[nabs-l] improving our divisions

Darian Smith dsmithnfb at gmail.com
Fri Mar 11 23:58:11 UTC 2011


I would have to say that chapters and divisions can suffer from the
same   issues of a lack of leadership, or a lack of good leadership.
I think that if  you have  good leadership ( the type that keeps in
mind local and national movements, issues and  trends and supports
them. Also supports their membership's personal, professional and
organizational growth) on the chapter, state, and divisional levels,
you'll find that  the work that we say doesn't get done, will get
done.
   So, in short, I  generally am of the  thought that if you find and
promote good leaders over  political ties, you'll find people who's
hearts and minds are in the right pplace of serving  people and not
self.

On 3/11/11, Joe Orozco <jsorozco at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Marsha,
>
> Other divisions would do well to follow the student division's example.
> It's not a complement I would have always given NABS, even during the two
> years when I served on its board, but honestly, Arielle and her board have
> been making significant improvements to NABS what with the consistent
> monthly bulletins, routine teleconferences, and fairly regular Student
> Slate.  When I casually threw out my jab at divisions to gauge reactions,
> NABS was not at all on my mind.  I like that the students have chosen one
> plank to build upon.  To me, that plank has been communication, and they've
> built upon it very well.  Can they do better?  NABS could always be better,
> but I think I'm always going to have loftier expectations for my favorite
> group in the organization.
>
> In general, I think I'd always advocate for socialization between divisions
> and the community entities that carry out work similar to what the divisions
> are aiming for.  For me, it's not about deliberately emphasizing mingling
> with the mainstream public because too much blind interaction is bad.  I
> think people inherently get this, or should get it, but it stands to reason
> that divisions cannot logistically meet as frequently or as efficiently as
> they would hope if for no other reason that there just aren't so many blind
> persons interested in the same topic concentrated in the same area.  If I
> were a member of the deaf-blind division, for example, I would explore
> partnership opportunities with something like the National Association of
> the Deaf, just as an example, if only to provide the division with an
> additional resource and to give division members something to belong to
> outside of national conventions.
>
> Unfortunately, you've caught me at a point where I'm working into the
> weekend to keep up with my job.  I don't have enough time at the moment to
> give you my roadmap of my vision of how divisions could feed into the
> organization in a way that is more productive for all, though I began with a
> few thoughts in an earlier post on this thread.  Yet, I'm not sure that it
> would be completely worth it even if there were time, because it would take
> a massive effort to convince leaders to change their practices.  What my
> writing would amount to is nothing more than pages and pages of wishful
> thinking, and after a while the only thing that does is burn you out.  Maybe
> Maurer will let me be president for a day so I can turn things upside down
> and consequently put us in a better position. LOL
>
> Anyway, below is a link to the Action Plan series of posts I wrote over a
> year ago.  I'd written it with the student division in mind but think the
> points could be applicable to most any division, if you properly substitute
> some references.  I know several people thought I was a snob for putting
> together some blueprints, as though I could possibly have all the answers,
> but we'll never find resolutions if you don't make propositions.  That's all
> these posts were, proposals.  They may or may not help.
>
> http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1510865/action_plan.zip
>
> Best,
>
> Joe
>
> "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves,
> some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all."--Sam Ewing
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Marsha Drenth [mailto:marsha.drenth at gmail.com]
> Sent: Friday, March 11, 2011 3:42 PM
> To: jsorozco at gmail.com; 'National Association of Blind Students mailing
> list'
> Subject: improving our divisions
>
> Joe,
>
> I am curious, give us the structure you would want or see for our divisions?
> What would you keep that our divisions include now? And what would you
> change?
>
> I am a supporter of our divisions, but also see the downfalls of them too.
> Certainly the structure can be improved.
>
> Anxiously awaiting your solution,
> marsha
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
> Of Joe Orozco
> Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 12:50 PM
> To: 'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Future of the NFB
>
> Joshua,
>
> Struck a nerve there my friend?  I know that for most people the idea of
> eliminating divisions is ludicrous, but this is not as ludicrous as the
> notion of me ever being NFB president.  Sorry, I should have made my sarcasm
> more clear.  To briefly answer your point though, everyone will find
> different divisions they deem more important than others, and to my credit,
> I said I would eliminate divisions in the way they exist today.  The student
> division has always been my weakness, and my own bold claim makes me have to
> think of a different way to capture what I like of the division.  I did
> think about this but doubt anyone would care to listen to more constructive
> blueprints on how to make it work.  Divisions do not make us stronger.  They
> make us spread thinner, and actually, now that you bring it up, I think that
> if people want to exercise faith, there is the not so foreign concept of
> venturing out of the hotel and visiting one of hundreds of churches in any
> city the national convention has ever gone.  I have met fellow writers,
