[nabs-l] Why Are You a Member of the NFB?

Kayla James christgirl813 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 19:30:39 UTC 2015


I hope non-members can join in this. Frankly, Elizabeth asked some
questions I've wanted to ask. Here is another: have any of you ever
tried going to any other organization for the blind to check them out,
too?
But here is what I love about the NFB. Okay this may be selfish, but
they give away free stuff and it is free stuff that you actually need
and when it breaks you can get another one (the white cane program and
the slate and stylus program). I loved the Kernel Books. Every time I
look at them I am reminded that the NFB is not some radical,
protesting cult, but actually just a family who is just separated by
different states and counties and who get together every summer for a
family reunion.
I am beginning to make friends in the NFB and I'm not even in it. That
amazes me. The other amazing part, they actually care. That's cool!
I love the philosophy. Being blind is okay, we can be just like
sighted people just use different techniques.
So have I gone to an NFB training center? No. Have I gone to a few
meetings? Yeah, a couple. Have I joined yet? A good ninety percent of
me is already a Federationist in my heart and mind, but the other
percent is unsure. So, no, I have not joined. But I just want to jump
in this, so thanks.

Kayla



On 1/20/15, Michael D Ausbun via nabs-l <nabs-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> Hello All:
> 	My answer to why I joined the NFB, and by extension NABS, is quite simple:
> a friend asked me to. One of my close friends is extremely active within the
> student division in Nevada and felt obligated to convince me to join;
> therefore, I did.
> 	Now, the reason I have stayed, even though I went 19 years without any NFB
> interactions, is the simple fact that I admire some of the members personal
> Philosophies and their acknowledgement of the need to be independent. From
> my experience working with blind individuals, before the NFB, I had a sense
> of entitlement. If it wasn’t the blind individuals asking things like “What
> can society give me,” or demanding that the society we live in provide them
> with more, then it was sighted folks assuming that I, as a blind individual,
> was less capable than a ‘normal’ individual of society.
> 	After Joining the National Federation of the Blind, I found individuals who
> believe as I do; though the world is not always accessible, it is not the
> duty of the world to be so; if I want something, I have to work for it. Now,
> that isn’t to say the world ought not to be more accessible—that is a
> different thread topic, I suppose. Anyways, the ideals like self-advocacy
> and a blind person ought to do what they want keep me around. Oh, that and I
> rather enjoy seeing and interacting with successful members of the community
> who are blind (Viz Arielle, Karl, and kaiti, Anil Lewis, Kimmey Beverly and
> Derik).
> Respectfully,
> Michael
>
> ________________________________________
> From: nabs-l [nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] on behalf of Karl Martin Adam via
> nabs-l [nabs-l at nfbnet.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 9:00 AM
> To: Elizabeth Mohnke; National Association of Blind Students mailing list
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Why Are You a Member of the NFB?
>
> Hi Elizabeth, I understand why you might want to be vague about
> exactly what your negative experiences have been, but this makes
> it difficult for any of us to give you constructive answers.
> Without knowing what problems you've had and how they came about,
> we can't tell you what we've done differently or point out that
> we've interacted with different people or realize that we
> evaluate certain things as being less negative or anything like
> that.  At least in my case, one difference in our experience is
> probably that I've never had a need or desire to contact the
> president of the organization or anyone that powerful and busy.
> My interactions have been mostly with ordinary members, who have
> in the vast majority of cases been open and welcoming.  I'm also
> primarily a member because I support the NFB's advocacy goals,
> not because I'm looking for self-affirmation from leadership.
> That being said, when I was young, I was involved in the local
> mentoring program led by Allan Harris where I learned Braille and
> my basic mobility skills, which was overwhelmingly a positive
> experience.  As Arielle said, it is very sad that you, and
> others, have had negative experiences, and we should all work to
> reduce those as much as possible.  I hope that you can feel
> comfortable enough to talk about exactly what problems you've
> had, so that people can try to fix them.  Of course, I can think
> of many reasons you might not want to do that, so please don't
> feel pressured in any way.
>
> Best,
> Karl
>
>  ----- Original Message -----
> From: Elizabeth Mohnke via nabs-l <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> To: "'Manners, Derek'" <dmanners at jd16.law.harvard.edu>,"'National
> Association of Blind Students mailing list'" <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> Date sent: Tue, 20 Jan 2015 10:47:32 -0500
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Why Are You a Member of the NFB?
>
> Hello Justin,
>
> Thank you for sharing your experience with the National
> Federation of the
> Blind. However, I am honestly wondering if we are talking about
> the same
> organization here as my overall experience with the National
> Federation of
> the Blind is absolutely nothing like what you have described in
> this email.
> What do you believe accounts for these differences? What makes
> your overall
> experience so positive while my overall experience has been so
> negative? Why
> have you been able to find encouraging words from people who
> truly seem to
