July 2019 Minute Message

Fellow Federationists:


We have just returned from Las Vegas where our 2019 National Convention took place, and we have quite a busy summer still ahead of us.  Please see below some notes and announcements that are important to keeping our movement working to support the rights of Maryland’s blind.

Get ready for Houston in 2020!

One of the highlights of the national board of directors meeting at the 2019 NFB National Convention was learning that the 2020 National Convention will take place from June 30 – July 5 at the Hilton Americas Houston Hotel in Houston, Texas. Start saving up so that you can attend the 2020 convention. I am pleased that Maryland had about 230 participants in the 2019 convention, 54 of them first-timers. Many thanks to all of the Maryland ambassadors who welcomed the many Maryland first timers to the convention. Special thanks to Judy Rasmussen who chaired the Maryland Ambassadors Committee, to Meleah Jensen, coordinator of the Maryland table, and to all of the volunteers who helped us sell snacks, Would You Rather games, and instant lottery tickets. I’d encourage you to listen to the President’s Banquet Speech (Choice, Exploration, and Resistance: The Road to Freedom for the Blind which is located at https://nfb.org/resources/speeches-and-reports/banquet-speeches/choice-e...), as many have shared they believe this was one of the speeches that will define our movement this generation.  The Braille Monitor will share many of the 2019 Convention highlights, so I’d encourage you to read it when it is published. It was a great convention and I am sure that the 2020 convention in Houston will be outstanding as well.


The Bells Are Tolling in Maryland!

The first NFB BELL Academy in Maryland, hosted by Blind Services and Industries of Maryland, began in Salisbury on July 22. The BELL Academies in Baltimore and Glenn Dale began on July 29. The Salisbury BELL students have completed their first week of an outstanding program, and doubtless Baltimore’s and Glenn Dale’s students will have equally phenomenal programs.  The NFB of Maryland BELL volunteers are busy working to make sure that all of the students learn that they are part of the Federation family and how to learn positive blindness philosophy and good non-visual skills.  Blind role models will help students build confidence and will demonstrate to the students that they can live the lives they want.


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


Attend the NFBMD Board of Directors Meeting

Everyone is invited to attend the NFB of Maryland Board of Directors meeting on Saturday, August 24 to help us plan the convention.  We will be meeting at the Convention Hotel, the Crown Plaza Baltimore Downtown Inner Harbor, located at 105 West Fayette Street, Baltimore.  The meeting will begin at 9:30 and end at 3:30.  Lunch will be available for purchase.  To RSVP, please contact me at (443) 426-4110 or President@nfbmd.org.  Individuals who plan to attend should let me know by August 15, 2019.


Changes to the NFB and NFB of Maryland Code of Conduct

You may recall that in 2018, the National Federation of the Blind adopted a Code of Conduct to put into writing many of the expectations and protocols that were already in place and to clarify expectations for our members in one clearly defined location.  Each affiliate was expected to adopt its own Code of Conduct as well.  Both the NFB and NFBMD Codes of Conduct require annual reviews of the Codes by the Boards of Directors to determine if any changes or updates are needed.  To that end, the NFB National Board of Directors updated the National Code of Conduct in April 2019.  This update made some changes that warranted the NFBMD to decide that the NFBMD Code of Conduct was redundant and no longer necessary.  As a result, in June 2019, the NFBMD Board of Directors sunsetted the NFBMD Code of Conduct because the NFB National Code of Conduct addresses all the same areas the affiliate Code of Conduct previously did.  I am asking all members to visit the NFB’s Code of Conduct page and become familiar with our Code of Conduct; it is located at https://www.nfb.org/about-us/history-and-governance/code-conduct.  The NFBMD has also posted the National Code of Conduct on our website, as it is our governing Code; it may be viewed here: http://www.nfbmd.org/code-of-conduct.

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.



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Important Dates for 2019

  • 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 – 9:30AM – 3:30PM
  • October 1 – 31 – Meet the Blind Month
  • October 15 - National White Cane Awareness Day.
  • November 8-10 – Annual State Convention – Crown Plaza Baltimore Downtown
  • February 10, 2020 – Great Gathering In, Washington Seminar, Washington, DC
  • March 13, 2020 – Basket Bingo
  • June 30 – July 5, 2020 – NFB National Convention, Houston, Texas