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

Zach Mason zmason.northwindsfarm at gmail.com
Sun Jan 25 16:43:03 UTC 2015


All quotes from past president Kenneth Jernigan's "The Day After Civil
Rights" Banquet Speech at the Annual Convention Of the National Federation
of the Blind New Orleans, Louisiana, July 4, 1997



"As used in the late twentieth century, the term civil rights (although some
will deny it) always means force-an in-your-face attitude by the minority,
laws that make somebody do this or that, picketing, marches in the street,
court cases, and much else. And we have done those things, all of them. We
had to.

But there comes a day after civil rights. There must. Otherwise, the first
three stages (satisfying hunger, finding jobs, and getting civil rights)
have been in vain. The laws, the court cases, the confrontations, the jobs,
and even the satisfying of hunger can never be our prime focus. They are
preliminary. It is not that they disappear. Rather it is that they become a
foundation on which to build."

 

"Legislation cannot create understanding. Confrontation cannot create good
will, mutual acceptance, and respect. For that matter, legislation and
confrontation cannot create self-esteem. The search for self-esteem begins
in the period of civil rights, but the realization of self-esteem must wait
for the day after civil rights."

 

"We have not forgotten how to fight, and we will do it when we have to. We
must not become slack or cease to be vigilant, and we won't. But we have now
made enough progress to move to the next stage on the road to freedom. I
call it the day after civil rights."

 

"If a minority lives too long in an armed camp atmosphere, that minority
becomes poisoned and corroded. We must move beyond minority mentality and
victim thinking. This will be difficult-especially in today's society, where
hate and suspicion are a rising tide and where members of minorities are
encouraged and expected to feel bitterness and alienation and members of the
majority are encouraged and expected to feel guilt and preoccupation with
the past. . We must be willing to give to others as much as we want others
to give to us, and we must do it with good will and civility. We must make
the hard choices and take the long view."

 

"That birthright, equal responsibility as well as equal rights, is the very
essence of the NFB's philosophy. It is what we set out to get in 1940; it is
what we have fought for every step of the way; it is what we are now close
to achieving; and it is what we are absolutely determined to have. Equal
rights-equal responsibility."

 

"We are capable of working with the sighted, playing with the sighted, and
living with the sighted; and we are capable of doing it on terms of complete
equality. Likewise, the sighted are capable of doing the same with us-and
for the most part I think they want to. What we need is not confrontation
but understanding, an understanding that runs both ways. This means an
ongoing process of communication and public education." 

 

 

Zachary Mason

Assistant Shepherd and Young Stock Manager

Northwinds Farm

(603) 922-8377 Work

(603) 991-6747 Cell

 <mailto:zmason at northwindsfarm@gmail.com> zmason at northwindsfarm@gmail.com 

 

806 U.S. Route 3

North Stratford, NH 03590

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Kathryn Webster <kathrynwebster.nfb at gmail.com>

Sent: Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:55:04 -0500

To: Elizabeth Mohnke <lizmohnke at hotmail.com>,       National Association of

            Blind Students mailing list <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>

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

Message-ID: <831A2FCA-69EE-4F0C-A072-4969C7058EEF at gmail.com>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

 

Elizabeth,

            Please do feel free to reach out to me off list. I am currently
a sophomore undergrad at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Though I
have not had a negative experience, I would love to explore the reasoning
behind yours and hopefully put you in touch with uplifting and encouraging
leaders in our movement.

It is exceedingly unfortunate that you have faced such difficulties, and I
am ready to tackle them, not just among the students.

My email address is kathrynwebster.nfb at gmail.com

Please do contact me if you are interested in further exploring this.

Kathryn

 

Kathryn C. Webster

Board Member | National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut

President | North Carolina Association of Blind Students

Treasurer | Connecticut Association of Blind Students

Board Member | The Science and Engineering Division

(Coordinator | Connecticut BELL Program

Executive Editor | The Federationist Newsletter

203) 273-8463

kathrynwebster.nfb at gmail.com

 

On Jan 20, 2015, at 6:06 PM, Elizabeth Mohnke via nabs-l <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
wrote:

 

> Hello Carl,

> 

> I was trying to frame my questions in a more positive way because
continuing

> to focus on the negative only seems to upset me and create more
negativity.

> I have shared bits and pieces of my specific experience with a number of

> individuals privately, and sharing these specifics of my personal
experience

> with others has never really done anything to answer the question as to
why

> I am treated so poorly within the National Federation of the Blind. 

> 

> As I have already stated, my overall experience within the NFB has been

> marked with harsh criticism and rejection rather than encouragement,

> support, and acceptance. Because of this I am questioning why I keep
trying

> to remain a part of the National Federation of the Blind. 

> 

> Therefore, I thought it would be beneficial to hear why others are a part
of

> the NFB, what factors make their experience a positive one rather than a

> negative one, and the strengths of the organization. I thought perhaps
this

> would help me identify any positives from my own experience even though it

> is rather negative. I also wanted to see how I might be able to make my

> experience with the NFB a more positive one while trying to prevent
someone

> else from having the same negative experience as me.

> 

> However, it would appear as though trying to use this more positive
approach

> has not been all that successful, and I apologize for bringing up such a

> controversial subject on the email list.

> 

> Warm regards,

> Elizabeth

> 

> -----Original Message-----

> From: Karl Martin Adam [mailto:kmaent1 at gmail.com] 

> Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 12:01 PM

> 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/kathrynwebster.nfb%40gma
il.com

 

 

 

 

------------------------------

 

 




More information about the nabs-l mailing list