October 2017 Minute Message

Fellow Federationists:

Convention planning: full speed ahead!

You have less than two weeks to make your room reservations by calling 410 321-7400. Remember, pre-registration will close on October 15. Go to: nfbmd.org/convention/register The time to act is now!

We have planned several new activities and workshops that we have never had at an NFBMD convention. For instance, cardio drumming is a great way to have fun without realizing that you are exercising. Our wellness workshop will introduce you to apps where you can find nutritional information as well as fitness and exercise information. This workshop will highlight accessibility features. How accessible is your home? Get acquainted with Google and Amazon products to make around the house tasks easier at our ‘Accessibility around the House’ workshop. Tactile art is for everyone so don’t forget to stop by and check out or create art.

Of course we will have many familiar activities that we look forward to every year. As usual, we will have a Friday night get together. Our carnival game night will have something for everyone from corn hole to darts; board games, computer games and more. Snacks and a cash bar will also be available. The newly formed Maryland Association of Blind Merchants will conduct a meeting. Guest speakers will discuss social security issues faced by blind entrepreneurs and other business topics. Students, parents, and seniors will also conduct informative workshops.

We will have reports and updates from BISM, LBPH, MSB, and DORS. We will also be planning our advocacy activities for the coming year. Don’t miss the Resolutions Committee meeting on Friday, November 10 at 9:30 am. Jessie Hartle will chair the Resolutions Committee this year. If you wish to submit a resolution please send it to Jessie by November 3. His email address is jesse.hartle63@gmail.com.

The newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, The Braille Spectator, will give you a good idea about the convention. Be sure to read the biography of our national representative Everette Bacon and the article about convention challenges. The Spectator also contains a summary of the experiences of people on last year’s employment panel. This will give you a flavor of what to expect for this year’s employment panel. The Spectator will be on the website and Newsline soon. Be sure to look at the website for the agenda and other convention happenings. See you at the Sheraton North Hotel in Towson on November 10 – 12.

Meet the blind month is in full swing

Every chapter around the state is planning meet the blind month activities. We are doing everything from participating in a parade, conducting a resource fair as well as a variety of fundraisers that engage the public. Go to https://nfbmd.org/node/106. Consult this link often because new events are being added.

White cane Awareness day

Three chapters have already scheduled or received proclamations from local officials for White Cane Awareness Day. If you need a sample proclamation go to: https://nfb.org/white-cane-awareness-day.

New legislation introduced in Washington

Last week Senator John Thune, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Senator Gary Peters; Senator Roy Blunt; and Senator Debbie Stabenow introduced the American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act (S. 1885). This bill will promote equal access to automated vehicles for the blind and others with disabilities through the prohibition of discriminatory licensing practices and the promotion of accessible user interfaces.

Two important library events

The Technology User Group (TUG) of the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is pleased to announce that the October 14 Presentation will be held in Greenbelt, Maryland. The production entitled Accessible Gifts for the Holidays will be held at the Greenbelt Branch of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, located at 11 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770 from 10:15 AM to noon. Patrons and interested persons are encouraged to use the back door of the library since this is closer to the auditorium. We are looking forward to meeting our patrons and disseminating information about the library to the citizens in the D.C. suburbs.

Don’t miss the Friends Annual meeting on October 28 at LBPH from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm. Come and meet some of the new staff at LBPH and help us recognize LBPH volunteers. The theme of this year’s meeting is “All about Maryland.” Try your hand at Maryland trivia, eat Maryland snacks, and enjoy a presentation by a Maryland author about an important aspect of Maryland history. We are fortunate this year to have retired civil rights lawyer Chris Brown as our speaker. Author of the book, The Road to Jim Crow: the African-American Struggle on Maryland’s Eastern Shore 1860-1915. This is the story of African Americans on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, from the promise-filled days following the end of slavery to the rise of lynch law, segregation, and systematic efforts at disenfranchisement. Mr. Brown a founding partner of the renowned civil rights law firm Brown, Goldstein and Levy, litigated a series of Voting Rights Act lawsuits that brought the first African-American officeholders to many Maryland town and county councils. These cases marked the end of 250 years in which no African-American had been elected to public office in Worcester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Important dates

  • October 2017 – January 4, 2018. Braille Reading Contest for Adults is underway. It is not too late to sign up. For more information contact Ellen Ringlein at greaterbaltimore@nfbmd.org
  • October 1-31, 2017. Meet the Blind Month.
  • October 15, 2017. National White Cane Awareness Day.
  • October 19-20, 2017. Braille Literacy in the 21st Century Conference, 200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, Maryland. Register at https://nfb.org/events/brl-literacy-registration
  • November 10-12, 2017. Annual State Convention, Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson, Maryland. Register at nfbmd.org/convention/register