> care about you while I have mostly received criticism and
> rejection from
> peple who do not seem to care all that much about me? I have a
> lot more
> questions, but I am honestly not sure which ones would be
> appropriate to
> post on such a public email list.
>
> And for those of you who believe my negative experience with the
> National
> Federation of the Blind simply stems from a bad interaction with
> leaders on
> a local level, I simply do not agree with you. My negative
> experience with
> the National Federation of the Blind appears to occur at all
> levels of the
> organization. Whether it be my first interaction with an NFB
> board member,
> an email exchange with the new President of the NFB, interactions
> with the
> NABS board, or interactions with state affiliate and local
> chapter leaders,
> I would say that most of these interactions are nothing like what
> you have
> described in your email.
>
> And so I am just wondering, and I have been wondering this for
> quite some
> time now, why are there such drastic differences between what I
> have
> experienced as a member of the National Federation of the Blind
> and what
> others have experienced as members of the National Federation of
> the Blind?
> I honestly feel as though I have been sold a lot of empty
> promises and false
> advertising because for me the NFB has never really been anything
> that
> anyone has ever told me it would be. Hopefully, I have framed my
> questions
> in such a way that they elicit a constructive positive dialog
> rather than
> offend anyone who believes my overall experience with the
> National
> Federation of the Blind could possibly be anything less than
> positive.
>
> Warm regards,
> Elizabeth
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nabs-l [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of
> Manners, Derek
> via nabs-l
> Sent: Monday, January 19, 2015 11:03 PM
> To: Justin Salisbury; National Association of Blind Students
> mailing list
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Why Are You a Member of the NFB?
>
> I would add to Justin's words and say that the main reason I
> chose the
> National Federation of the Blind over the ACB is that the NFB
> tries to make
> the word accessible for blind people and expects us to be a part
> of it.
> For example, in Massachusetts, our state treasurer (a blind
> Harvard
> graduate) was the first blind teacher in America in large part
> due to
> pressure and advocacy from the NFB.  The NFB of MA pushed for
> blind people
> to be able to buy life insurance for the same price as sighted
> people and
> not to be discriminated against due to our disability.  The NFB
> of MA also
> pushed to allow blind people to serve on juries.  Can you imagine
> a world in
> which we could not sit on juries despite being lawyers,
> scientists,
> teachers, etc.?  We are continuing to make strides in accessible
> voting,
> accessible ATMs, accessible taxis.  However, these efforts were
> started by
> the NFB.  The reason Apple and iTunes are so accessible is
> because of
> lawsuits by the NFB.
>
> Those efforts of the past have made the world a better place for
> blind
> people.  If our generation has as much success, the world will be
> that much
> closer to full accessibility and that is why I'm with the NFB.
>
> I understand that some states are better than others and that it
> can be very
> frustrating when you don't feel like you can work with the people
> in your
> state.  I'd be happy to talk to you off list about those issues
> as I had a
> similar issue in Massachusetts when I first joined.  Our state
> president at
> the time was overwhelmed by the job and did not respond to me for
> months at
> a time.
>
> Best Wishes
> Derek Manners
>
> On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 10:26 PM, Justin Salisbury via nabs-l <
> nabs-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>
>  Dear Elizabeth,
>
>  Thank you for catalyzing this discussion. I'm going to reply
> with my
>  knee-jerk answers and may follow up later if more ideas develop.
> I
>  think the answer that comes by reflex can be the most authentic.
>
>  Why do you choose to be a member of the National Federation of
> the Blind?
>  The National Federation of the Blind has created so many
> opportunities
>  for me and changed the world before I was even born. When I
> became a
>  blind person in 2005, the society that I faced was much better
> because
>  of the 65 years of work of the National Federation of the Blind.
> I
>  believe it is my duty to the people who came before me (people I
> will
>  never meet) and to those blind people of the future to carry the
> baton
>  and run my leg of the race. I actually keep a quote from Dr.
>  Jernigan's speech about climbing the stairs to freedom in my
> email
> signature. You can read it if you like.
>  I also have found so many mentors through the Federation who
> have
>  changed my life by changing how I look at it. Before I found the
>  Federation, I used to wield blindness as a source of pity to get
>  scholarship money and to impress news reporters with the fact
> that I
>  would get out of bed every morning. At my first NFB event, a
> state
>  convention where I was a scholarship winner, I was trying to
> complain
>  about how hard science was as a blind person. Three blind people
>  surrounded me and started encouraging me, telling me that the
>  Federation would help me get through it. They were a chemist, a
> civil
>  engineer, and an environmental scientist. I wanted pity, but
> they
>  wouldn't let me give up on myself. Still today, we have 50,000
> blind
>  people who won't accept low expectations for blind people. We
> have
>  training centers that give people their lives back-or give them
> the lives
> they never had but always deserved. I can't not be  a part of
> that.
>
>  If you believe your experience with the National Federation of
> the
>  blind is a positive one, what do you believe are the key factors
