[NABS-L] April 2018 NABS Notes

Melissa Carney carne23m at mtholyoke.edu
Wed May 2 02:24:10 UTC 2018

Good evening NABSters,


What a crazy time of year! Most of us are in the midst of preparing for, or
taking, final exams. The semester is coming to a close, and summer is just
around the corner. I hope that you have all gained the most out of your
academic experiences and personal endeavors, and continue to pursue your
aspirations over the next few months. Make sure to give yourself a break;
you deserve it. Feel free to read about what NABS has been up to during the
month of April. Please find the link to our online version of the NABS notes
below, followed by the notes themselves. A copy of the NABS notes is also
attached to this email for your convenience. We continuously strive to
update and improve the format and content of our monthly bulletin, so your
suggestions and recommendations are much appreciated.



NABS Notes: April 2018  

In this issue, you will find:  

*         President's Note  

*         NABS Code of Conduct  

*         2018 NABS Mentoring Program  

*         2018 Southeast Regional Student Seminar  

*         NFB Engineering Quotient Program  

*         NABS Committee Updates  

*         State Division Updates  

*         April Blog Post  

*         NABS Facebook Group  

*         Board Meeting Minutes | April 2018  

President's Note  

Energized is an understatement for the overwhelming emotions I feel after an
empowering and uplifting Midwest regional student seminar in Chicago, IL at
the end of April. With representation from six states and over 50
participants, we spent an unforgettable weekend of bonding, learning, and
growing together. This was ideal timing as we are now just two months away
from National Convention. I am thankful for our national president's
leadership and ability to motivate others toward a shared vision, as our
national board successfully adopted a code of conduct, one that exemplifies
our policies as an organization. President Riccobono spent Sunday night,
April 22 with NABS members as he shared the importance of these standards
and ways in which to continue implementing such ideas. We are eager to
continue upholding our federation policies through continued dialogue
surrounding the notions outlined in our NABS code of conduct. As always, I
welcome input, suggestions, and questions as President Riccobono identified
that this is an ongoing process of improvement, and one in which our members
most certainly have a say.  

On the 4th of July, we will join together at our annual business meeting. As
I finalize the agenda, I welcome suggestions and input to make sure your
needs are met. Spoiler alert: The NABS Business Meeting will only last TWO
hours.yes, two hours! Come make a new NABS record for the shortest business
meeting of all time; and it would not be worth the hours without you with
us! The format will be a little different, so stay tuned and please provide
input! I am thankful for the unequivocal support thus far; and excited to
see if our membership will welcome me with open arms for another two years
as your NABS president. We have several positions up for elections and
aspiring young leaders eager to join our leadership team. Please do let me
know if you are one of these people. Once our Nominating Committee is
appointed, I will announce the individuals who will be serving in said
capacity. Always remember that we are here for each other and supporting
each other one day at a time. Good luck with finals, fellow students; and
happy Spring!  


NABS Code of Conduct  

Below, please find the recently adopted NABS Code of Conduct. Though these
policies and expectations have been implicitly articulated, now the explicit
illustration further strengthens our Federation standards of excellence. Any
questions or concerns can be directed to President Kathryn Webster at
<mailto:NABS.president at gmail.com> NABS.president at gmail.com  


I. Introduction  

The National Association of Blind Students is part of a nationwide community
of members and friends who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation's
blind. The Federation 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. To help carry out the Federation's vital mission, this Code of Conduct
sets forth policies and standards that all members, especially Federation
leaders, are expected to adopt and follow.  


II. Diversity Policy  

The National Association of Blind Students embraces diversity and full
participation as core values in its mission to achieve equality,
opportunity, and security for the blind. We are committed to building and
maintaining a national division that is unified in its priorities and
programs and is directed by the membership. We respect differences of
opinion, beliefs, identities, and other characteristics that demonstrate
that blind people are a diverse cross section of society. Furthermore, the
division is dedicated to continuing to establish new methods of membership
and leadership development that reflect the diversity of the entire blind
community. In promoting a diverse and growing organization, we expect
integrity and honesty in our relationships with each other and openness to
learning about and experiencing cultural diversity. We believe that these
qualities are crucial to fostering social and intellectual maturity.  

