Future Reflections                                                                                          Spring, 2002

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NFB Conventions: 2001 and 2002

by Barbara Cheadle


A Mummer's Band parade added a festive touch to the 2001 Convention.
A Mummer’s Band parade added a festive touch to the 2001 Convention.
Some years it’s pretty tough to come up with a seminar theme that catches the imagination and is fresh and relevant. It’s never hard to find great speakers in the National Federation of the Blind, mind you, but themes are a different story. To my relief and delight, the 2001 and 2002 themes for the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) National Seminars practically wrote themselves. “Let Freedom Ring” was a natural for the 2001 Convention, which was held in Philadelphia last July. Most of this issue is devoted to speeches, articles, and a photographic report from that convention. Some particularly talented blind youth speak on the topic “What Freedom Means to Me.” If you were at the convention, I know you will enjoy perusing the photos and having your own copy of those inspiring speeches. If you did not attend the 2001 Convention, then I hope what you read here will motivate you to attend the 2002 Convention in Louisville,

Speaking of the 2002 Convention, if you read the article on page 5 in this issue, “The Serious Work of Play,” you know how the 2002 theme came into being. What you may not know, especially if you have never attended an NFB convention before, is that the NOPBC-sponsored activities you read about on pages  5 – 10, make up only one very modest segment of an NFB Convention. About 13,000 blind people from all occupations and walks of life come to NFB Conventions. When we say the NFB is made up of a cross-segment of society, we mean it. At the convention, you can meet blind people who are lawyers, teachers, homemakers, artists, social workers, college students, mothers, fathers, factory workers, office workers, computer programmers, ministers, senior citizens, horse lovers, science fiction fans, and gourmet cooks. Convention activities and events are as diverse as the people. You can see the newest and most interesting products for the blind in the exhibit hall; laugh and cry at a play performed by blind rehabilitation students; stick your hand in the Lion’s mouth at the Sensory Safari display; participate in serious blindness-policy debates; learn about strategies blind teachers use in a classroom; and much, much more. For more details about the 2002 Convention, please check out the April, 2002, issue of the Braille Monitor on the NFB Web site at <www.nfb.org>, or call the National NFB office at (410) 659-9314 and request a free copy of the April issue in print or Braille, or on cassette tape.

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