June 2019 Minute Message

Fellow Federationists:


We are making final preparations to attend the 2019 National Federation of the Blind Convention in Las Vegas.  In the last month, we’ve done a great deal to get our more than 25 first-time conventioneers ready to attend National Convention.  Nonetheless, we’ve also worked hard on our grassroots initiatives to ensure that the blind of Maryland achieve equal access to information, obtain meaningful employment, receive high quality education services, and on and on.  In the last month alone, we advocated at several IEPs, worked on some employment litigation matters, met with several state officials about a myriad of issues of importance to the blind, and took a large contingent to the Board of Elections meeting to push for change in voting policies in order to eliminate voter segregation due to disability.  We’ve also held several more membership ceremonies this month, having done so now for ten out of twelve brick and mortar chapters and groups.  Thank you for all you do – you are the heart of this organization!


Are You Ready for Las Vegas?

I hope everyone is getting ready for the National Convention, July 7-12, in Las Vegas. Here are some special notes concerning the participation of the Maryland affiliate. The Maryland caucus will be held on Monday, July 8th, at 9 pm in Room Tradewinds E. We need workers and buyers at the Maryland table in the Exhibit Hall. The table number is D7. As usual, the affiliate will sell instant lottery tickets, which gives you a chance to win from $2 to $20. Since you get your money immediately, you will be able to purchase other items at the table, such as snacks. The Maryland Association of Blind Students will be selling sticky wallets, which are little pockets that stick to phones and other things where credit cards, room key cards, and other items can be stored.  The Greater Baltimore Chapter will be selling water cozies and other items, and the Maryland Association of Blind Merchants will be selling some surprise items. 


Please take time to welcome and assist the many Maryland members who will be attending convention for the first time.  We want the convention experience to be a great one for all attendees.  Sometimes convention can become

overwhelming or stressful.  If anyone becomes ill, feels anxious or frustrated, please call me at 708-829-0523.   The National Convention is part family reunion, part building relationships and networking and part re-energization.  Let's make the most of it!


Sign Your Child Up for NFBBELL

Maryland will once again host three Braille Enrichment in Literacy and Learning (BELL) Programs during the Summer of 2019.  The BELL summer program is a two-week day program (weekends not included) designed to offer pre-kindergarten and elementary age low vision beginning Braille readers an opportunity to be immersed in Braille and increase the use of tactile skills for reading Braille. Children will receive Braille instruction daily as well as learn alternative techniques through arts and crafts, games, field trips, and other fun activities.  Find out more about and register for the BELL program here.  Specific information about Maryland BELL can be found at https://nfb.org/programs-services/nfb-bell-academy/maryland.  For questions, please contact Maryland BELL Coordinator Melissa Riccobono at MelissaARiccobono@gmail.com.


Maryland BELL Dates and Locations:

  • Baltimore Bell (for students in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and surrounding areas): July 29 – August 9, 2019
  • Glendale BELL (for students in Montgomery County, PG County, and surrounding areas): July 29 – August 9, 2019
  • Salisbury BELL (for students in Wicomico County, Worcester County, Dorchester County and surrounding areas): July 22 – August 2, 2019


Help Needed: Voting Experiences

We need to hear your story if you:

  • Believe you were the only person or one of just a few people who voted using the electronic Ballot Marking Device (BMD), which is the accessible voting machine, in either of the 2018 elections (primary or general); or
  • Experienced challenges using the BMD in either of the 2018 elections; for example, if you arrived and found the machines not set up or unplugged, if the staff did not know how to operate the machines, if you were discouraged from using the machines, or if there were other challenges of this sort.

Please contact Sharon Maneki at NFBMD@earthlink.net or at 410-715-9596 to share your experiences.


Crabbing for Student Scholarships

Please purchase your tickets today for the NFB of Maryland Annual Crab Feast.  This fundraiser supports the John T McCraw Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to blind post-secondary education students.

When: Saturday, August 17, 2019 - 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Where: Tall Cedars - 2501 Putty Hill Ave - Parkville, MD 21234

Tickets are $60 each if purchased before August 2, or $65 afterword’s. Children 6 and under are free. 

Special Promotion: Buy or Sell 25 or more tickets and get your ticket FREE!

Dancing, 50 / 50 Raffle, Door Prizes, and more.

Menu Includes:
Steamed Crabs, Pit Beef, turkey breast, & Ham – All You Can Eat!
Plus a Buffet of Entrees Including Old Bay wings and Sausage, Sides, Salad, Cake…
Yuengling and Miller beer
Carbonated Beverages, iced tea, and Coffee

To purchase tickets, visit http://www.nfbmd.org/crabs

For additional information contact me at (443) 426-4110 or email President@NFBMD.org


NFB RideShare Testing Program

We continue to need your help.  If you use a service animal or are accompanying someone who does, please fill out a short form about your experience each time you use Uber or Lyft. In Maryland, we have to complete a certain number of surveys each year.  You can submit a survey for every trip you took, so please look back at your ride history and do this if you haven’t already done so.  Please go to https://nfb.org/rideshare-test or use the NFB Connect app (instructions below) to complete the survey. Please give us information about both good and bad experiences. Spread the word, we need information from every blind person whether they are a member of NFB or not. Ashley Alvey is the Maryland coordinator for this program. If you have questions email her at ashleyalvey1994@gmail.com.


NFB Connect App instructions for Rideshare Survey

  1. On the top left corner of the screen, you will find a button that says, Menu button. Double tap Menu.
  2. After double tapping on menu, at the top left corner of the screen, you will see Home.
  3. Swipe to the right once and you will see Fast Facts. Double tap Fast Facts.
  4. You will swipe right until you see, Rideshare Survey. Double tap Rideshare Survey.
  5. Lastly, swipe to the right. When you see First Name, this is where the form begins and this is where you put in the information for the survey.



use Amazon smile

Since this is the season of anniversaries, weddings and graduations, be sure

to use Amazon smile and choose NFBMD for your charity when you purchase that

special gift.    Go to




Important Dates for 2019

  • June 1 – Board of Directors Meeting; Elkridge , Maryland
  • June 16 – 22 – NFB EQ, Baltimore, MD
  • July 7-12th – NFB National Convention, Las Vegas, NV.
  • July 22 – August 2 – NFB BELL Academy, Salisbury, MD
  • July 29 – August 9 – NFB BELL Academy, Baltimore and Glendale, MD
  • August 17th – Annual Crab Feast - Tall Cedars, 2501 Putty Hill Ave., Parkville, MD 21234
  • August 24 – NFB of Maryland State Board Meeting, Crown Plaza Hotel, Baltimore
  • October 15 - National White Cane Awareness Day.
  • November 8-10 – Annual State Convention – Crown Plaza Baltimore Downtown