[Greater-Baltimore] {Spam?} FW: [NFB-Maryland] July/August Minute Message from the Movement

Chris Danielsen cdanielsen14 at comcast.net
Mon Aug 17 12:41:59 UTC 2020



From: NFB-Maryland [mailto:nfb-maryland-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of
president--- via NFB-Maryland
Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2020 8:43 PM
To: nfb-maryland at nfbnet.org
Subject: [NFB-Maryland] July/August Minute Message from the Movement


July/August 2020 Minute Message 

Fellow Federationists:


We have just successfully completed our first ever virtual National
Federation of the Blind Annual Convention, and, as promised, it was the
biggest and best yet.  As we turn our attention to our Fall activities and
our 54th Annual National Federation of the Blind of Maryland State
Convention, we also continue to work hard to protect the rights of blind
Marylanders.  WE have a number of exciting activities in store over the
coming weeks and months.


Please read below for information about news and upcoming activities.


2020 NFB National Convention – Virtual and the Best So Far!

Thank you for joining us for an incredible 80th Annual National Federation
of the Blind National Convention.  We collectively attended nearly 250
unique meetings over five days, had dozens of exhibitors, engaged with
numerous sponsors, and had nearly ten thousand participants.  In Maryland
alone we had 593 registered participants, 186 of them first-timers, and an
additional 200+ attendees with whom I personally spoke, texted, or chatted.
We had an amazing convention because of you.  We learned, we laughed, and we
grew because of you.  Because of your involvement, we shattered the
attendance record, we blew the Pre-Authorized Check Contribution Program
amounts out of the water, and we had tremendous engagement in all workshops
and activities. 


We brought home the PAC-rat, which is the critter given to the affiliate
that has the most activity on the Pre-Authorized Check (PAC) Program.  I
committed to holding a drawing to include anyone who joined the PAC program
or increased their PAC contribution during the NFB National Convention, on
the condition that we brought home a critter or met one of the two targets
that Maryland PAC Chairman John Pare set for us.  We brought home the
PAC-rat and exceeded both of John’s targets.  Congratulations to the
Maryland Organization of Parents of Blind Children who won the drawing.
They win (or one of them does at least) dinner at the place of their choice
with me.  MDPBC will decide how to allocate the prize in a way that makes
sense for the Division.


I enjoyed meeting with many of you at the Maryland Caucus on July 17 and
hearing your perspectives on resolutions.  It was a great deal of fun
speaking with many of you at our daily virtual breakfast club when we walked
through each day’s events and activities.  It was fun chatting with you in
the CrowdCompass app, and literally hundreds of you emailed and texted me
throughout the week to tell me your thoughts and opinions about just about
everything.  I also had a great time with MDABS at our breakfasts on my
balcony (appropriately social distanced and with the affiliate Board at the
appropriately social distanced banquet. 


We had a number of members and leaders take on key responsibilities during
the NFB 80th Annual Convention.  Special thanks go to the following:

-        Debbie Brown, Judy Rasmussen, and Lloyd Rasmussen led our daily
Breakfast Club to go over that day’s Convention activities, answer
questions, and help troubleshoot challenges;

-        Sondra Burchette and Dezman Jackson managed our direct-dial
conference line, which was patched into the Convention, so that those less
comfortable with technology could call one number without having to enter an
access code;

-        The Maryland Library for the Blind and Print Disabled generously
allowed us to use their direct-dial conference line for key Convention
meetings and activities;

-        Chris Nusbaum, Derrick Day, and Brian Kesseling served as our
Maryland Tech Team and helped members resolve technology challenges
throughout the Convention;

-        All chapter presidents and Boards worked with their individual
members to answer questions, share information, and engage members and

-        Millie Rivera and the NFBMD Scholarship Committee engaged
creatively and frequently with the 2020 Scholarship Class;

-        Judy Rasmussen led our Ambassadors as they helped orient first-time
and new conventioneers; 

-        The NFBMD Board did whatever needed to be done whenever it needed
to be done; and

-        You all actively participated and dozens of you helped in ways too
numerous to share.


We owe this incredible convention to President Riccobono and the staff of
the National Federation of the Blind.  I was fortunate to be elected as your
delegate, and with Zoom, users can have a virtual background.  Delegates
were on camera during the convention much of the time.  This means that
instead of seeing my very boring apartment walls, I can put up a picture of
something else that shows up behind me when my camera is on.  I chose to
have Hogwarts, which is the school where Harry Potter learned how to perform
magic in the Harry Potter books and movies.  I did this as a tribute to the
staff of the NFB who literally conjured this convention from thin air and
made all the magic happen. 