Intellectual maturity also requires individual struggle with unfamiliar
ideas. We recognize that our views and convictions will be challenged, and
we expect this challenge to take place in a climate of tolerance and mutual
respect in order to maintain a united organization. While we encourage the
exchange of differing ideas and experiences, we do not condone the use of
demeaning, derogatory, or discriminatory language, action, or any other form
of expression intended to marginalize an individual or group. The National
Association of Blind Students does not tolerate discrimination on the basis
of race, creed, color, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual
orientation, national origin, citizenship, marital status, age, genetic
information, disability, or any other characteristic or intersectionality of


III. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy  

The National Association of Blind Students will not tolerate discrimination
on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, gender identity and
expression, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, marital
status, age, genetic information, disability, or any other characteristic or
intersectionality of characteristics. Harassment on the basis of any of
these characteristics similarly will not be tolerated. Although this Code of
Conduct establishes a minimum standard prohibiting discrimination and
harassment, nothing in this Code should be interpreted to limit in any way a
person's right to report abuse or harassment to law enforcement when

Sexual harassment is prohibited by state and federal law and also will not
be tolerated by the National Association of Blind Students. Complaints of
harassment may be lodged by a female against a male, by a female against a
female, by a male against a male, or by a male against a female. Sexual
harassment is defined as "unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual
favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical
conduct or communication of a sexual nature." The following conduct is
either considered conduct that by itself is sexual harassment, or that has
the potential risk of causing sexual harassment to occur, and this conduct
is therefore prohibited:  

*                     unwelcome inappropriate physical contact or touching;

*                     repeating of sexually suggestive

jokes/references/innuendoes and comments about an individual's body/sexual
prowess/physical attributes/dress;  

*                     the use of sexually derogatory

language/pictures/videos toward/about another person;  

*                     the use of inappropriate sexual gestures;  

*                     sexually suggestive propositions; and  

*                     explicit or implicit threats that failure to submit

will have negative consequences.  

Under this policy, harassment can be verbal, written, or physical conduct
that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because
of his or her race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender
identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, marital status,
citizenship, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by
law; or that of his or her relatives, friends, or associates, and that a)
has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive
environment; b) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with
an individual's performance or involvement in the organization; or c)
otherwise adversely affects an individual's opportunities for
participation/advancement in the organization.  

Harassing conduct includes epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping;
threatening, intimidating or hostile acts including bullying; denigrating
jokes; and written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or
aversion toward an individual or group that is placed on walls or elsewhere
on the organization's premises or circulated by email, phone (including
voice messages), text messages, social networking sites, or other means.  


IV. Social Media and Web Policy  

All members of the Federation, but especially officers of National
Association of Blind Students, should follow these recommended guidelines
when making comments online, posting to a blog, using
Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/YouTube/Pinterest/Instagram/similar tools, and/or
using other platforms that fall under the definition of social media:  

*         Promote the mission and branding message of the organization in


*         Recognize that you are morally and legally responsible for

comments/pictures posted online.  

*         Be aware that the audience includes members and nonmembers of the

NFB, both youth and adults, representing diverse cultures and backgrounds.  

*         Refrain from using profanity/derogatory language.  

*         Post/respond with integrity. Though you may disagree with a post,

be respectful and factual. Do not fight or air personal grievances online.  

*         Do not post materials that are inappropriate for children/minors

to view/share/read.  


V. Conflict of Interest Policy  

Each National Association of Blind Students officer (hereafter national
division leader) is expected to take appropriate responsibility to protect
the Federation from misappropriation or mismanagement of Federation funds
(including funds of the division in which the national division leader
assumes a leadership role).  

Each national division leader is expected to disclose the existence of any
potentially conflicting personal financial interest or relationship to the
full National Association of Blind Students Board of Directors and seek its
review and approval, as specified below. For example:  

*         A national division leader must seek board review and approval of

his or her receipt of salary or compensation of any kind from the Federation
(including an affiliate, chapter, or division).  

*         A national division leader must seek board review and approval of

receipt by his or her spouse, parent, child, sibling, or other close
relative of salary or compensation of any kind from the Federation
(including an affiliate, chapter, or division).  

*         A national division leader must seek board review and approval of

any ownership interest exceeding 5 percent in or of any salary,
compensation, commission, or significant tangible gift from any commercial
venture doing business or seeking to do business with the Federation
(including an affiliate, chapter, or division). This process will also apply
to the review of such interests involving spouses, parents, children,
siblings, or other close relatives.  

*         In reviewing matters brought pursuant to this section, the

division officer seeking division board review and approval will refrain
from voting.  

*         Each national division leader shall take appropriate steps to

avoid unauthorized or inaccurate appearances or official endorsement by the
Federation (including an affiliate, chapter, or division) of any product,
service, or activity that has not been so endorsed. For example, because the
Federation never endorses political parties or candidates for elected
office, any national division leader participating in the political process
must take care to avoid creating an appearance of official Federation


VI. Policy While Interacting with Minors  

For purposes of this Code of Conduct and consistent with most legal
standards, a minor is any individual under the age of eighteen. While
interacting with any minor, a national division officer shall recognize that
a minor cannot legally give consent for any purpose even if said minor is
verbally or otherwise expressing consent. For example, a minor may say that
he/ or she consents to physical interaction. However, such consent is not
valid or legal and should not be accepted. A parent or guardian must be
informed and consulted about any action requiring consent from the minor. A
national division leader shall report any inappropriate interactions between
adults and minors to the minor's parents and law enforcement when


VII. Alcohol and Drug Policy  

Although alcoholic beverages are served at some Federation social functions,
members and Federation leaders may not participate in any such functions in
a condition that prevents them from participating safely and from conducting
Federation business effectively or that might cause embarrassment to or
damage the reputation of the Federation. The Federation prohibits the
possession, sale, purchase, delivery, dispensing, use, or transfer of
illegal substances on Federation property or at Federation functions.  


