[Greater-baltimore] {Disarmed} FW: JI Newsletter - Giving Thanks

Danielsen, Chris CDanielsen at nfb.org
Wed Dec 5 07:28:10 CST 2012

Christopher S. Danielsen, J.D.
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind

From: Mark Riccobono [mailto:JerniganInstitute at nfb.org]
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 10:45 AM
To: Danielsen, Chris
Subject: JI Newsletter - Giving Thanks

[Graphic: NFBJI logo]Imagineering Our Future

Issue 48

December 2012

In this issue:

·         Message from the Executive Director

·         What’s News at the NFB

·         Education

·         Braille Initiative

·         Advocacy

·         Product and Access Technology Talk

·         From the tenBroek Library

·         Independence Market

·         NFB Calendar

·         Citation

Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,
[Christmas tree in NFB Jernigan Institute]

This is truly a wonderful time of the year. We just finished decorating the NFB Jernigan Institute for the holidays and enjoyed hosting the annual fall meeting of the NFB board of directors. It is always refreshing to review the progress that we have made and participate in discussions of what the future plans should be.

While we were promoting Giving Tuesday and inviting people to explore our holiday giving book earlier this week, I could not help but be distracted by some of the barriers confronting us as blind people today. My wife, Melissa, who serves as president of the NFB of Maryland, has been spending time during the past month helping a blind father regain custody of his daughter. Sadly, the child was taken from her dad simply because he is blind, and a misguided social services worker could not imagine how he would be able to properly care for his daughter. It is hard to believe that such a thing could happen in late 2012, and it is more unbelievable that it is happening in the same city where my wife and I are raising our three young children.

I am thankful that we have an organization that believes in the capacity of blind people, works daily to change the misunderstanding of blindness that exists in society, and protects the rights of the blind to live in the world. I am especially thankful to those who are helping to spread the word about our work and are sharing the truth about blindness with their friends and family.

As you consider what you are thankful for, I invite you to reflect on how far we have come as blind people and how much public education is left to be done. While I admit to feeling frustrated and even very angry about some of the truly discriminatory things happening to blind people, I am ultimately optimistic about the future. We have a greater network of chapters and members than ever before. More partners, businesses, and sighted individuals are actively working with us to change what it means to be blind and build new opportunities. And our resolve to fulfill our mission and innovate new solutions has never been stronger.

As you gather with your family this holiday season, take a moment to share a story about the work of the NFB and why you believe it is important. That story might just be the flap of an angel's wing that ends up changing an encounter that a blind man has when he and his daughter are at the park, when a blind child talks to his guidance counselor about career options, or when a newly blind woman returns to work. If we each take a moment to educate a friend or family member this season, we will make 2013 begin with more hope and opportunity.

From my family to yours, have a joyous, safe, and warm holiday season. Thank you for all that you do to support the work of the NFB.

 [Graphic: Signature of Mark Riccobono]
Mark A. Riccobono, Executive Director
NFB Jernigan Institute

What's News at the NFB

The Holiday Giving Book Is Here!

If you’re like most people, you have at least one person on your holiday shopping list for whom it is nearly impossible to find the perfect gift. This year, skip the traditional pair of socks or silk tie, and consider purchasing an item through our holiday giving book<www.nfb.org/holiday-giving-book>. Even “someone who has everything” might not have the satisfaction of knowing that a blind child received a letter from Santa in Braille in his or her name. Not many people can claim that a blind student gained confidence in his or her ability to succeed in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields because of a generous contribution made in his or her name. Use our holiday giving book to avoid the last-minute mall crowds and, instead, give the gift of independence, dignity, and hope. You can find the entire holiday giving book online at www.nfb.org/holiday-giving-book. Help us continue to build a future full of opportunities and consider making this tax-deductible gift today!

Sandy Relief Fund

At the recent NFB of New Jersey state convention, a fund was created to assist members who lost blindness-related adaptive equipment due to the hurricane. For more information on this fund, please contact either Jane Degenshein (Sandy committee chair) at 973-736-5785, or by e-mail at jdegen16 at comcast.net,<mailto:jdegen16 at comcast.net> or Joe Ruffalo (president, NFB of New Jersey) at 973-743-0075, or by e-mail at nfbnj1 at verizon.net<mailto:nfbnj1 at verizon.net>.

Open House

The NFB Jernigan Institute will be hosting a holiday open house on Saturday, December 8, from 12:00-4:00 p.m. at the NFB Jernigan Institute at 200 East Wells Street in Baltimore, Maryland. We will be providing tours of the facilities, and demonstrating new technologies that are assisting blind people around the world. There will be a kids' zone with many fun educational tools and games the NFB offers to children of all ages. The atmosphere will be especially festive with a special visit from Santa Claus and delicious holiday treats. We will be raffling items from local restaurants and shops, as well. Everyone is welcome to ring in the holiday season with us at the open house!


