September 2018 Minute Message

Fellow Federationists:

The Convention is Coming.

Please get busy and register for the 52nd annual convention of the NFBMD. You can register online by going to You may also register by mail. You will receive a form in your mailbox next week. Everyone should sign up on this preregistration form for our Friday night picnic dinner and show. You can enjoy a picnic dinner in November and get in the Christmas spirit because the Braille is Beautiful Players will be performing Santa Rides Again. This is an original play written by the late Jerry Wittle from the Louisiana Center for the Blind. If you wish to be a member of the Braille is Beautiful Players, and can read Braille, call Debbie Brown at 301-881-1892.  Remember preregistration closes on October 14th.

Did you make your room reservation at the Carousel Hotel yet? Hotel reservations must be made by October 9th. Call 410-524-1000.

Our keynote speaker at this year’s convention is Adelmo Vigil, a member of the National Board of Directors and President of the NFB of New Mexico.  Adelmo has had many careers.  He has survived sixteen years of teaching sighted students in elementary school.   He helped blind people raise their expectations in his service as Director of the Adjustment to Blindness Training Center at the New Mexico Commission for the Blind.  When he served as Deputy Director of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind, he was able to make systemic change in blindness services.  You will not want to miss his inspirational address.

On Friday evening the Washington Wheelers, a blind hockey club, will give lessons and demonstrate how to use equipment for convention participants of all abilities.  We will have other activities for the less adventurous.  You can be sure that Friday evening will be a time of fun and fellowship.

We will have many interesting workshops.  Don’t miss the Kernel Story Hour.  We will discuss stories about how every day blind people live the lives they want, as written in our Kernel books series. 

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Come to the convention to find out how you can make sure that blindness does not hold you back. For the latest information go to


Keep the Federation Spirit Going.


Maryland Day at the Jernigan Institute

Many thanks to the 101 Federationists who participated in Maryland Day at the Jernigan Institute on September 8.  If you did not get a chance on Maryland Day to fill out the form to be a mentor for students in our Career Mentoring Program, you can still do so.  Go to 


Many thanks to everyone who wrote to their congressman during Maryland Day to ask them to cosponsor HR 1734, Access Technology Affordability Act.  We are making progress because we have two congressmen co-sponsoring this bill!  Please contact the following congressmen so that we can reach 100%.   Congressmen Anthony Brown, Elijah Cummings, John Delaney, Andy Harris, Steny Hoyer, and John Sarbanes. You can contact your member of Congress by calling the Capitol Switchboard and asking for the office in question. The number is 202-224-3121.  HR 1734 will increase the availability of access technology thereby increasing educational and employment opportunities for all blind Americans. The bill does this by creating a tax credit for the purchase of access technology. The National Federation of the Blind has analyzed the cost impact and the bill is either cost neutral or will save the government money.

Maryland Day was a great introduction to Federation resources, such as The Voice of the Nation’s Blind podcast.  I hope you will use the new alphabet cards and new brochures that you saw at Maryland Day


during Meet the Blind Month …

during Meet the Blind Month in October.  We began to examine the revolutionary thinking about blindness, which is part of Federation philosophy.  We only scratched the surface.  Go to the NFB channel on NFB Newsline to read three important speeches.  The speech titles are “Blindness:  Handicap or Characteristic” by Kenneth Jernigan, “The Mental Discipline of the Movement” by Marc Maurer, and “The Spirit of the Journey:  The Blind Driver Challenge and the Direction of our Movement” by Mark Riccobono.  You can hear each speech in each person’s voice, or you can listen to the computer text version.  These speeches are also available on 


Parents and Grandparents: Did you Share the Love Yet?


The National Federation of the Blind is partnering with Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats to create Braille and audio “Love Notes” so parents can share messages of love and encouragement with blind children. The Love Notes are an accessible version of the writable wrapper on Rice Krispies Treats, which allows parents to include messages in their children’s lunch boxes. The new, accessible Love Notes are available in two forms: Braille stickers and re-recordable audio boxes. The Braille stickers are heart shaped to match the space on Rice Krispies Treats writable wrappers for written notes. Each Braille sticker sheet includes eight uplifting messages for parents to share with their children, such as “you’ve got this” and “love you lots.” The re-recordable audio box holds a Rice Krispies Treat and, when opened, plays a ten-second, pre-recorded message. The audio box messages can be re-recorded over a thousand times. accessibility.   To check out the website and order Love Notes for your child, visit


MABM Gathering.

Join the Maryland Association of Blind Merchants (MABM) on October 6, 2018 for an afternoon of fun and fellowship.  You will visit Old Line Spirits - Baltimore’s Award-Winning Distillery - for a tour and tasting, followed by a Waterfront Dinner Experience at Barcocina Restaurant.  To RSVP or for more information contact Melba Taylor, 240-381-1637 or  RSVP’s must be received by September 29th. 




Come to the Candidates for Governor Forum on Disabilities.


This is your opportunity to be an informed voter and hear from our Maryland Candidates for Governor about their vision for increasing acceptance, dignity, and participation of all people with disabilities in Maryland.  The event is Friday, October 5 from 1:30 – 3:30 pm at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor, 300 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21202.  Free admission, but I need to know if you are coming.  Please send me an email off list. 


Important Dates.

October 1-31 – Meet the Blind Month.

October 5 – Maryland Candidates for Governor Forum on Disabilities, 1:30-3:30pm, Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel, 300 Light Street, Baltimore, MD.

October 6 – MABM Wine Tasting and Dinner.   To RSVP or for more information contact Melba Taylor,

October 15 – National White Cane Awareness Day.

October 27 – Celebration of 50th Anniversary of Maryland LBPH, 1 – 4 pm.  415 Park Ave., Baltimore, MD.

November 9-11 – Annual State Convention, Carousel Hotel, Ocean City, MD.


Sharon Maneki, President

National Federation of the Blind of Maryland



The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.