December 2022 Minute Message


Fellow Federationists:


As 2022 comes to a close, we are reflecting on our incredible accomplishments this year while simultaneously looking forward to all we will do in 2023 and beyond to help blind Marylanders live the lives they want.  We held a wildly successful State Convention in November, we reconstituted the Baltimore County Chapter, we welcomed dozens and dozens of new members, we revamped and expanded our state scholarship program, we launched many committees and groups that are doing great work in the community like the Guide Dog, Advocacy, and so many other committees and groups, we implemented training and significant work on DEI and advocacy, we resumed many in person activities such as chapter meetings, the Crab Feast, the NFB BELL Academy in Maryland, and we brought hundreds to the NFB National Convention in New Orleans.  We did so much more at the state, local, and national level. 


I’m so proud to be part of this movement, and I can’t wait to see all the amazing things we will accomplish in 2023.  Read on for information about our activities in Maryland and what is upcoming.


Thank You for Being the Fire!

Thank you to each of you who attended the 56th annual NFB of Maryland State Convention.  Together, we were able to “Reconnect, Reimagine, Reignite.”  I am immensely grateful to each of you who played a role, from running a workshop or seminar, to coordinating the Exhibit Hall and soliciting sponsors, to providing door prizes and auction items, to running sound and streaming, to speaking to the convention, to working childcare, to engaging social media, to staffing the PAC and Registration Tables, to managing door prizes and the auctions, to baking for the Fire Sale, to selling, buying, and delivering Love Notes, to selling candy, nuts, cell phone carriers, and more, to participating in Dinner and a Play and Crab Idol, and on and on and on.  you can see, it takes a myriad of people to put on a convention, especially one as big and energetic as ours.  Please visit our website,, to find the 2022 resolutions and some key highlights such as our Narrowing the Gap Teacher panel, a welcome message from U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer, a panel on the arts, history, and culture, the celebration of several anniversaries, our employment panel, a panel from members who went blind later in life, a talk on therapeutic horseback riding, our NFB BELL Academy presentation, the Presidential Report, the Kenneth Jernigan Award, and many other important moments you’ll want to revisit. 


2023 Advocacy in Annapolis Begins!

The 2023 session of the Maryland General Assembly will begin on January 10, and we have been working hard to prepare for our NFBMD Virtual Week in Annapolis, which will take place from January 19 through 26, 2023 via Zoom.  We will meet with all 188 Delegates and Senators early in the session in order to maximize the time we have to push our issues through both chambers. 


We will specifically have meetings on January 19, 24, 25, and 26.  We have broken down the 188 appointments by geographic area, and so we do need volunteers to participate in those virtual meetings.  We’d like people to attend the meetings for their particular district (and we’ll try to make that happen) and also the general geographic area surrounding their district.  But there are also districts with few NFBMD constituents, so we are also looking for folks who can attend any district meetings on any day.  Meanwhile, if you are available to participate in any of the days January 19, 24, 25, or 26 for our NFBMD 2023 Week in Annapolis, please let Sharon Maneki and me know.  You can email us at  and or call us at 410-715-9596 or 443-426-4110.  Please let us know by the end of the day Friday, January 13, 2023 if you can participate.  Be sure to tell us your name, how we can best reach you (email is preferred but not required) to share Zoom information, your state legislative district, if you know it, and your county.


We have tried to organize constituent meetings by geographic location

Thursday, January 19 – Ann Arundel, Howard, Carrol, and Frederick Counties

Tuesday, January 24– Western Maryland, Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland (Tri-county area), and Harford County

Wednesday, January 25 – Baltimore City and Baltimore County

Thursday, January 26 – Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties


We are also in need of folks who are comfortable hosting Zoom meetings.  If you are able to perform the duties of a Zoom host, please contact me to let me know what days you are available.  You do not need to provide a Zoom account for us to use to be a host.  Please email me at by Friday, January 13, 2023.


We will also be holding meetings to prepare for the Week in Annapolis and go over the issues, teams, and assignments.  Team Leads will attend a separate meeting in addition to the issues meetings.  The two issues meetings will take place at 7:30PM on Monday, January 16, 2023 and at 7:30PM on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.  All those who plan to participate in the Week in Annapolis should plan to attend at least one of the issues meetings.  To access these meetings Join Zoom Meeting.


The three issues are:

  • Implementing an electronic ballot return system for voting
  • Expanding housing protections to include retired guide dogs
  • Ensuring funding in the budget for the Center for Excellence in Non-visual Access


The fact sheets will be available at in early January.


Washington Seminar Is Coming!