VIII. Other General Principles  

In addition to the other policies and standards set-forth herein, officers
of the National Association of Blind Students (hereafter national division
leaders) shall adhere to the following standards:  

*         National division leaders shall practice accountability and
transparency in all activities and transactions.  


*         National division leaders shall foster a welcoming environment at

NFB meetings, events, and conferences that is a cooperative and productive
atmosphere for all members and nonmembers.  

*         National division leaders shall interact with NFB staff in a

professional manner and follow proper channels of authority and

*         National division leaders shall positively promote the NFB through

verbal and written communication.  

*         Whenever possible, national division leaders and members are

strongly encouraged to handle conflicts or complaints involving other
members privately, directly, and respectfully. Nothing in this standard is
intended to limit a national division leader's or member's right to pursue
organizational change through appropriate methods or to limit anyone's right
to file a complaint for violation of this Code when necessary.  


IX. Violations and Complaint Procedure  

Violations of this Code of Conduct, after first being established through
the process set-forth below, are subject to disciplinary action by the
Federation. Such disciplinary actions may include but are not limited to
counselling, verbal and/or written reprimand, probation, suspension or
termination of officer/leadership duties, and/or suspension or expulsion
from the Federation.  

*         Any complaint for a violation of this Code of Conduct shall be
filed with the national division president. The national division president
shall appoint a committee of no more than four persons to investigate the
complaint and provide a recommendation for action or lack thereof. The
committee shall be comprised of persons not directly involved in the matters
being raised and who can be completely unbiased about the individuals and
issues addressed in the complaint. Every effort shall be made to appoint a
committee reflecting the broad diversity of individuals in the Federation.
The national division president shall inform the national President in a
timely fashion of any complaints filed and report on the resolution of such

*         Complaints shall be treated as confidential in order to protect

the identity and reputation of the person about whom the complaint is filed
and the person filing the complaint.  

*         All complaints shall be filed as promptly as possible. Except
under extreme circumstances, no complaint shall be accepted or investigated
after a year from the time of the alleged violation of this Code.

*         Complaints that turn out to be false and used for the purpose of
harassing, intimidating, or retaliating against someone will be subject to
the same kind of disciplinary action enumerated above.  

*         Any person dissatisfied with the resolution of a complaint may
file an appeal with the National Association of Blind Students Board of
Directors, which may, in its discretion, take such action as it deems
necessary. If a person is still dissatisfied, such person may raise the
matter to the national board of directors, which may, in its discretion,
take whatever action it deems necessary. No national or state board member
shall participate in the consideration of an appeal under this Code if such
board member is the subject of the complaint or if such board member cannot
be completely unbiased, impartial, and fair while considering the matter.  


X. Minimum Standard  

This Code of Conduct is intended to recite a minimum set of standards
expected of Federation members. It sets forth the spirit that the Federation
expects of all of its participants toward each other and toward those who
work with the Federation at all of its levels. It is intended to be
interpreted broadly to instill a respectful, cooperative, and welcoming
spirit in members and in the activities of the Federation.  


XI. Federation Pledge and Acknowledgement of Code of Conduct  

I, (national division leader), pledge to participate actively in the efforts
of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity,
and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the
Federation; and to abide by its Constitution. I further acknowledge that I
have read this Code of Conduct and that I will follow its policies,
standards, and principles.  


2018 NABS Mentoring Program  

The power of mentoring comes full circle when our fellow Federationists
teach, learn, and share together during the commemorating National
Convention. This year is no different; and NABS is here before, during, and
after our family reunion to pair our students up with both students and
non-students alike with similar interests, career paths, and passions.
Applications for mentors and mentees go live on Tuesday, May 15; and close
on June 15! Visit  <http://www.nabslink.org> www.nabslink.org to apply.
Contact Katy Olson or Tarik Williams for more information!  


2018 Southeast Regional Student Seminar  

More information to come!  

The NFB Southeast Regional Student Seminar will take place from Friday,
August 10 to Sunday, August 12 at the Jernigan Institute. At this seminar,
students from the southeast states will sharpen their skills in advocacy,
network with fellow blind students, and gain insight and encouragement from
student and national leaders in the Federation.  