I also wrote the below message to them and wanted to share it with you.  I
hope you’ll join me in expressing your appreciation to our colleagues and
fellow members at the National Federation of the Blind for putting on a
truly spectacular convention.


I can’t tell you how impressed I am with all of your hard work, creativity,
flexibility, and all the other adjectives that apply to you.  Most of you
know that I’m not usually one who experiences a loss of words, but all that
you have accomplished leaves me speechless (almost).  Each of you played
such a vital role in bringing the 2020 NFB Convention to fruition, from the
exceptional technology geeks that gave us platforms for the convention
engagement to the Exhibit Hall to the voting system to sound to registration
to door prize collection and on and on; to the Zoom moderators who made sure
we adhered to our Code of Conduct (seriously, some of those meetings had so
many moving parts my head spun); to those who handled fundraising,
sponsorship, and marketing; to those who handled communication and social
media; to those who generated registration lists, verified membership, and
then verified voting eligibility; to those who set up the National Center
for our Banquet party and created the most delicious banquet food I or my
Board have ever tasted; to those who shared and organized login information
for literally over 200 meetings; to those who kept the building TVs and AC
running; to those who organized the agenda; to those who ran youth track and
co-led Resolutions and supported the Scholarship Committee; to those who did
all the things we don’t even know about; and on and on and on.  You truly
conjured this convention with magic and elbow grease, and you did an
outstanding job.  Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you!


Get ready for New Orleans in 2021!

One of the highlights of the national board of directors meeting at the 2020
NFB National Convention was learning that the 2021 National Convention will
take place from July 6 – 11 at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans,
Louisiana. Start saving up so that you can attend the 2021 convention.  


Crabbing for Student Scholarships: Date Change

We have postponed the NFBMD Crab Feast to Saturday, October 17, 2020.
Please purchase your tickets today.  This fundraiser supports the John T
McCraw Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to blind
post-secondary education students.

When: Saturday, October 17, 2020 - 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Where: Tall Cedars - 2501 Putty Hill Ave - Parkville, MD 21234 

Tickets are $60 each if purchased before October 3, or $65 afterwards.
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, Pit Beef, turkey breast, & Ham – All You Can Eat!
Plus a Buffet of Entrees Including Old Bay wings and Sausage, Sides, Salad,

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
<mailto:President at NFBMD.org> President at NFBMD.org


Please note: At this time, we are scheduled to hold this event in-person.
However, this is subject to change based on local public health directives
related to COVID-19 and related factors.  We will communicate directly with
ticket-holders to advise them of any changes.  Those holding tickets for the
August 8, 2020 event should use those same tickets for the October 17, 2020


As we work to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are surveying Marylanders
as to whether they would prefer an in-person event, a hybrid, or pick-up for
the Crab Feast.  Please contact me at  <mailto:President at nfbmd.org>
President at nfbmd.org or at 443-426-4110 to communicate your preference.


Attend the NFBMD Board of Directors Meeting

Everyone is invited to attend the NFB of Maryland Board of Directors meeting
on Saturday, August 29 to help us plan the convention.  We will be meeting
virtually.  The meeting will begin at 10:00AM and end at 1:00PM.  Lunch will
be whatever you have in your homes.  


Below is access information:

o   Online direct link: https://zoom.us/j/6248138327

o   Meeting ID: 624 813 8327

o   One tap mobile: 

§          +13017158592,,6248138327# US (Germantown)

§          +16468769923,,6248138327# US (New York)

§  +13126266799,,6248138327# US (Chicago)

o   Dial by phone:

§          +13017158592 US (Germantown)

§  +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)

§  +1 312 6          26 6799 US (Chicago)

§  Meeting ID: 624 813 8327


NFBMD Bid for Opportunity and Scholarship Dinner Canceled!

After careful deliberation, and in light of the current public health
emergency, NFBMD has decided to cancel the 2020 Bid for Opportunity and
Scholarship Dinner and Auction.  We plan to resume this event in Spring 2021
as usual.  Thank you to those who donated auction items.  They will be used
next year.  Of course, given that this was one of our largest sources of
income to support our John T. McCraw Scholarship Program, we would welcome
donations and contributions to the State affiliate.  To donate, please mail
a check to NFB of Maryland, 1800 Johnson Street, Suite N1, Baltimore, MD
21230 or use the PayPal donate link on our website at nfbmd.org. 