> computer enthusiasts, Mormons, and thought-provoking debaters by virtue of
> having gone to a convention in general and not necessarily by attending
> annual review meetings.  The potential weakening of divisions is exhibited
> by your having focused on this aspect of my note and ignored the rest.
> Still, I'm sincerely glad you expressed your views, because I'm not fully
> convinced my crazy notions would all work.  I just happen to be crazy enough
> to put them out there.
>
> Best,
>
> Joe
>
> "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves,
> some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all."--Sam Ewing
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Joshua Lester [mailto:jlester8462 at students.pccua.edu]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 11:10 AM
> To: jsorozco at gmail.com; National Association of Blind Students mailing list
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Future of the NFB
>
> It would be ridiculous to eliminate the divisions! What about the
> Communities of Faith? Do you not think that faith is important? We go
> to convention, (many of us miss church,) so the devotions will be the
> only church we get while at convention. There are some divisions that
> may need to be fixed, (or eliminated,) but some need to stay. The
> performance division, the musicians division, and others are a great
> means to connect blind performers, and musicians, and people in
> general. The friendships made during those meetings last a lifetime. I
> hate calling people out, but Sarah, and Julie have been constant
> friends, since we met in Dallas. I know that if I have a question, I
> can go to one of them, and they will help me. That's the same with
> this student division. I was having problems with a certain thing, but
> I was able to obtain help from this list. I appreciate what certain
> divisions do, so it's a ludicris thing to say, that we need to
> eliminate these divisions, they just make us stronger.
> My 100 dollars worth,
> Joshua Lester.
>
> On 3/8/11, Joe Orozco <jsorozco at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Brice,
>>
>> You are the future of the NFB.  What do you think the organization should
> do
>> about its operations if you think blindness might not be the only
> disability
>> affecting the membership?  Don't speculate about what may happen.
> Instead,
>> tell us what you think should happen.
>>
>> I don't know that I agree with this notion that people are made to feel
>> inferior because they have secondary disabilities.  There have always been
>> similar observations made about guide dog users in the NFB, but the people
>> who disliked and looked down on me before I went and got my guide dog were
>> going to dislike me and look down on me regardless of my choice of travel
>> tools.  I think part of me went and got Gator to show these people where
>> they could stick their condescending views.  Anyway, I guess Eleanor
>> Roosevelt was more polished when she said "no one can make you feel
> inferior
>> without your consent."
>>
>> But, seriously, what's this nonsense about the deaf-blind division not
> being
>> as promoted as the student or parent division?  They all get equal access
> to
>> the convention program, and if you hear about it more, it might simply be
>> owed to the size comparison between the groups.  If divisions that focus
> on
>> conditions other than blindness feel as though they're being left out, it
>> might be owed to the fact that the division is not doing anything worth
>> promoting?
>>
>> Mind you, I think the whole concept of divisions in the NFB is bogus.
>> First, a vast majority of them do absolutely nothing between national
>> conventions.  Second, they create rifts in the membership when
> power-hungry
>> members view elections in these divisions as a badge of importance.
> Third,
>> they distract us from the more important task of chipping away at the
>> fundamental challenges facing the blindness community.  If I were
> president
>> of the NFB for a day, my first order of business would be to eliminate
>> divisions in the way they exist today.  There are so many professional
>> organizations out there that we shouldn't create mirror groups within our
>> ranks to create little havens for blind people.
>>
>> My point is this:  The NFB cannot exist without members like you.  You are
>> the current youth and will be the future leader.  NFB members spend so
> much
>> time accepting and not enough time questioning and even less time acting,
>> and that is why several months ago I advanced the controversial idea that
> if
>> the NFB keeps going down its current path, it will virtually cease to
> exist
>> in 50 years.  More on that point in a future post, but to answer your
>> question:  The way you accommodate people with secondary disabilities is
> to
>> encourage them to get involved.  Get on the boards and make the
> organization
>> recognize and react to what may be a change in demographics.  A few years
>> ago when a group of people proposed the idea of establishing a GLBT
>> division, they were told that with enough support, the division would be
>> established.  I think we're still waiting on this group to get their act
>> together about drumming up support.  It's not enough to complain about
> what
>> you, you in the general sense, think the NFB leadership is or is not doing
>> to accommodate certain members.  Just like the NFB as a whole has to make
> a
>> good case to the general public that certain issues need to be addressed,
>> blind people with secondary disabilities need to come together and make a
>> case for why we as a whole need to be more conscious of their unique
> needs.
>>
>> Just my twenty dollar's worth,
>>
>> Joe
>>
>> "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves,
>> some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all."--Sam Ewing
>>
>>
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-- 
Darian Smith
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