June 2023 Minute Message


Fellow Federationists:


We are literally hours away from the NFB 2023 national convention.  It will be wonderful to be with you all on Zoom and in person as we gather to define the future of the organized blind.  This month’s newsletter has plenty of information about Convention and about some of our other upcoming initiatives.  Read on for all the important news.



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 all rooms at the main hotel and overflow hotel are sold out.  You may find available rooms at some additional nearby hotels listed on https://nfb.org/convention.  Preregistration for the convention closed May 31, 2023, but on-site registration will be available beginning July 1.  There is also a virtual convention experience, for which registration is free.  To register for the virtual experience, go to https://nfb.org/convention


We can’t wait to see you in Houston!


NFBMD Caucus– July 2, 2023 8PM Central

We will be holding the Maryland Caucus in person during the NFB National Convention, and it promises to be action-packed.  Come to meet the NFBMD State Scholarship winners, our National scholarship winners, discuss the resolutions that will come before the convention, and so much more!  This is a very important event, so please plan to attend.


We will meet from 8 – 10PM on Sunday, July 2, 2023 in Room 335A. 


We are going to try to have a virtual option, but since we have little control over technology and the Internet in Houston, we’ll do our best but no promises.  Here’s the information for those wishing to attend virtually, but remember this meeting is in the Central Time Zone.


Click this link to join: https://zoom.us/j/6248138327?pwd=eTZlYUgwR3ZQVVl1dXBLSHcrbml1QT09 


Meeting ID: 624 813 8327

One tap mobile



Support NFBMD By Donating and Then Getting Stuff

We will be accepting donations in Houston at our affiliate table at the Exhibit Hall, and members of the affiliate may also be on hand to receive donations to NFBMD.  In appreciation for donations at a certain level, we will offer in appreciation a particular item.  You can donate at various levels and can combine levels to get more tokens of appreciation.  Here’s what our menu looks like:

  • In appreciation for a donation of $ or more1, you can get a snack or the equivalent of one snack for each $1 donation.
  • In appreciation for a donation of $5, you can get a fidget spinner or pop-it ball.
  • In appreciation for a donation of $10, you can receive an entire back of assorted snacks.
  • In appreciation for a donation of $20, you can receive a clear backpack with the NFB of Maryland logo on it.  This stadium-approved bag is fun and practical, and it even has an outside pocket for your other stuff.
  • In appreciation for a donation of $40, you can get your very own set of NFB of Maryland Scrubs, complete with the Maryland crab and NFBMD logo on them.


We’ll also have available the Sorry Try Again raffle, where you can, for a dollar per try, win instantly $1, $5, $10, $20, or some delicious mints.


Speaking of Donations: Help Us Out With a Zell Donation!

NFB of Maryland is proud to share that we can now accept Zell payments for purchases and donations.  We encourage donations during the next few months in particular, as we have significant programming we need to fund with our NFB BELL Academies and John T. McCraw Scholarship Program, among many other important initiatives.


To send a payment via Zell, just use the email address President@nfbmd.org.  Please notate what the payment is for, e.g. general donation, crab feast ticket, etc. in the notes section.  If using your bank mobile application or online banking, NFB of Maryland will appear when you enter the email address.  If using the Zell application, please select “personal banking” instead of “corporate banking” for the Zell information for NFBMD to appear in connection with the email address President@nfbmd.org.


If you have questions, please contact me at 443-426-4110 or at President@nfbmd.org.



2023 State Convention Theme Contest

Each year, we choose a State Convention theme that is representative of our hope, priorities, or expectations for the convention and what comes after.  Recent themes have included: “Celebrating our Stories, Defining our Future,” “Rise Up,” “Focus Forward,” and “Reconnect, Reimagine, Reignite.”


We use the theme to inform the opening ceremonies, tie together the presidential report, and hold seminars and other activities. 


If you have a suggested theme, please call, text, or email it to me by June 30, 2023.  The person whose theme is chosen will get a free banquet ticket for the 2023 state convention.


Please email me at President@nfbmd.org, text me at 443-426-4110, or call me at that number.  Please be sure to tell me in your email, texts, or voicemail who you are.


The BELLs Toll Once Again in Maryland! 

The NFB BELL Academy provides children with Braille and nonvisual skills instruction through fun, hands-on learning activities.  The NFB BELL Academy—which stands for National Federation of the Blind Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning®—is a nationwide summer program that prepares blind and low-vision children to grow into confident and independent blind people who live the lives they want.  Activities at NFB Maryland BELL are provided in a day program. In addition to Braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital independent living skills, interact with blind adult mentors, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum. Through these activities and interactions, the children learn that blindness or low vision does not define them or their future.


