August 2022 Minute Message


Fellow Federationists:


As we wind down the summer, we are as busy as ever in the Maryland affiliate.  In the last month, we held our Maryland NFB BELL Academy, hosted our annual Crab Feast, cohosted the NABS Mid-Atlantic Student Seminar with 60 students from all over the country attending a weekend-long residential seminar, hosted the third offering of our advocacy seminar, held programs for our Sports and Rec Committee, Student Division, Merchants Division, guide dog committee, and Seniors Division, and hosted a number of chapter outings.  We also kicked off activities related to our Crafters Group and began organizing our Maryland Performing Arts Group.  We held our day-long affiliate Board Meeting and State Convention Planning Retreat.  We are also continuing to eagerly prepare for our 56th annual state convention.  Please read below for more information about our programs and activities.


Reconnect, Reimagine, Reignite: The State Convention is Coming!

You will not want to miss the state convention at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson which takes place on November 11 - 13, 2022.  Come and meet our National Representative, Donald Porterfield.  You may reserve your room by calling the Sheraton Baltimore North at 410-321-7400.  Convention Room Rates:  Standard Room - $95 per night. Tax on sleeping rooms is 17.5%.  These room rates start on Thursday, November 10, 2022.  The deadline for making room reservations is October 15, 2022. 


Be looking in your mailbox and on for the preregistration forms.  Below are the prices for the various convention activities (prices are per person unless otherwise stated):

  • Pre-registration = $20 until October 15, 2022; $25 on-site
  • Banquet ticket = $50 until October 15, 2022; $55 on-site
  • Parent, Senior, or Student Luncheon ticket = $25 until October 15, 2022; $30 on-site
  • Friday boxed lunch = $18 until October 15, 2022; $20 on-site
  • Dinner & a Play ticket = $18 until October 15, 2022; $20 on-site
  • Transportation from New Carrollton Train Station = $35 until October 15, 2022; this covers round-trip travel
  • Childcare = TBD 


Financial Assistance Application for State Convention – Due September 15, 2022!

Individuals who wish to request financial assistance to attend the 2022 NFB of Maryland State Convention must complete and submit a Financial Assistance Application Form no later than September 15, 2022.  Individuals are encouraged to first check with their local chapters and divisions to see what financial assistance may be available.  If a member’s chapter does not have a financial assistance program, or if there is still unmet financial need, members may complete and submit the form to the State affiliate.  More information about the NFBMD Financial Assistance Application Form is available at  For questions, please contact me at 443-426-4110 or at


Seeking Resolutions for the State Convention

The Convention is the supreme authority of the National Federation of the Blind, and this too is true of the affiliates.  One of the most important charges of the Convention is to consider and vote on resolutions that come before it; those resolutions become the policy of the organization.  To that end, individuals interested in submitting resolutions should send them to NFBMD Resolutions Chairperson Chris Danielsen by email at by October 15, 2022.


Seeking Convention Sponsors and Exhibitors

We are seeking sponsors for our 2022 NFB of Maryland State Convention.  There are various levels of sponsorship, and the various levels include different benefits.  Entities and individuals interested in serving as an NFBMD Convention sponsor should contact me at or Jen White at to request additional information.  Sponsorship forms and additional information may also be found at


We are also seeking exhibitors for our Friday Exhibit Hall.  Individuals and entities interested in exhibiting should also contact me at or Jen White at to request additional information.  Exhibitor forms are available for download at


The sponsorship and exhibitor deadlines are September 15, 2022.


Pay Your 2022 Dues As Soon As Possible!!

In light of the pandemic and the reduction of in-person chapter meetings, NFBMD maintains an online portal for individuals to pay their chapter and division dues.  We are asking members to pay their 2022 dues as soon as possible so we can ensure that our rolls are accurate for the annual national membership data call and so individuals can vote at our State convention. 


Individuals may use NFBMD’s Dues Portal to pay their 2022 annual dues, and/or lifetime membership dues for those chapters that have lifetime membership.  The portal lists all NFBMD chapters and divisions and their dues amounts.  Individuals may pay for as many chapters and divisions as they wish.  The portal is located at  Alternatively, individuals may mail a check to their chapter or division treasurer.


Update to NFBMD Policy on In-Person Gatherings

As the affiliate, chapters, and divisions resume and/or increase in-person activities such as fundraisers, chapter meetings, and seminars, please remember that the NFB of Maryland Board of Directors adopted a Policy on In-Person Gatherings, which is applicable to all events and activities.  The Board last updated this policy on August 27, 2022.  You can review the policy by visiting:


Seeking Members to Join the NFB of Maryland Performing Arts Group

The NFB of Maryland is forming a Performing Arts Group, where members interested in various aspects of performing, music, dance, acting, and related interests may come together to engage, explore, and share.  To join this group, please contact Chris Danielsen at



Mark Your Calendar for a Strategic Survey

The National Federation of the Blind is working on our strategic planning for the organization. An important survey to gather data will be launched from September 19 through 25. This is a short window, but the data is valuable to the process. We want to hear from you. Thank you for helping with this process. Mark your calendar to be on the watch for the survey during that time.