Letters from Santa

Santa has once again called upon his friends at the NFB Jernigan Institute to help him Braille letters and design other activities to share with boys and girls this Christmas season. In addition to a letter from Santa, children will receive a tactile coloring page, a couple of Santa’s favorite recipes, and some other fun surprises. To request a letter from Santa, visit our Web site<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1164&qid=67926>. Also, check out the "Letters from Santa" video<nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1149&qid=67004> containing footage of Santa’s visit to the NFB Jernigan Institute, as well as a conversation between Santa and one of the elves from the NFB Jernigan Institute.

Braille Initiative
Braille Certification Training Program

Under a contract with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS), the NFB administers the courses leading to NLS certification of Braille transcribers and proofreaders. Successful completion of these rigorous courses requires a great deal of time and effort on the part of the students. We congratulate the following individuals who earned certification during the month of September, 2012:

Literary Braille Transcribing

   Marion Mercadante Dawirs, Yorba Linda

   Susan Steele, Stuart

   Debra Jeanette Walker, South Lyon

   Robert Michael Hicks, Jefferson City

   Grace Angelee Palmer, Missoula

North Carolina
   Jerry Pittman, Laurinburg

   Nathaniel John Enright, Lincoln Park

New Jersey
   Renee Migner, West Caldwell

North Carolina
   Jerry Pittman, Laurinburg

   Edna TeQuanda Dotson Smith, Gatesville
   Bobbi Joan Elvington, Gatesville
   Karen Jo Moyer, Gatesville
   Gerrett Heather O'Keefe, Burleson

   James M. Howard, Oshkosh

Literary Braille Proofreading

   Danny Darling, Bunker Hill
   Darryl L. Trafford, New Castle

   Thomas Silvers, Lincoln

Mathematics (Nemeth) Braille Transcribing

   Kathy T. Haskins, Hagerstown

Music Braille Transcribing

   Mitchell James Ronek, Anamosa


Amazon.com is undertaking a massive effort to deploy its Kindle e-readers and Kindle e-books to K-12 schools across the United States. In some cases, Kindle devices have been donated directly to schools, including schools that serve children who are blind or have other disabilities. More important, and more disturbing, is the fact that Amazon has also built a system called Whispercast that allows teachers and school administrators to distribute Kindle content to devices other than Kindles. The problem with all of these plans is that neither the Kindle devices nor the book files used in conjunction with them are accessible to students who are blind or who have other print disabilities. Since school districts have an obligation under federal law to purchase or deploy only accessible technology and content, Amazon must either make Kindle e-books accessible or cease and desist from its efforts to have them used in the classroom.

On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, we will be holding an informational protest regarding the distribution of inaccessible Kindle e-books in K-12 schools, outside of Amazon headquarters in Seattle, Washington. We will be delivering letters from blind students, parents, and friends to Mr. Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, as part of the protest. You are urged to send these letters to Chris Danielsen at cdanielsen at nfb.org<mailto:Cdanielsen at nfb.org>. You are also urged to send a YouTube video of the student reading the letter. More information on this protest, including background information and template letters, is available on the NFB Web site at www.nfb.org/kindle-books<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1170&qid=67926>.

If you are unable to participate in our informational protest on December 12, you can still help inform Amazon of the need to make its Kindle e-books accessible to blind K-12 students. Leading up to and during the protest, we will be posting live photo and video to our Twitter and Facebook feeds. We encourage you to share this content with your own networks. We also encourage you to create your own content--videos, photos, or blog posts--and share the content on social networks. When posting content about this issue on Twitter, please use our hash tag #KindleBooks4All, as well as the mainstream hash tags and Twitter handles popularized by Amazon and used by the general public. The Twitter handles are @Amazon and @AmazonKindle.  The hash tags are #Amazon, #AmazonKindle, and #ebooks. We also encourage you to post comments to Amazon's relevant Facebook pages: Amazon<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1165&qid=67926> and Amazon Kindle<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1166&qid=67926>.

Another way to spread the message about the inaccessibility of Kindle e-books and the harm that will be done by distributing this inaccessible technology in K-12 schools is by leaving reviews on Amazon.com's Kindle Web page<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1167&qid=67926> or other popular consumer review Web sites. If you are a blind child or teen, or the parent of a blind child or teen, and own one of the Kindle devices, you can share in the review that you and/or your blind child cannot use it because it is not accessible.

Product and Access Technology Talk

The access technology team has had quite a few projects going on, most of which involved trying out and demonstrating new products, or updates to existing ones. On November 9, the team presented on tablets and on iOS at the NFB of Maryland’s convention in Annapolis. The tablet session compared the Microsoft Surface RT, the Google Nexus 7, and the iPad. The iOS session was divided between covering some basics and talking about especially useful and/or good apps.

The blog has been a hive of activity. We did our first-ever unboxing video (experimental!) and initial review of the Microsoft Surface; both the device and filming the unboxing were quite an adventure. We also did brief reviews of the Kindle Paperwhite and the Nook HD (tablet). We had a guest post from Elaine Ober from Pearson Higher Education about their accessibility work. Stop by and share your feedback at www.nfb.org/at-blog<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1150&qid=67926>!