The NFB BELL Academy is appropriate for blind and low vision children ages four through twelve who:

  • Do not receive enough Braille and nonvisual skills instruction in school
  • Could benefit from more Braille exposure over the summer
  • Would enjoy connecting with blind role models


The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland is offering a two-week in person NFB BELL Academy session in Baltimore, Maryland, From August 7, 2023 – August 18, 2023.  We are also offering, with the support of the Maryland School for the Blind Outreach Department, NFB BELL Academy Southern Maryland, a one-week in-person session, in St. Mary’s County from July 17 – 21, 2023.  We are also holding NFB BELLX, in partnership with Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, in Salisbury, from August 7 – 11, 2023 for older kids.  The National Federation of the Blind is also offering one three-week virtual program of the NFB BELL Academy In-Home Edition July 24 through August 11, 2023, for which options are available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. Space is limited. 


To register for NFB BELL Academy In Person in Baltimore, NFB BELL Academy in person in St. Mary’s County, NFB BELLX in Salisbury, or NFB BELL In Home Edition, visit: https://nfb.org/programs-services/nfb-bell-academy.  For questions, contact NFB of Maryland NFB BELL Academy Coordinator Brittany Bomboy at 757-969-3724 or by email at Bnbomboy@gmail.com.


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: Friday, September 15, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Where: Rosedale Gardens – 8037Philadelphia Road - Baltimore, MD 21237

Tickets are $70 each if purchased before August 31, or $75 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, fried chicken, beef Bar B Que – All You Can Eat!
Plus a Buffet of Entrees Including Maryland-style crab soup, corn-on-the-cob, other sides, salad, fruit, 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



Update to NFBMD Policy on In-Person Gatherings

The NFB of Maryland Board of Directors voted on June 10, 2023 to suspend the In-Person Events Policy in light of the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and lack of Federal and state tracking mechanisms as a result.  Should there be another public health emergency in the future, we will review, update, and if appropriate, reinstate this policy.


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. 


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.  One dollar will be added to chapter and division annual dues amounts for processing those dues payments online.  The portal is located at http://nfbmd.org/dues.  Alternatively, individuals may mail a check to their chapter or division treasurer.


NFBMD Advocacy Skills Training Session: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Social Security

The Advocacy Committee will present its first offering for 2023 on July 29 called "Avoiding the Pitfalls of Social Security".  We will explore common mistakes made by people when applying for benefits, keeping track of SSI and SSDI regulations, and what you do when you get a letter from Social Security about the dreaded overpayment.  At the end of the afternoon you will be able to help someone with the basics of Social Security or tell them where to go for help.  To sign up for this session, please email Sharon Maneki at NFBMDSM@gmail.com.


Seeking Blind Veterans

Do you have all of your benefits?  Are you aware of the PACT Act? Do you need support as a blind  or low vision veteran? Would you find value in speaking to other blind and low vision veterans?  We’re starting an NFB of Maryland group to help us help one another to live the lives we want.  We will have zoom calls and hopefully in person meetings to bring us together  for assistance and camaraderie.  If you are interested, please send your contact information to Guy Kelly, Central MD Chapter at G4keeps@gmail.com or 202-286-2610. Like a Swiss Army knife, we reveal our capabilities when we open up.


Important Upcoming Dates

  • July 1 – 6, 2023 – NFB National Convention, Houston, Texas
  • July 2, 2023 – Maryland Caucus, Houston, Texas and Zoom
  • July 17 – 21, 2023 – In Person NFB BELL Academy, Leonardtown, Maryland
  • July 25– August 11, 2023 –NFB BELL Academy In Home Edition, Anywhere and Everywhere
  • August 7 – 18, 2023 – In Person NFB BELL Academy, Baltimore, Maryland
  • August 7 – 11, 2023 – In Person NFB BELLX Academy, Salisbury, Maryland
  • September 15, 2023 – NFBMD Crab Feast, Rosedale, Maryland
  • October 1 – 31, 2023 – Blind Equality Achievement Month
  • October 6 – 8, 2023 – Wizarding Weekend on Magical Main Festival, Ellicott City, Maryland
  • October 21, 2023 – NFB Greater Baltimore Chapter Meet the Blind Month Activity: Baltimore Running Festival Water Station, Baltimore, Maryland
  • November 10 – 12, 2023 – NFBMD Annual Convention, Hunt Valley, Maryland
  • December 3 – 10, 2023 – NFBMD Blind Cruising 2023, Bahamas
  • January 18, 2024 – NFBMD Day in Annapolis, Annapolis, Maryland
  • January 29 – February 1, 2024 – Washington Seminar, Washington, DC