May Minute Message From The Movement

Fellow Federationists,

Congratulations to us and to our community partners!  On May 12, Gov. Hogan signed into law HB535, Orientation and Mobility Instruction for Blind and Visually Impaired Children.  Although it will take some time, we look forward to more opportunity for Blind and visually impaired children throughout the state to obtain the Orientation and Mobility instruction that they need.  This law is unique because it establishes a presumption that all vision students should have Orientation and Mobility instruction.  It is similar to the Braille presumption that has existed in Maryland since 1992. 

I am pleased to announce that Maryland has two National Scholarship winners in 2015.  Dezmon Jackson will be a graduate student at George Washington University and will earn a Master’s Degree in Health Policy.  Dezmon will continue his duties as lead instructor at the BISMCorp rehabilitation program.  Jason Polansky will be a freshman at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  Congratulations to Dezmon and Jason.

In Maryland, we intend to contribute to President Riccobono’s national goal of gaining 750 new members in the Federation to mark our 75th anniversary.  So far we have held two successful membership events.  We had a successful event in Cumberland on April 18.  On May 2 we introduced our Movement to people in Carroll County and the surrounding area.  We will be holding elections to establish our new Carroll County Chapter on June 6.  On June 13 we will be conducting a membership drive for our three chapters in Baltimore.  The event will be in Towson.  We have lots of work to do but I am sure this event will be successful, too.  Come to the state board of directors meeting on Saturday May 30 to help us build and strengthen the affiliate.  The meeting will begin promptly at 9:30.  Lunch is $10.  The address is The Image Center, 300 East Joppa Road, Suite 312, Towson Maryland 21286.  Take the elevator to the 3rd floor and proceed to Suite 312.  Many thanks to the TLC chapter for hosting this event.  Please let Mary Jo Hartle or Sharon Maneki if you plan to attend.

I am sorry to report the death of Leah Williamson on Saturday, May 9.  Leah was a member of the Greater Baltimore Chapter.  She fought valiantly to be as independent as she could despite her numerous health problems.  Leah was only 31 years old.  Our sympathy goes out to Leah’s family and friends. 

Many of us are making final plans to attend our National Convention in Orlando.  Do not delay.  Make your plans today if you have not already done so.  Our new President needs a strong showing from his home state of Maryland.  This may be your only opportunity to be part of breaking a world record that will be listed in the Guinness Book of Records.  Come and find out what it is all about.  

The Dot Dash for Braille Literacy will be held on June 7.  Team Sharon already has several members, but we could use more.  If you are not up for walking or running in this 6K event, you can be a virtual participant.  The important thing is be part of the team to promote Braille literacy.  For more information, go to


Read the calendar below so that you don’t miss upcoming events.

May 21.  Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Nonvisual Access will be discussed and demonstrated at Towson University to educate students and professors.  For more information contact Natalie Shaheen,

May 30.  Board of Directors meeting; hosted by TLC chapter.

June 7. Third annual Dot Dash 6k. Run or walk for Braille literacy. Race begins at 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230.

June 9-12.  BISM Retreat for Newly Blind Seniors. 

July 5-10. 75th Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Orlando. Florida.

July 20-31, excluding weekends. NFB BELL program in Salisbury.

July 27 thru August 7, excluding weekends.  NFB BELL programs in Baltimore and Glendale.

August 7. Crab Feast to be held at Columbus Gardens, 4301 Klosterman Ave, Baltimore, MD 21236. For the benefit of the John T. McGraw Scholarship.

August 20. Possibilities Fair to be held at BISM, 3345 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21227.

November 13-15.  NFBMD Annual State Convention, to be held in Ocean City, MD.

Sharon Maneki, President

National Federation of the Blind of Maryland