NFBMD Basket Bingo – September 20, 2020

At this time, the 2020 NFBMD Basket Bingo, sponsored by the Central Maryland
Chapter and NFBMD, is scheduled for the afternoon of September 20, 2020.
Tickets with a date of March 13, 2020 will be honored.  Should we have to
reschedule this event once more, the Basket Bingo Committee will reach out
to ticket-holders.


Rise Up: The State Convention is Coming!

You will not want to miss the state convention which takes place on November
6-8, 2020.  This year’s convention will take place anywhere and everywhere.
You will note that our convention has gone virtual.  There will be no
in-person events at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel.  


This year, our National Representative will be Pam Allen, President of the
National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana, Chairman and First Vice
President of the National Federation of the Blind Board of Directors, and
Executive Director of the Louisiana Center for the Blind.  


Convention pre-registration is open now.  Be looking in your mailbox for
hard copy registration forms or visit  <http://nfbmd.org/convention>
http://nfbmd.org/convention.  Registration is $20 per adult and free for
kids on or prior to October 16, 2020.  Registration after October 16, 2020
is $25 per adult and free for kids.  Those who register after October 16,
2020 may not be eligible for door prizes, voting, and other convention
aspects requiring access to systems and platforms other than Zoom. 


Please plan to join us anywhere and everywhere for our annual convention.


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 Chairman Jesse Hartle by email at jesse.hartle63 at gmail.com
<mailto:jesse.hartle63 at gmail.com>  by October 16, 2019.


Seeking Convention Sponsors and Exhibitors

We are seeking sponsors for our 2020 NFB of Maryland State Convention.
There are various levels of sponsorship, and the various levels include
different benefits.  Entities and individuals interested in serving as an
NFBMD Convention sponsor should contact Anil Lewis at
<mailto:alewis at nfbmd.org> alewis at nfbmd.org and Jen White at
<mailto:Jwhite at nfb.org> Jwhite at nfb.org to request additional information.


We are also seeking exhibitors for our Friday Exhibit Hall.  Individuals and
entities interested in exhibiting should also contact Anil Lewis at
alewis at nfb.org <mailto:alewis at nfb.org>  and Jen White at Jwhite at nfb.org
<mailto:Jwhite at nfb.org>  to request additional information.  The Exhibit
Hall will be virtual.


Zoom Password Requirements Effective September 1

The Zoom platform is requiring meetings and events to incorporate a password
beginning this Fall.  NFBMD is implementing this change effective September
1, 2020.  Any meeting hosted by the NFBMD Zoom account will use the same
password.  This includes the Wednesday night COVID-19 calls, Sligo Creek,
Greater Baltimore, and Central Maryland Chapter Meetings, Parent Division
activities, chapter board meetings, and so on.  Note that Carroll County and
TLC Chapter meetings as well as Student Division Chill Hours use a different
account and will thus have a different password. 


The password for NFBMD-hosted meetings will be the numeric equivalent of
“NFBMD,” which is 63263.  


NFBMD Response to COVID-19

The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland continues to proactively
respond to the COVID-19 crisis while maintaining regular operations.  We are
open and operating consistent with State and local public health
determinations.  We have created a webpage to share information and
resources in connection with COVID-19 that can be accessed by visiting
<http://www.nfbmd.org/covid19> http://www.nfbmd.org/covid19.  This page will
be updated regularly.  The NFB National Office has also established a web
page for information about COVID-19, which can be accessed at
https://www.nfb.org/resources/covid-19-resources.  COVID-19 information is
also available in the Breaking News section of NFB Newsline.


NFBMD has taken the following steps to respond to the coronavirus outbreak:

-        We have established an NFBMD COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund.
Blind individuals and their families may request financial assistance for
essentials such as groceries and medication.  Anyone interested in donating
to this fund may contact me for information on how to do so.  Additional
information about this program is available later in this newsletter.

