January Minute Message

Fellow Federationists:

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, successful New Year to everyone.

Although the New Year is in its early stages, as usual, NFBMD is off to a quick start.  The Diabetic Action Network Committee held its first support call on January 7.  All of the participants, even the experienced diabetics, learned something new. These calls will be held on the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm.  The call-in number is 641-715-3272.  The access code is 720125.  Help us spread the word to diabetics or people interested in diabetes.

January marks the beginning of the Maryland General Assembly session.  This year we will be going to meet the 188 members of the General Assembly on January 21.  We need lots of participation from everyone.  Contact your Chapter President, or contact me offline, if you can join us. We have two main goals.  First, we must convince the General Assembly to offer greater protection of the right of blind persons to parent their children.  We want to shift the burden of proof to the party that makes the allegation against the capabilities of the blind person.  If there is reason for concern the judge must issue written findings of fact.  Before any limitation or denial of custody rights is imposed, the judge should offer the blind person supportive parenting services as a reasonable accommodation.  For further information about the changes that we seek to the family law article, read our Fact Sheet which will be on www.nfbmd.org under current advocacy issues soon.

Our second issue involves the elimination of 14(c) certificates in Maryland.  Our goal is to make sure that all disabled workers will receive at least the state minimum wage. Be sure to read our Fact Sheet to learn how the proposed bill plans to phase out this antiquated, immoral and discriminatory practice.  It will be on www.nfbmd.org under current advocacy issues soon.

Speaking of our website, don’t miss the audio of the 2015 Presidential Report delivered at our State Convention.  A panel discussion, Living the Lives They Want, which took place on Sunday morning at the 2015 convention, may be heard at NFBMD.org under the “Success Stories”.

Of course we will be having a State Convention in 2016.  Since this Convention will mark the 50th Anniversary of NFBMD, we will be holding some special celebrations.  We will be going to a prestigious hotel for our 50th Anniversary.  Save the dates, October 28-30 for this special State Convention so you can join us at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards Hotel, 110 South Eutaw Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.

Marylanders will be joining our Federation family throughout the country at the Washington Seminar.  We will be visiting the Maryland delegation on January 26.  We also hope to have a good showing at the Congressional Reception to be held on January 26 at 5 pm at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G50. 

Students in grades K-12 will show off their Braille reading and writing skills at the Maryland Regional Braille Challenge on January 30.  We hope that many students will qualify for the National Braille Challenge in June.  Good luck to all.

Please read the calendar below so that you can plan to participate.

January 21.   Day in Annapolis.  Meet at the Lowe House Office Building, Room 142, the Anne Arundel County Delegation Room, at 8 am.

January 26.  Congressional Reception and meetings with Maryland Delegation on Capitol Hill. 

January 30.   Maryland Regional Braille Challenge to be held at the Maryland School for the Blind.

February 4.  Diabetic Conference Call, 7 pm.

February 8.  Senior Issues Conference Call, 10 am.

March 3.  Diabetic Conference Call, 7 pm.

March 11.  Basket Bingo takes place at the Lodge 2832 Nine Mile Circle, Catonsville.  Doors open at 6 pm.  Games begin at 7 pm.  See www.nfbmd.org for further information and to purchase tickets.

March 14.  Senior Issues Conference Call, 10 am.

April 2.  NFBMD Board of Directors Meeting, time and place TBD.

April 7.  Diabetic Conference Call, 7 pm.

April 11.  Senior Issues Conference Call, 10 am.

April 17.  Gospel Concert to Benefit NFBMD Youth Programs at Pikesville Seventh Day Adventist Church.

June 4.  NFBMD Board of Directors Meeting, time and place TBD.

June 30-July 5. National Convention, Orlando, Florida.

July 18-29 excluding weekends. Salisbury NFB BELL Program.

July 25-Aug 5 excluding weekends. NFB BELL Programs in Baltimore and Glenn Dale.

August 5.  Annual Crab Feast, Columbus Gardens, Baltimore, Maryland.

August 27. NFBMD Board of Directors Meeting, time and place TBD.

October 28-30.  NFBMD 50th State Convention, Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland.

Sharon Maneki, President

National Federation of the Blind of Maryland