Membership Efforts

One key priority in 2022 is for NFBMD to conduct a robust membership building effort.  This is based on the needs and desires of several chapters within Maryland.  The Board of Directors voted in January to reorganize the Baltimore County Chapter; in addition, the Western Maryland Chapter reorganized in mid-2021 and is working to expand its size and presence.  The Eastern Shore Chapter has determined that it too needs to expand its prominence, size, and presence.  The Greater Baltimore Chapter has determined there are many blind and low vision people in the local area to whom it wishes to reach out.  The TLC Chapter has decided it too is committed to continuing to grow.  Every chapter and division in Maryland expressed a desire and commitment to recruiting, developing, and retaining members.


As a result, our Membership Committee, led by Dezman Jackson, will be working on various membership initiatives in 2022, including a membership fair in the Baltimore area in October 2022.  We need your help!  If you know of blind and low vision Marylanders who are not yet members of the Federation, please introduce them to their local chapter.  Please share ideas with Dezman and me as to how we can connect with people who are not yet members or how to reconnect with those whose membership has lapsed.  Please invite those individuals to share with you, with Dezman, and with me, what they would want to get from membership in the Federation and any barriers to joining.  Please let Dezman and me know if you are interested in supporting the Membership Committee with recruitment and retention initiatives.  Membership building is truly the responsibility of each of us, and we need your help!


NFB and NFBMD Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

NFBMD is actively working to expand our knowledge of and emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.  These initiatives also include those related to sexual harassment and misconduct, consent, boundaries, and power dynamics.  It is our intent that NFB of Maryland activities, events, and programs be safe and welcoming to all, and to that end we are devoting resources and time to increase our awareness and enhance our strategies on DEI.  Qualik Ford and Juhi Narula co-chair this committee.  We encourage those interested in joining the committee to reach out to me at


The Committee provides state-wide guidance and support to chapters and the affiliate on DEI.  One goal for 2022 is to increase the presence of DEI in our activities and to hold more DEI-focused activities.  The Committee has and will continue to share informational communications on certain topics and observances to promote DEI but needs assistance in this area from those with lived experience and/or expertise.  One particular highlight was a day-long training for all elected affiliate, chapter, and division board members, the DEI committee, the scholarship committee, the membership committee, and those working with children.  This training occurred on March 5, 2022 and featured an introduction to diversity, equity, and inclusion; recognizing and minimizing micro-aggressions; and understanding and combatting implicit bias. 


If you have questions about these initiatives or have suggestions for how we can best incorporate DEI into our programs, please don’t hesitate to contact me at or at 443-426-4110.


As President Riccobono announced during the September Presidential Release, the National Federation of the Blind has launched our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion webpage dedicated to sharing resources, presentations, and publications, including our five-year diversity calendar that is meant to create awareness for planning. Access this page at


Free COVID-19 Tests Update

While the government program that has provided free standard COVID-19 tests was suspended on September 2, USPS is still distributing the free, more accessible COVID-19 at-home tests while supplies last.

You can place an order online or by calling 1-800-232-0233. Additional information and updates are available at


NFBMD Advocacy Skills Training Sessions

Would you like to brush up on  your advocacy skills for yourself and others? Save the dates: September 17  and October 1.  We will explore a different advocacy issue each of these days.  The trainings will take place on these Saturday afternoons, from 1:30 to 5:00, over zoom. 


September 17: Practicing IEP Skills

In this workshop, we will practice some of the skills that we learned at the May 21 workshop. Through role playing, we will create opportunities to make a better IEP.


October 1: The Top Social Security Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

In this workshop, we will talk about Social Security pitfalls and the opportunities and benefits that Social Security provides.


All workshops are from 1:30 to 5 PM. Please register for the specific sessions you plan to attend by sending an email to


Important Upcoming Dates

  • September 15, 2022 – Deadline to Submit Financial Assistance Application for NFBMD State Convention
  • September 15, 2022 – Deadline to reserve Exhibit Table for NFBMD State Convention
  • September 17, 2022 - Advocacy Seminar Part 4, Virtual
  • October 1 – 31, 2022 – Blind Equality Achievement Month
  • October 15, 2022 – Deadline to make hotel reservations for the NFBMD 2022 State Convention
  • October 15, 2022 – Deadline to pre-register for the 2022 NFBMD State Convention
  • October 15, 2022 – Deadline to submit resolutions for the 2022 NFBMD State Convention
  • November 11 – 13, 2022 – NFBMD Annual Convention, Towson, Maryland
  • January 26, 2023 – NFBMD Day in Annapolis, Annapolis, Maryland
  • January 30, 2023 – Great Gathering In, Washington, DC
  • July 1 – 6, 2023 – NFB National Convention, Houston, Texas
  • December 3 – 10, 2023 – NFBMD Blind Cruising 2023, Bahamas