February 2018 Minute Message

Fellow Federationists,

Raising Expectations in Washington

As you know, Blindness does not define you or your future. We had a very successful Washington seminar where we raised expectations so that we can live the lives we want. Thanks to our efforts, Congressman Ruppersberger is now a co-sponsor of HR1772, Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act, and HR1734, Access Technology Affordability Act, and senator Van Hollen agreed to co-sponsor S2138, the companion Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act. Both Maryland senators were already co-sponsoring S732, the Access Technology Affordability Act. Our work is not complete, we must get the remaining congressmen to co-sponsor these important bills.

Although HR620, the ADA Education and Reform Act passed in the House, we are very pleased that all of Maryland’s Congressmen, with the exception of Andy Harris, voted against this bill. Congressman Elijah Cummings was not present so did not vote on the bill. We will work to make sure that this bill does not pass in the Senate.

Raising Expectations in Annapolis

During the weeks of February 19 and February 26, there will be hearings on all of our four Annapolis issues. We need lots of help. Check with your chapter president for specific instructions on transportation and specific hearing dates. It is up to us to restore the right to a secret ballot to disabled voters in Maryland. We must establish a remote access information service for Deaf-Blind people in Maryland. We must persevere in our struggle to get Maryland to enforce the law concerning nonvisual access to state government. Please be sure to get lots of letters in so that the Maryland General Assembly will recognize the importance of these issues.

Three Fun Fundraisers

Would you like to win the Amazon Echo, the Dot, Smart plugs, and special lightbulbs so that you could instruct your device to turn the lights on or off? This is only one example of the raffle prizes at Basket Bingo. You will also have the opportunity to win money and many baskets filled with delicious foods and many items to fulfill every wish. Please call or email Sharon Maneki if you need a Braille or large print Bingo card. Get your tickets today so that you will be part of the fun on March 9.

Don’t miss an afternoon of songs, stories and connecting for a cause - Sunday, March 25, from 3 to 5 pm. The talented Melissa Riccobono will perform popular and folk music with audience sing-a-longs. Have an enjoyable afternoon while raising money for the NFB BELL Academy programs in Maryland. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information and tickets email Melissa Riccobono.

Get ready for a nice evening out. Join us on April 7 from 5 to 9 pm for our Bid-for-Opportunity dinner and auction to benefit the John. T. McCraw Scholarship Program and NFBMD youth activities. The event will take place at the VFW Post 9619, 6527 Suitland Rd, Morningside, MD 20746. For more information email Debbie Brown, or Michelle Clark.

Board of Directors Meeting

Everyone is cordially invited to attend the NFBMD Board of Directors meeting on March 24. The meeting will begin promptly at 9:30 am. Lunch is $15. The location is Advent Funeral Home, Community Room (enter from back parking lot), address is 9013 Annapolis Road, Lanham, MD 20706. Many thanks to the National Harbor Chapter for hosting this meeting.

Important Dates for 2018

  • March 9th – Basket Bingo at The Lodge, 2832 9 Mile Circle, Catonsville, MD.
  • March 24th – Board of Directors Meeting, 9:30am. Location: Advent Funeral Home, Community Room (enter from back parking lot), 9013 Annapolis Road, Lanham, MD 20706.
  • March 25th – Recital and Sing-A-Long, benefiting NFBBELL Academy, Jernigan Institute, 200 East Wells St., Baltimore, MD 21230.
  • March 31st – Deadline for National Scholarship Applications.
  • April 7th – Bid-for-Opportunity Dinner and Auction, to benefit John. T. McCraw Scholarship Program and NFBMD Youth Activities. VFW Post 9619, 6527 Suitland Rd, Morningside, MD 20746.
  • April 15th – Deadline for NFBMD Scholarship Applications.
  • June 2nd – Board of Directors Meeting. Location to be announced.
  • June 3rd – 6-K Dot Dash for Braille Literacy, 200 East Well Street, Baltimore, MD.
  • July 3-8th – NFB National Convention, Orlando, FL.
  • July 29 – August 4 – NFB EQ for blind high-school students. To learn more visit the NFB EQ information page online.
  • August 4th – Annual Crab Feast, Columbus Gardens, Baltimore, MD.
  • November 9-11th – Annual State Convention, Carousel Hotel, Ocean City, MD.