On January 30, Maryland will join Federationists in person from throughout the country to let Congress know about the priorities for blind Americans. The three issues that we will discuss are:

  • Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act
  • Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act
  • Blind Americans Return to Work Act

You may read the Washington Seminar fact sheets by visiting or via Newsline.  The Great Gathering In will take place at 5:00PM on Monday, January 30, 2023 at the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel.  Maryland will be visiting our Congressional Delegation on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 in person on the Hill.  If you would like to attend  Congressional appointments, please let me know by January 16, 2023 by emailing or by calling 443-426-4110.


Get ready for Houston in 2023!

The NFB 2023 National Convention will take place from July 1 – 6, 2023 in Houston, Texas.  The convention will take place at the Hilton Americas – Houston Hotel, and you may make your reservation by calling 1-800-236-2905.  The overflow hotel is the Marriott Marquis Houston.  To reserve a room at the overflow hotel, call 1-877-622-3056. The rooming rate is $119 per night plus tax at both hotels.  Preregistration for the convention will open on March 1 and will close May 31, 2023. 


First time national convention attendees may apply for the Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship, which is a grant the NFB provides to people who have not attended a national convention in person previously.  The deadline is April 15, 2023.  Visit this link for more information on how to apply.


Those from Maryland who are seeking financial assistance should speak with their chapter president to find out what assistance their local chapter may have available.  The affiliate’s Financial Assistance Application Form will go live in January and must be submitted by March 31, 2023.  Please note that though the Financial Assistance Committee will give due consideration to every application, the affiliate has limited resources and is unable to grant every request.  Priority will be given to those who have not attended a national convention in the past.  For questions about the Financial Assistance Application Program, please reach out to your chapter president or me at


Basket and Bag Bingo is Coming!

Would you like to win over $4,000 in prizes? Would you like to play 23 games of BINGO? Snacks and raffles will also be available. Join us at NFBMD Basket and Bag Bingo on March 10, 2023 in Catonsville.  Buy your tickets early because we always sell out.

We are busy arranging and filling baskets and procuring bags (purses). We need financial contributions to help with these purchases. Please let us know whether you would like to sponsor a basket or bag for $100. All contributions of any amount are welcome.  You may also purchase your ticket for $25.  Please purchase your ticket online at For questions or to purchase your ticket via check, contact Sharon Maneki at


do You Feel Lucky?

The NFBMD spring raffle is beginning. During the month of May, you have the opportunity to win $50 Sunday through Friday, or $100 on Saturday. Purchase a 3-digit number raffle ticket for $5. You will be the only one who has this number. Tickets are available from chapter presidents and affiliate Board Members.  Help us sell all 1,000 tickets!  To reserve a specific number, contact Melissa Riccobono at on or before January 13, 2023.


Update to NFBMD Policy on In-Person Gatherings

On December 27, 2022, the NFB of Maryland Board of Directors adopted changes to the Policy on In-Person Gatherings, which is applicable to all events and activities.  You can review the updated policy by visiting:


Remember to Pay Your 2023 Dues!

NFBMD maintains an online portal for individuals to pay their chapter and division dues.  We are asking members to pay their 2023 dues as soon as possible so we can ensure that our rolls are accurate for the annual national membership data call.  We are asking individuals to pay their 2023 dues by January 31, 2023.


Individuals may use NFBMD’s Dues Portal to pay their 2023 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.


Reorganization of the Baltimore County Chapter

On November 12, 2022, the NFB of Maryland Baltimore County Chapter was officially reorganized, including ratifying a new constitution, electing a new Board of Directors, and setting dues for the coming year.  Congratulations to President Dezman Jackson, Vice President Latonya Phipps, Secretary Page Trammel, Treasurer David Reichert, and Board Members Millie Rivera, Laura Shroyer, and Sabrina Richardson.  The chapter covers the western part of Baltimore City, west and northwest Baltimore County, and the eastern part of Howard county.  The chapter meets at 5PM the second Wednesday of each month at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland in Baltimore and via Zoom.  The December meeting had over 30 people in attendance.  Those wishing to join the Baltimore County listserve should visit:  Congratulations to the Baltimore County Chapter.


NFB and NFBMD Scholarship Programs

The National Federation of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland each administer a separate scholarship program for post-secondary students.  The deadline to apply for an NFB scholarship is March 31, 2023, and the deadline to apply for an NFBMD Scholarship is April 15, 2023.


National Scholarship Program: Each year, the NFB awards 30 merit-based scholarships totaling $240,000. 