-        We are holding weekly affiliate calls on Wednesdays at 8:00PM.  We
are spending the first portion of each meeting sharing updated information
and new resources related to COVID-19 and the remainder of the meeting as a
forum for members to connect socially.  To join the Wednesday evening
meeting, use one of the following methods:

o   Online direct link: https://zoom.us/j/6248138327

o   Meeting ID: 624 813 8327

o   One tap mobile: 

§          +13017158592,,6248138327# US (Germantown)

§          +16468769923,,6248138327# US (New York)

§  +13126266799,,6248138327# US (Chicago)

o   Dial by phone:

§          +13017158592 US (Germantown)

§  +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)

§  +1 312 6          26 6799 US (Chicago)

§  Meeting ID: 624 813 8327

-        WE have been and will continue to host virtual workshops on a
variety of topics, including how to use Zoom, how to use the Victor Reader
Stream, how to improve use of memory, how to make masks, and other matters
of interest.  To suggest a topic or to offer to lead a workshop, please
contact Debbie Brown at  <mailto:deborahb14 at verizon.net>
deborahb14 at verizon.net or at 301—881-1892.  Please visit our COVID-19 web
page at http://www.nfbmd.org/covid19 to find the most up-to-date list of
virtual seminars.  

-        Given that the usual methods of public transportation are
diminished or altered, we are seeking and providing volunteers to assist our
members with running essential errands and transportation to medical
appointments.  If you are interested in volunteering to assist with this
initiative, please contact me at  <mailto:President at nfbmd.org>
President at nfbmd.org or at 443-426-4110.

-        WE provided transportation for those individuals who needed
assistance getting to an in-person voting site in order to vote for the
April 28, 2020 District 7 Special General Election and June 2 state-wide
Primary Election.

-        We are providing assistance filling out forms and accessing the
Maryland Beacon System, the platform that administers the Maryland
unemployment application and reporting program since it is not fully
accessible at this time.  Those needing assistance should contact Sharon
Maneki at  <mailto:NFBMD at earthlink.net> NFBMD at earthlink.net or call

-        We are providing assistance to members who do not have the
technology or otherwise cannot complete their IRS Non-Filer Forms in order
to ensure that those individuals receive their economic impact payments.
Such individuals are generally those receiving SSI, SSDI, Social Security
retirement, or VA benefits and need to complete this form in order to
receive the economic impact payment for dependents.  Those needing
assistance should contact Sharon Maneki at  <mailto:NFBMD at earthlink.net>
NFBMD at earthlink.net or call 410-715-9596.

-        WE are working to ensure that drive-up COVID-19 testing facilities
also serve the blind given that they cannot “drive up” as well as working to
ensure that walk-up testing facilities are accessible to the blind.

-        We are monitoring and engaging in advocacy related to situations
that arise due to COVID-19 that disparately impact our blind community.  If
you know of an entity or establishment that is serving the public but is
refusing to serve the blind, please contact me immediately at 443-426-4110
or at  <mailto:President at nfbmd.org> President at nfbmd.org.  Such situations
may relate to drive-through restaurants not allowing blind pedestrians to
order and purchase food, COVID-19 testing facilities refusing to provide
services to individuals who cannot drive, inaccessible technology for those
who are engaging in teleschooling, and similar refusals/denials of service.

-        We are working hard to ensure that the blind of Maryland have equal
access to essential services and information.  These efforts include but are
not limited to: 

o   working to ensure that Maryland Executive Orders and information are
accessible; and

o   Collaborating with government entities to ensure that COVID-19 testing
and response procedures are accessible.

Please visit the NFBMD COVID-19 webpage often for updated information and


NFBMD COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

We continue to operate an affiliate COVID-19 fund to assist individuals and
families that are experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19
crisis.  This fund is available to blind individuals and families with a
blind household member living in Maryland.  The financial assistance must be
needed due to a change in circumstance, e.g. loss of employment income,
because of COVID-19 or associated government directives like the
Stay-at-Home order.  Assistance is limited to essentials such as groceries
and medication.  This Fund is being administered by the NFBMD Financial
Assistance Committee.  Anyone who is wishing to request assistance should
contact me at  <mailto:President at nfbmd.org> President at nfbmd.org or at


In addition, we are seeking contributions to augment the NFBMD COVID-19
Emergency Response Fund.  Those interested in making a monetary donation may
do so by sending a check to NFBMD, 15 Charles Plaza, #3002, Baltimore,
Maryland 21201 or by using the PayPal donation link on our website located
at  <http://www.nfbmd.org/COVID-19Fund> http://www.nfbmd.org/COVID-19Fund.  


