September 2022 Minute Message

Fellow Federationists:


As summer comes to a close, we remain as busy as ever helping blind people live the lives we want.  As the school year begins, we have been working hard to ensure that students have access to information, materials, and the curriculum.  We have scaled up in person activities such as park outings, fundraisers, and gatherings where we can ensure safety and inclusion.  We are commemorating Blind Equality Achievement Month (rebranded from Meet the Blind Month) with a bang with our annual Wizarding World on Main in Old Ellicott City, and we have other fun and engaging activities planned throughout the state such as volunteering at the Baltimore Running Festival, the annual Lake Walk in Columbia, and many other activities.  We have a number of events planned to commemorate White Cane Awareness Day and to receive proclamations to honor this day.  And of course, we are preparing for our annual convention.  These are just a few of the things we’ve been up to in the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland.  Read on for important information and announcements.


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.  Pre-registration closes October 15, 2022.  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 = $30 per day and on sliding scale based on need


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 Door Prize Donations

We are seeking donations of door prizes to give away at the NFB of Maryland Annual Convention.  Door prizes should have a cash value of a minimum of $25 each.  For questions, please contact Door Prize Co-chairs Qualik Ford at and Juhi Narula at  Please bring door prizes to the convention.


Seeking Donations for the NFBMD Bake and Experience Auction!

We are seeking donations of baked goods and experiences for the NFBMD auction.  Some examples of experiences include taking the winner to dinner, giving cooking lessons, musical or show tickets, etc.  We are asking for donation commitments prior to October 31, 2022.  Please notify Convention Logistics Co-chair Justin Young of your donation via email at


Seeking Nominations for the NFBMD Distinguished Educator of Blind Students Award!

The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland is seeking nominations for the 2022 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award. Please tell us how your child’s teacher, administrator, or school counselor works to help their students live the life they want with high expectations and strong skill development. Nominations should be sent to Committee Chairperson Teresa Graham at To download the nomination form and for more information, visit  For assistance completing the form or for questions, please call Teresa Graham at 443-557-8696. The award will be presented at the NFB of Maryland state convention Banquet on November 12, 2022.  Nominations are due by October 8, 2022. 


Hamilton Donation Drive!!

The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland is conducting a Hamilton, the Musical, Donation Drive with support from the Hippodrome Theater and its audio description firm. In appreciation for your financial support, we will enter contributors in this program into a drawing for a pair of tickets to the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore to see the hit musical, Hamilton on Sunday, October 23, 2022.


 The show is audio described, and we are grateful to the audio description firm for donating these tickets to NFBMD for use as a fundraiser.


 For every $10, the contributor will get one chance to win. For example, if an individual donates $20, they will be entered into the drawing two times.


 We will draw on October 16, 2022 for these tickets. 


 Here are the rules:

- Contributions will be taken until October 15, 2022 as part of this initiative.

- For each $10 donated, the individual's name will be entered into the drawing. That means the more the individual donates, the greater their chance of winning.

- We will draw on October 16, 2022 one name from those who have contributed at least $10 during the campaign. That individual will receive 2 tickets to the October 23 matinee show. 

- Tickets are nonrefundable and nonexchangeable.


To make a donation as part of this drive, please either:

Use the Paypal button located at


Contact Ronza Othman directly to arrange for in-person payment at or at 443-426-4110.


2022 Fall Donation Drive!!

The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland is holding a Fall donation drive to support our work.  From December 3 to 10, 2023, NFBMD will be hosting Blind Cruising 2023, which is a 7-night cruise on the Carnival Legend to the Eastern Caribbean.  Individuals may book passage directly with our travel agent, with a portion of cabin costs going to NFBMD. Those interested may find information at


Additionally, we will hold a cruise drawing at the NFBMD Convention Banquet on November 12, 2022. The winner will receive a balcony cabin for two on the Carnival Legend for the sailing scheduled to depart Baltimore from December 3 - 10, 2023, which is the sailing where Blind Cruising 2023 will take place.  Individuals do not need to be present to win.


The rules for the drawing are as follows:

1. For each $20 donated, the donor will receive one chance. For example, if the donor contributes $100, that equates to 5 chances.

2. The donor must expressly state that they wish to have their name placed in the cruise drawing.

3. Donations must be made separately from any door prize contributions, convention registration donations, or theater/Hamilton donations.

4. Donations must be received on or before November 5, 2022.


Individuals may make donations using the PayPal button located at

or by mailing checks to:

National Federation of the Blind of Maryland

2022 Fall Donation Drive

1800 Johnson Street, Suite N1

Baltimore, MD 21230


Pay Your 2022 Dues As Soon As Possible!!

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.


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


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 on October 14, 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 and to Dezman Jackson.  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


Important Upcoming Dates

  • October 1 – 31, 2022 – Blind Equality Achievement Month
  • October 8, 2022 – Deadline to submit nominations for 2022 Distinguished Educator of Blind Students Award
  • October 15, 2022 – Deadline to make donations for Hamilton drawing
  • 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
  • October 15, 2022 – White Cane Awareness Day
  • November 1, 2022 – Deadline to commit to contribute items for NFBMD Bake and Experience Auction
  • November 5, 2022 – Deadline to make donations for Fall Donation Drive to include drawing for free cruise
  • 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