  • Each scholarship recipient will receive $8,000 and additional prizes.
  • Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, leadership, and community service.
  • The 30 scholarship finalists are announced in the spring and attend the NFB National Convention, where they are mentored by blind role models.
  • Application materials must be submitted (online or postmarked) by 11:59PM on March 31, 2023.
  • To be eligible, applicants must:
    • Be legally blind in both eyes;
    • Reside in the United States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico;
    • Be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time, post-secondary course of study in a degree program at a U.S. institution in the Fall of 2023 (one scholarship may be awarded to an individual who works full-time and attends school part-time);
    • Be age 18 before July 1, 2023; and
    • Attend the entire National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind (and all scholarship activities) in Houston, Texas from July 1 through 6, 2023 (scholarship finalists will receive convention grants).
  • To apply, submit an application using the online application system at; or


State Scholarship Program: The NFB of Maryland will award up to four scholarships of $4,000 each as part of the John T. McCraw Scholarship Program. NFBMD may award a scholarship to a former McCraw scholarship recipient. 

  • Scholarships are merit-based and awarded based on academic achievement, community involvement, and leadership.
  • Application materials must be submitted (online or postmarked) by 11:59PM on April 15, 2023.
  • To be eligible, applicants must:
    • Be legally blind in both eyes;
    • reside in Maryland or be pursuing post-secondary studies at a school in Maryland;
    • be age 18 prior to July 1, 2023;
    • Be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time or part-time, post-secondary course of study in a degree program in the Fall of 2023 and Spring of 2024 (priority will be given to full-time students); and
    • Attend the entire National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Houston, Texas from July 1 through 6, 2023 and the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland in Hunt Valley, Maryland from November 10 – 12, 2023 (scholarship finalists will receive convention grants).
  • To apply:

Download, complete, and email or mail in a hard copy application form by visiting:


NFBMD Committees: Are You Interested?

I am beginning to appoint 2023 committee appointments for the NFB of Maryland, and Groups are also continuing their work.  If you are interested in being appointed to a particular committee, please send me an email with the name of the committee or committees for which you are interested.  I can’t promise everyone will be appointed to the committees they request, but it is very helpful to know where people are interested in contributing most.  Please send your interest email to me at by January 15, 2023.  In addition, if you are interested in joining a particular group, please reach out directly to the chair of that group. 


If there are committees that you think should be added, please also let me know.


Below is a list of the 2023 committees and groups as they currently stand.  The individuals listed below have been asked to chair these committees or groups, but this may change slightly when final appointments are sent out.


Advocacy Committee

Sharon Maneki, chairperson

Advocates with employers, schools, Vocational Rehabilitation entities, and other public or private agencies for blind residents of Maryland


Ambassadors Committee

Judy Rasmussen and Debbie Brown, co-chairpersons

responsible for orienting first-time attendees to state and national Convention and mentoring first-timers at those events


Audit Committee

Mary Ellen Jernigan and Justin Young, Co-chairpersons

responsible for auditing financial accounts and spending for the affiliate, local chapters, and divisions


BELL Committee

Brittany Bomboy, chairperson

plans and administers the Maryland Bell program and incorporating Bell into NFBMD conventions and seminars


Braille Spectator Committee

Ronza Othman and Sharon Maneki, editors

Responsible for sourcing and creating content, assembling, editing, formatting, and disseminating the semi-annual magazine of the NFB of Maryland


Deaf-Blind and Hearing Loss Issues Committee

Janice Toothman and Heather Guy, Co-chairpersons

works on issues of concern and interest to the deaf-blind of Maryland


Development and Fundraising Committee

Jenivieve White and Ellen Ringlein, Co-chairpersons

coordinates long-term and short-term fundraising initiatives including: preparing and submitting grant proposals; sending out annual appeal letters;  working with estate attorneys; administering Spring and Fall raffles; marketing Amazon smile; planning Basket Bingo, Crab Feast, and other fundraisers


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Qualik Ford and Juhi Narula, co-chairpersons

Provides leadership and guidance to the affiliate and chapters and divisions on matters related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 


Employment Committee

Pam Goodman and Jannis Forbes, co-chairpersons

Provides guidance and support related to strategies for increasing the employment of Maryland’s blind.


Guide Dog Issues Committee

Sherri Shirek, chairperson

works on issues of concern and interest to guide dog users in Maryland


Legislation Committee

Sharon Maneki, chairperson

responsible for State and Federal legislative action and educating elected officials on issues of importance to the blind of Maryland


Membership Committee

Dezman Jackson, chairperson

responsible for helping chapters and divisions with recruitment, retention, and development of members


PAC Plan Committee

John Paré and Ann-Marie Laney, co-chairpersons

Coordinate the Maryland Pre-Authorized Check (PAC) efforts.


