From Timid to Bold: Reflections on Newcomers to National Convention

"Attending the convention has changed me in many ways. For the first time in my life, I did not feel self-conscious or different. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am part of a big family that really cares." - Ayoub Zurikat, 2017

How Love Convinced Gary Wunder to Join the National Federation of the Blind

One frequent topic of discussion in the National Federation of the Blind is why we joined, when we joined, and those things that pushed us towards and away from the organization. Very often we find ourselves trying to tell one unified story but, like most things in life, the reason for making significant decisions in our lives often is a culmination of events and maybe even an epiphany or two along the way.

Isabel Espinales Regains Independence through the National Federation of the Blind

From the editor: Isabel is a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland and shared this story as part of our #WhyImAFederationist campaign. This story originally appeared on the NFB of MD Facebook page.

I was born in Nicaragua. At ten years old, I was forced to leave my country to escape death threats because of my father’s reputation in the military. I came to America, went through school, and then worked as a nurse in hospitals and nursing homes. I was first exposed to blindness by my patients; yet, I only saw the first stages of vision loss and not the aftermath of how they succeeded.

It Burns

My earliest memory of having to deal with my impending blindness occured when my mom took  my siblings and me to visit the ophthalmologist’s office. I was probably seven years old, and the office staff took me into a dark room to dilate my pupils. This required administering a series of painful eye drops, and I remember squealing, “It burns!” I sat there in the dark, trying desperately not to cry, because I was told that if the tears washed away the eye drops, we would need to start the process all over again. Once my pupils were properly dilated, the ophthalmologist shined a bright light into my eyes, flipped various lenses in this huge machine that I had to look through, and asked me to read characters on an eye chart.

Harold's Story

Hello, my name is Sheila Leigland and my husband’s name is Harold. We live in Great Falls, Montana and have been married for thirty years. We both have attended college and have bachelor’s degrees. My degree is in music education, and Harold’s degree is in social science with an extended minor in psychology. We have raised one child, and my husband worked as a massage therapist for over thirty-five years. We are active in our church and are members of the National Federation of the Blind. Two years ago, we had the privilege of participating in the Rock Center piece and speaking at the National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind on the issue of subminimum wages.

The Horrors of Atalissa

On Sunday, March 9, the New York Times published “The Boys in the Bunkhouse,” which tells the story, in excruciating and horrific detail, of the men who worked for Henry’s Turkey Service in Atalissa, Iowa. The article largely speaks for itself, and raises a critical question: how could this happen? But the article does not provide the answer, at least not directly, so we will make the attempt. History teaches that whenever any group of human beings is viewed as inferior and marked for different treatment, that group becomes subject to exploitation and abuse. This is true even if the badge of inferiority was not necessarily intended to lead to that result.

With Race and Disability, What is Fair and Right, is Fair and Right for All

I rarely take time to watch television, but during Black History Month, I immersed myself in black films.  As a member of a family led by a widowed mother who supported her family of four children primarily as a domestic worker, I watched The Help and was reminded how much my mom’s subsequent job as a clerk at the United States Post Office drastically changed our lives.   One of the few memories of my father is that he served in the United States Army, so I watched A Soldier’s Story, and I wondered which, if either, of the characters was most like my dad.  I watched them old and new, from A Cabin in the Sky to 12 Years a Slave, acknowledging that the opportunities afforded the actors of the former were forged out of the struggle depicted by the characters in the latter.  I am reminded of how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

Historic Chance to End the Book Famine Must Not Be Lost

By Marc Maurer, President
National Federation of the Blind
 
I was moved recently by a story of a bright young Chinese-American woman named Michelle Yang.  Blind from birth, Michelle explained that as a child she could not read folk tales in Hmong, her native language, because they cannot be physically imported or e-mailed into the United States—or to any other country for that matter—in Braille.  
 
Instead, because of global copyright laws, they must wastefully be produced separately in accessible forms in every country where a blind child wants to enjoy and learn her own heritage in her own tongue.  
 

Feedback on Blind Man's Story on This American Life

The following is a copy of an e-mail that was recently sent by NFB member Bob Hartt to the producers of NPR's This American Life

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident: Part Two

On April 11, 2013, I wrote a blog post entitled, “We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident—Do You?” That post was the result of talking to many people about the shift in thinking that needs to occur with respect to technology and accessibility. My post was also motivated by a letter that my colleague, Daniel F. Goldstein, who has represented the National Federation of the Blind in many cases for over a quarter of a century, wrote to the Office for Civil Rights regarding an April 4 article that covered our concern over the use of inaccessible Amazon Kindle products in schools and similarly inaccessible educational technologies.

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