[nabs-l] Action Plan, Part 4

T. Joseph Carter carter.tjoseph at gmail.com
Fri Jun 5 15:54:32 UTC 2009


My opinion, worth about what you pay for it, is that NABS should 
neither start at age 18 nor stop at age 25.  Here in Oregon, it is 
not uncommon for students to remain in "high school" until age 21 
because of compromises made in and by the educational system in the 
state.  I see it as our responsibility to work to correct that, which 
means we need the support of blind high school and middle school 
students, as well as parent involvement.

If you fit into a certain income range, you don't qualify for 
financial aid grants until you turn 24, but haven't got enough income 
yourself or with family support to pay for college without them.  I 
was such a person.  I've nearly completed my Master's, and am 
continuing with my studies.  I expect to finish at age 35, a full 
decade beyond the "typical" college age.  I know students in their 

But it seems we have to go the other direction as well.  Take Braille 
literacy for example.  If we are serious about that issue, we must 
reach out to students as young as possible, and their parents.  I 
don't know how active elementary-aged students would be in the 
organization, but I see great value in them having access to role 
models earning college or advanced degrees.

I think I disagree with regard to the advocacy on local versus 
national issues.  Support, advice, and suggestion are the easiest 
things to provide, and those have made a remarkable difference in 
some of the local issues here in Oregon.  Even just getting the word 
out there that some of these things are happening can make a 
politician squeamish about voting in a way that hurts blind students.


On Fri, Jun 05, 2009 at 03:17:15PM +1000, Arielle Silverman wrote:
>Hi Joseph and all,
>I don't know the context behind the comment you cited, and don't want
>to openly criticize Ryan, but I'll just say briefly that I don't feel
>this sentiment to be appropriate or true for most of the NABS
>leadership. We don't stop at age 25. In fact, a lot of young
>professionals who have recently completed their education, even if no
>longer students, can still benefit from and in some cases can offer
>leadership to our organization. I will admit that NABS has not always
>done a good job of including students and professionals in their
>mid-twenties or beyond. I appreciate the feedback and definitely want
>to work on this, as well as building a stronger relationship with the
>parents' division. I also believe we should attempt to get involved
>with issues of advocacy. It is sometimes difficult to do this with
>local issues, but there are plenty of national issues affecting
>students which we need to better understand, and come up with a plan
>of attack. Again, it's up to all of you to tell us what those issues
>are. While I won't pay attention to disrespectful comments or blatant
>name-calling, respectful and well-constructed feedback is crucial to
>our continued growth and success.
>On 6/5/09, T. Joseph Carter <carter.tjoseph at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Joe,
>> I still believe that you are the only person I have seen on this list
>> who is capable of realizing this plan.  Yet I do not believe your
>> proposal is likely to be implemented in whole or even in significant
>> part at this time.  You say that these ideas are less ambitious than
>> those the earliest Federationists took upon themselves, and you are
>> right.  That said, however, NABS appears to presently have a much
>> narrower focus in terms of what it wants to do, and for whom.
>> I tried to drum up some support to convince you to run for the NABS
>> presidency, as you already know.  I stopped when I read this comment
>> written by Ryan Strunk:  "...he's too old.  The division is made up
>> of 18 to 25 year olds.  He's slipping outside of that range..."
>> I have to tell you that I have never felt less welcome by any NFB
>> affiliate than when I read those comments by a former president of
>> NABS—the guy who ran this organization during my first opportunity to
>> meet with students involved in this organization.  I was more than a
>> little hurt to read that comment.
>> I have been one of those busting my butt here in Oregon to establish
>> the Oregon NABS affiliate while battling harsh and vindictive
>> discrimination in my university and a ruthless effort to close the
>> Oregon School for the Blind.  When the term ends next week, the
>> discrimination will end with it.  With "normal" academic demands,
>> there's far more I believe I can do, and far more that I want to do.
>> Until our NABS leadership begins to look to expand the organization
>> beyond the narrow scope of 18-25 year olds and its present fear of
>> actual disagreement on any issue of substance, NABS will be little
>> more than a social club.  Without a wider demographic target and the
>> occasional willingness to take on a difficult or controversial topic,
>> NABS cannot be what it should be: A powerful student organization
>> that speaks for the blind student with a unified voice that will not
>> be ignored.
>> Now, one of my personality traits is that I am very results oriented.
>> This is both a strength and a limitation; I will leave it to the
>> reader to determine which it is today: I have no time for a social
>> club, but I will make time for the powerful student association.
>> Joseph

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