Public Relations Committee

Chris Danielsen, chairperson

responsible for marketing NFBMD programs and initiatives


Resolutions Committee

Chris Danielsen, chairperson

responsible for recommending (or not) that resolutions submitted by members be brought to the NFBMD Convention floor


Scholarship Committee

Mildred Rivera, chairperson

responsible for administering the John T. McCraw Scholarship Program, including mentoring candidates at national and state conventions and beyond


Sharon Maneki Youth Empowerment Grant Committee

Sharon Maneki, chairperson

responsible for reviewing and approving (or not) grant applications for youth to attend blindness programs and training or to receive technology


Social Media Committee

Karen Anderson, chairperson

responsible for NFBMD’s social media presence, communication, and outreach using forums like Twitter and Facebook


Spanish Services Committee

Teresa Graham, chairperson

responsible for coordinating programming, outreach, and language interpretation for Spanish speakers


Sports and Recreation Committee

Qualik Ford and Lou Ann Blake, co-chairpersons

responsible for coordinating sports and rec activities for the affiliate.


Transportation  Committee

Cheryl Fogle-Hatch and Aloma Bouma, co-chairpersons

responsible for coordinating transportation-related advocacy and working to improve the state of public transportation in Maryland


Website and Technology Committee

John Berggren, chairperson

responsible for content and formatting, NFBMD databases, AV/IT at conventions, seminars, and other events, and other technology necessary for the operations of the NFB of Maryland


Youth Activity Committee

Brittany Bomboy, chairperson

responsible for engaging youth and planning youth-focused programs


Convention-Related Committees

Anna Freysz Cable Award Committee

Debbie Brown, chairperson

administers award program for an adult who has demonstrated exceptional effort in learning blindness skills, which is given at the NFBMD Convention


Convention Child Care Committee

Brittany Bomboy, chairperson

coordinates childcare at the NFBMD Convention


Convention Organization and Activities

Justin Young, chairperson

coordinates the NFBMD Convention, including planning and logistics


Convention Registration Committee

Marie Marucci, chairperson

Coordinates and oversees convention registration.


Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award Committee

Teresa Graham, chairperson

administers award to an exceptional teacher of the blind in Maryland; awarded at the NFBMD Convention


Door Prize Committee

Juhi Narula and Qualik Ford, co-chairpersons

coordinates and runs NFBMD Convention door prize activities


Gold Cup Crab Race Committee

Juhi Narula and Jen White, co-chairpersons

Administers Gold Crab Race Fundraiser at state convention


Jennifer Baker Award Committee

Melissa Riccobono, chairperson

administers award program for a child who has overcome significant challenges to learn blindness skills; administered at the NFBMD Convention


Kenneth Jernigan Award Committee

Mary Ellen Jernigan, chairperson

administers award program for a Federationist who has demonstrated exceptional and sustained service and commitment to the NFB of Maryland; awarded at the NFBMD Convention


National Funding Support Auction Committee

Michael Bullis, chairperson

Administers the NFB of Maryland Bake and Experience Auction at the state convention.


Nominating Committee

TBD, chairperson

responsible for recommending to the NFBMD Convention individuals for open Board seats


 NFBMD Groups

Blind Parents Group

Faith Waybright, chairperson


Crafters Group

Danielle McCann and Karen Anderson, co-chairpersons


Diabetes Action Network Group

Eileen Ley, chairperson


Performing Arts Group

Chris Danielsen, chairperson


Sighted Significant Others and Loved Ones Group

Jen White and David Waybright, co-chairpersons


Veterans Group

Ed Jackson, chairperson



Important Upcoming Dates

  • January 13, 2023 – Deadline to reserve Spring Raffle specific numbers
  • January 13 – 14, 2023 – NFBMD Leadership Seminar (by invitation), Baltimore, Maryland
  • January 19 - 26, 2023 – NFBMD Virtual Week in Annapolis, Anywhere and Everywhere
  • January 30, 2023 – Great Gathering In, Washington, DC
  • January 31, 2023 – NFBMD Day on the Hill, Washington, DC
  • March 1, 2023 – Preregistration opens for NFB National Convention
  • March 10, 2023 – Basket Bingo, Catonsville, Maryland
  • March 31, 2023 – Deadline for National Scholarship Applications.
  • March 31, 2023 – Deadline for applications for NFBMD Financial Assistance for National Convention
  • April 15, 2023 – Deadline for NFBMD Scholarship Applications.
  • April 15, 2023 – Deadline for Jernigan Fund applications for National Convention
  • May 31, 2023 – Deadline to Preregister for NFB Annual Convention, Houston, Texas
  • July 1 – 6, 2023 – NFB National Convention, Houston, Texas
  • Summer 2023 (date TBD) – In Person NFB BELL Academy, Baltimore, Maryland
  • August 4, 2023 – NFBMD Crab Feast, Parkville, Maryland
  • October 1 – 31, 2023 – Blind Equality Achievement Month
  • November 10 – 12, 2023 – NFBMD Annual Convention, Hunt Valley, Maryland
  • December 3 – 10, 2023 – NFBMD Blind Cruising 2023, Bahamas