Finally, we’ve had fun preparing some activities for the holiday open house that is happening on December 8 here at the NFB Jernigan Institute, so keep an eye out for us there as well.

From the tenBroek Library

Since 1957, the Braille Monitor has been the flagship publication of the NFB, carrying the positive philosophy of the Federation to blind people across the United States and around the globe. While documenting the activities and events of the NFB and its membership, it also covers the full range of critical issues facing the blindness community as a whole, including employment, education, the Braille literacy crisis, blind parenting, legislation, and the ongoing struggles for equal access and civil rights. Its reputation has been built issue by issue over the last fifty-five years, and today the Braille Monitor is not only considered the leading publication of its kind, it is also the voice of the nation’s blind.

As part of the mission of the Jacobus tenBroek Library, we are committed to preserving this important historical resource for future generations and to making it available to all interested in the history of the organized blind movement in America. To achieve this goal, in 2010 the tenBroek Library partnered with the Internet Archive<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1151&qid=67926> to scan the legacy issues of the Braille Monitor from the years 1957 to 1984. During the last two years, the library staff has worked to make these scanned issues fully accessible for all readers on the NFB Web site, and editions from 1957 to 1967 are now available at www.nfb.org/braille-monitor<http://www.nfb.org/braille-monitor>.

Our eventual goal is to have every issue of the publication available on the NFB Web site. However, at this time there are still seventeen years of the Braille Monitor that are only available online through the Internet Archive. The years 1968 to 1984 were pivotal both to the development of the NFB and to the evolution of the blind civil rights movement. The historic events described within their pages include the death of Dr. tenBroek (1968), the struggles with the airlines (1970s-1980s), the standardization of the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics (1972), the passing of section 504 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the establishment of NFB affiliates in all fifty states, including Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. (1975), and the protests throughout the 1970s against the National Accreditation Commission for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC).

To learn more about these and other important landmarks in the history of the organized blind movement from 1968 to 1984, please go to www.archive.org<http://www.archive.org> and search for the Braille Monitor. Issues are available for download in multiple formats, including full text, Daisy, EPUB, and PDF. Users can also have the text read aloud directly from the Web site or flip through the pages of the Internet Archive’s visually realistic eBook version. We highly encourage everyone to take advantage of this wonderful resource.

Independence Market

In a recent issue of Imagineering Our Future it was announced that most of the brochures published by the NFB, and distributed to our members and the general public through the NFB Independence Market, can now be read online. The first three brochures listed below are newly available online in Braille, also. We are providing links to the HTML text as well as the links to the Braille version for your convenience.

What Is the National Federation of the Blind? brochure



Do You Know a Blind Person? brochure



Meeting a Working Guide Dog Team brochure



NFB Jernigan Institute brochure


NFB-NEWSLINE® brochure


To order hard copies of these brochures in either print or Braille, please contact the NFB Independence Market via e-mail to independencemarket at nfb.org<mailto:independencemarket at nfb.org>, or by phone at 410-659-9314, extension 2216. Please note that we are now only accepting calls Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time. We welcome visitors to the Independence Market from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and encourage you to stop by during the morning hours, so that we may better serve our phone customers in the afternoon.

NFB Calendar

Upcoming Events

NFB Holiday Open House<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1152&qid=67926>: December 8, 2012

Washington Seminar<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1153&qid=67926>: February 5-7, 2013

Tactile Graphics Conference<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1154&qid=67926>: April 12-13, 2013

Jacobus tenBroek Law Symposium<nfb.org/law-symposium>: April 18-19, 2013


"I predict that you will soon find yourselves to be the first, but not the last, generation to have the same access to our great collective heritage as is afforded to everyone else. A great barrier is poised to topple."

--Daniel Goldstein, "Shaping the Standard for the Legal Community: The Neccessity for Access to Information for All."<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1171&qid=67926> 2009 NFB National Convention

The speech was followed by the crowd chanting, "same book, same time, same price."

Thank you for reading the NFB Jernigan Institute’s Imagineering Our Future.

Help make a significant difference in the lives of blind people across the country.

Make a Gift Today<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1118&qid=67926>

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[Photo: Youth Slam students]

Make a Gift Today<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1118&qid=67926>

[Photo: Blind pre-reader and her dad]

If this issue was forwarded to you and you would like to subscribe, please e-mail JerniganInstitute at nfb.org.<mailto:JerniganInstitute at nfb.org.>

[Photo: Group on white water raft]

Support the Jernigan Institute through the Imagination Fund<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1119&qid=67926>

[Photo: Young woman playing flute]

Interesting links:

Archive of Straight Talk about Vision Loss videos<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1120&qid=67926>

National Center for Blind Youth in Science<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1121&qid=67926>

Access Technology Tips<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1122&qid=67926>


[Photo: Youth practicing martial art]


Access Technology<http://nfb.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=1124&qid=67926>

National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
United States
410 659-9314

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