

Anil LewisFrom the Editor: Anil Lewis is president of the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia, the host of our next NFB convention June 30 through July 6. He is also an Atlanta resident. Here is his first article about our 2007 convention city:

Sure, this will be the fourth annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, and those who think they have �been there and done that� should think again! We have added, upgraded, and improved the city and our convention hotel. With the addition of the world�s largest aquarium, upgrades to our world-class arts and cultural center, and improvements to the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, the 2007 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will be a new experience for all who attend. So many things have changed since the members of our Federation family were here in 2004 that I would be hard pressed to describe them in one article. The following are just a few additions and improvements to whet your appetite while we work to ensure that everyone enjoys our 2007 convention.

The Georgia Aquarium opened on November 23, 2005, as the world�s largest aquarium. With over eight million gallons of fresh and marine water, 100,000 animals representing 500 species from around the globe, and over 505,000 total square feet of space, the Georgia Aquarium is sure to have things you�ve never seen before. Come meet Ralph and Norton, our two resident whale sharks, the largest fish on the planet. These majestic giants can grow to over forty feet long. You will also encounter beluga whales, whose charismatic personalities will touch the hearts of the entire family. The Georgia Aquarium delivers wonder and excitement around every corner. You�ll want to come back again and again.

The High Museum of Art and the Atlanta Symphony Hall have been expanded and improved. This has made the Woodruff Arts Center a world-class destination for fine arts. The High Museum has entered into a distinctive partnership with the Louvre in Paris, one of the greatest museums in the world. The High has classic works of art from the Louvre's permanent collection on display. The exhibit is the largest of its kind in the United States and will last for the next three years.

Near the High Museum of Art is Atlanta�s newest place to live, work, and play. Atlantic Station is metro Atlanta's leading mixed-use development. Just over the big yellow Seventeenth Street Bridge you will find a vibrant pedestrian-friendly mixed-use center that�s a delightful place to walk, shop, and hang out. The Atlantic Station Market, which is like the open-air markets found in Europe and the northeastern United States, opened last November and is the first of many being introduced to the Atlanta metro area to showcase our local artists and unique vendors.

Even the Atlanta Marriott Marquis has recently been renovated. Although most of you have mastered moving around our traditional Atlanta convention hotel, you will find some additions and improvements that will make your visit special. Even though the hotel is new and improved, we have managed to maintain convention room rates that remain the envy of all. We will be sure to revise and reprint the changes made to the Atlanta Marriott in a subsequent Braille Monitor article.

Of course the landmark event that will make this convention like no other will be the NFB March for Independence. Hundreds of the nation�s blind, our family members, and friends will join together to march in a unified effort to reach out, educate, and fundraise. We could choose no better location than Atlanta, a city rich in civil rights history, to host this symbolic march for the civil rights of blind people. We, the Georgia affiliate of the NFB, are honored to have the privilege of being the host of the NFB convention that launches this historic event. No true Federationist can afford to miss the solidarity of this monumental moment.

By now you should have registered as a participant in the March for Independence and made your hotel reservations at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. In less than a month you can preregister for the 2007 convention of the National Federation of the Blind. All that will be left for you to do is make your travel plans. See you in Atlanta.