Reminder to Prepare to Vote 

In the wake of the global pandemic, many states, including Maryland, have
modified the manner of voting for the November 3, 2020 Presidential General
Election.  Maryland plans to significantly reduce it’s in-person early
voting centers and same-day voting sites.  As a result, individuals should
plan ahead in order to ensure access to a voting location.  NFBMD encourages
those who are able and who are not in high-risk categories to vote in person
if possible.  To find a list of voting locations, visit the Maryland State
Board of Elections website at:  <https://elections.maryland.gov/>


As a result of previous litigation that NFBMD undertook, Maryland is
required to offer an accessible absentee voting system.  This enables the
blind to gain access to an accessible computer-based ballot using their
assistive technology.  The voter marks the ballot using the voter’s computer
and then prints, signs, and mails in the ballot.  


As of May 8, 2020, Maryland no longer uses the term Absentee Voting and
instead uses the phrases “Mail-in Voting” and “Mail-in Ballots.”  To submit
a request for a Mail-in Ballot, visit:
tionsStep1. You will have the option to choose to have a paper ballot mailed
to you or the link to an electronic ballot emailed to you.  You will need to
know the number on your Maryland State ID to request a Mail-in Ballot.


NFBMD urges everyone eligible to vote to do so.  Individuals not yet
registered to vote may do so online by visiting:
tionsStep1.  Early voting runs from October 26 through November 2, 2020.  


We also urge NFBMD members who are able to do so to serve as election
judges.  To sign up to be an election judge, visit:



Blind Cruising 2021 

The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland will be hosting a cruise
fundraiser from September 19, 2021 to September 26, 2021.   The affiliate
will receive a portion of the cost of each cabin that is booked.  All are
welcome, including members of the NFBMD, other affiliates, families,
colleagues, and friends.  For additional information or to reserve your
cabin, please contact our travel agent, Cindy Kiper at kkiper at cruisesinc.com
<mailto:kkiper at cruisesinc.com>  or 813-418-0647.



Details are as follows:

Ship: Carnival Pride

Date: September 19 – September 26, 2021

Port of Departure: Baltimore, Maryland

Number of nights: 7

Ports visited: Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; and
Freeport, Bahamas


Key Dates:

-              First deposit due: Until All Cabins Booked or December 31,
2020 (whichever is earlier) = $25 per person

-              Second deposit due: April 15, 2021 - $250 per person plus
full names of sailors

-              Final payment due: June 1, 2021


Types and prices of cabins (this is a per person price based on double
occupancy and includes cabin fee, port charges, and taxes); we have a
limited number of cabins, so prices may change once our block is filled.

-              Balcony cabin (extended balcony) = $958.64 per person

-              Balcony cabin (standard balcony) = from $935.64 to $946.64
per person

-              interior cabin = From $727.64 to $737.64 per person

-              if anyone needs an Ocean View or triple or quad cabin, they
should let us know.

Note: Cabin types are going first come first serve, so please email to
inquire about availability.


We hope you will join us in 2021 on this incredible trip.


NFBMD 2021 Cruise Drawing

NFBMD will hold a drawing at the NFBMD State Convention Banquet on November
7, 2020.  In order to be eligible, individuals must donate at least $10
between August 15, 2020 and November 1, 2020 and indicate that they wish to
be entered into the drawing.  Each donor’s name will be entered into the
drawing for each $10 contribution.  This means if an individual donates
$100, that individual will have 10 chances to win.  


Individuals may donate using the NFBMD PayPal button at http://nfbmd.org or
by mailing a physical check payable to NFB of Maryland to the address listed
below.  Individuals should notate the comments section of PayPal and the
check memo line to indicate “Cruise Drawing” in order to be entered into the


1800 Johnson Street, Suite N1

Baltimore, MD 21230


Important Upcoming Dates 

*	August 29, 2020 – NFBMD Board of Directors Meeting, 10:00AM – 1:00PM
via Zoom
*	September 20, 2020 – Basket and Bag Bingo at The Lodge, 2832 9 Mile
Cir. Catonsville, MD.
*	October 17, 2020 – Annual Crab Feast - Tall Cedars, 2501 Putty Hill
Ave., Parkville, MD 21234
*	November 6-8, 2020 – Annual State Convention, Everywhere
*	January 21, 2021 – NFBMD Day in Annapolis
*	February 6, 2021 – Regional Braille Challenge, Maryland School for
the Blind
*	February 8, 2021 – Washington Seminar Great Gathering In
*	February 9, 2021 – Maryland Day on the Hill
*	September 19 – 26, 2021 – Blind Cruising 2021, Carnival Pride,
Departing from Port of Baltimore



Ronza Othman, President

National Federation of the Blind of Maryland


Pronouns: she, her, hers


The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland knows that blindness is not
the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the
expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles
between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want;
blindness is not what holds you back.

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