> that
>  you believe makes your experience positive rather than negative?
>
>  1. Good Mentoring
>  2. Good Blind Role Models
>  3. Learning about leadership
>  4. Helping other people by empowering them 5. Nourishment in the
>  philosophy that equips me to face the low expectations in
> society and
>  do it effectively 6. Friendship with a lot of great people 7.
> Let's
>  not forget all the fun! Things like room parties at national
>  convention, pie-in-the-face fundraisers, latin dancing, you name
> it!
>
>  And finally, what do you believe are the current strengths of
> the
>  National Federation of the Blind as it looks into the future?
>
>  1. Relationship-oriented leadership: our personal relationships
> in our
>  movement help carry us through the tough times and are still fun
> in
>  the good times 2. Focus on a common goal: We're all fighting for
> the
>  same thing.
>  3. Giving each other second chances: For example, I made some
> pretty
>  bad mistakes in my campaign for NABS President, and a lot of the
> NABS
>  members and leaders-and National Federation of the Blind members
> and
>  leaders-could have chosen to never let me live those down. The
> totem
>  animal in my Native American name is the Phoenix, which can
> burst into
>  flame and be reborn any time it wants to reinvent itself. I have
> been
>  able to reinvent myself, but a necessary part of that is others'
>  willingness to let me. I bring this up because, no matter what
> it is
>  that people have on you or against you, if they are truly
> leaders in
>  our movement, they will give you a chance to reinvent yourself.
> It's
>  all about us getting to the same common goals, right?
>  4. We have a rock-solid understanding of something that is true.
> The
>  National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the
>  characterist 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.
>
>  With much love for my Federation family,
>
>  Justin Salisbury
>
>  Justin Salisbury - Running Thunder Phoenix Graduate Student
>  Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness
> Louisiana
>  Tech University
>  Email: jms132 at latech.edu
>  Twitter: @SalisburyJustin
>
>  But, of course, we will not fail. We will continue to climb. Our
>  heritage demands it; our faith confirms it; our humanity
> requires it.
>  Whatever the sacrifice, we will make it. Whatever the price, we
> will
>  pay it. Seen from this perspective, the hostility and backlash
> (the
>  challenges and
>  confrontations) are hardly worth noticing. They are only an
> irritant.
>  My brothers and my sisters, the future is ours. Come! Join me on
> the
>  stairs, and we will finish the journey.
>  - Dr. Kenneth Jernigan
>
>  -----Original Message-----
>  From: nabs-l [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of
> Elizabeth
>  Mohnke via nabs-l
>  Sent: Monday, January 19, 2015 8:52 PM
>  To: 'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'
>  Subject: [nabs-l] Why Are You a Member of the NFB?
>
>  Hello All,
>
>  It appears to me that I have started to become a rather
> disheartened
>  member of the NFB. Although, I am sure some of you would argue
> that I
>  am already there. Anyway, as I try to work through the questions
> that
>  seem to keep rumbling through my mind, I thought I would ask a
> few
>  questions to spur on some discussion on this email list.
>
>  Why do you choose to be a member of the National Federation of
> the Blind?
>  If you believe your experience with the National Federation of
> the
>  blind is a positive one, what do you believe are the key factors
> that
>  you believe makes your experience positive rather than negative?
> And
>  finally, what do you believe are the current strengths of the
> National
>  Federation of the Blind as it looks into the future?
>
>  Please feel free to answer any or all of the questions, or any
> other
>  question related to these ones. If you feel as though you relate
> more
>  to being a member of the National Association of Blind Students
> rather
>  than the National Federation of the Blind as a whole, you can
> answer
>  these questions from this point of view as well.
>
>  I look forward to hearing your responses.
>
>  Warm regards,
>  Elizabeth
>
>  _______________________________________________
>  nabs-l mailing list
>  nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>  http://nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
>  To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account
> info for
>  nabs-l:
>
>
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/president%40a
> lumni
>  .ecu.edu
>
>  _______________________________________________
>  nabs-l mailing list
>  nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>  http://nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
>  To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account
> info for
>  nabs-l:
>
>
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/dmanners%40jd
> 16.la
>  w.harvard.edu
>
> _______________________________________________
> nabs-l mailing list
> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info
> for
> nabs-l:
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/lizmohnke%40h
> otmail.com
>
> _______________________________________________
> nabs-l mailing list
> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info
> for nabs-l:
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/kmaent1%40gma
> il.com
>
> _______________________________________________
> nabs-l mailing list
> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for
> nabs-l:
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/mausbun%40unr.edu
>
> _______________________________________________
> nabs-l mailing list
> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for
> nabs-l:
> http://nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/christgirl813%40gmail.com
>




More information about the nabs-l mailing list