NFB Engineering Quotient Program  

Who: 30 blind and low-vision students currently enrolled in grades 9 through
12 in the United States  

When: Sunday, July 29 to Saturday, August 4, 2018  

Where: The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute in Baltimore,

Cost: No registration fees! The NFB will cover travel expenses, room, and
board for the week.  

Do you have a passion for engineering? Are you interested in the field, but
are not quite sure how to navigate the logistics as a blind individual?  

If so, then the NFB EQ program is a perfect fit for you. NFB EQ is a
week-long summer engineering program for blind and low-vision teenagers from
around the United States. 30 participants have the opportunity to enhance
their engineering knowledge, engage with new problem-solving skills, build
friendships, and enjoy recreational activities along the way. Blind students
will work with researchers from Utah State University and educators from the
Science Museum of Minnesota, who will facilitate hands-on activities and
connect students with highly qualified blind adult mentors. Students will
learn the spatial skills and mental mapping techniques that are all too
often left out of their education. Spatial reasoning is one of the most
significant components of engineering. As such, the blind youth who attend
NFB EQ will be able to develop and hone their skills in STEM fields,
strengthen their ability to travel independently with a white cane or guide
dog, and achieve greater overall success. "A combination of lack of
knowledge about nonvisual techniques and society's low expectations for the
blind prevents far too many blind children from developing spatial reasoning
skills and, if they desire, participating in engineering or other fields
that use these skills," said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National
Federation of the Blind. "We have dedicated significant resources to
changing this unacceptable status quo, and we thank the National Science
Foundation and our partners at Utah State and the Science Museum of
Minnesota for helping us accelerate our progress and broaden our reach." NFB
EQ aims to create ways to conceptualize spatial thinking by implementing
nonvisual techniques to facilitate, motivate, and open pathways towards
engineering and educational goals. It goes without saying that students will
gain greater self-confidence and independence. If you are ready to embrace
adventure, then this is the program for you!  

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, May 1, 2018. For more information, please
visit  <http://www.blindscience.org/nfbeq> http://www.blindscience.org/nfbeq

To apply, please visit  <https://nfb.org/eq-application>


NABS Committee Updates  

Get involved!  

*         Legislative Advocacy Committee  

The Legislative Advocacy Committee is in the process of updating the
Self-Advocacy in Higher Education Toolkit, and we are beginning to implement
the NABS Legislative Toolkit at affiliate gatherings. We have some exciting
projects in the works and look forward to announcing them to the membership
very soon. We welcome all feedback, and we hope you will consider joining us
for our monthly calls which take place the second Sunday of the month at 8pm
eastern standard time.  


*         Fundraising Committee  

The Fundraising Committee has been hard at work planning for events leading
up to and for our 2018 National Convention! Our NABS cookbooks are available
to order via our website for $15 and are available in Braille, large print,
regular print and e-format. The comedy showcase, hosted in Pekin, Illinois,
is gaining excitement throughout the community. We are excited to have 11
talented comedians make people laugh and help raise funds for the National
Association of Blind Students. Can you believe that Convention is right
around the corner? NABS is planning to collaborate with the skillful student
artist, Elizabeth Scheeler, who will create a special NFB keychain to be
sold at our exhibit hall table. If you are interested in joining the
Fundraising Committee, please join us on our monthly conference calls every
second Thursday of the month at 9 pm eastern on the NABS line.  


*         Outreach Committee  

The Outreach Committee has been hard at work trying to expand our membership
and reach out to as many students as possible. Currently, we have a
membership database project underway, where we are creating a NABS News
Letter which will go out to all universities, state rehab councilors, and
scholarship applicants. This entails also building such a list of
recipients. I am sure you all have joined our new Facebook group and already
follow our page, but if not please do so. This new group will serve as an
outlet for discussion amongst blind students on Facebook and we hope to
continue expanding our social media presence. As always, we have a new and
exciting membership call on the last Sunday of the month at 8PM Eastern
where we discuss different topics related to life as a blind student. If any
student would like to write a blog post to be featured on our online blog,
let us know as we have a new one every month. Our committee calls are the
second Tuesday of the month and we would love to have you join. A notice is
always sent out on the NABS mailing list announcing the date and time of the

*         National Convention Planning Committee  

NABS is proud to announce a new ad hoc committee for all things Convention.
We will be planning 4 student events in conjunction with the other
committees in an effort  to prepare us for fundraising, member engagement,
and best of all fun! The events we are planning are NABS Olympics, NABS
Mentoring Program, volunteer coordination for exhibit hall table, Student
Networking event, and door prizes at our special events! Join us every other
Monday at 8pm eastern on the NABS line!  


State Division Updates  

Are you curious to see what your fellow students are up to? Please check out
the following updates from several of our proud divisions.  

Please note: All text was taken directly from our state student division
leadership and not amended in any way.  

*         Massachusetts  

The MASSABS board has been hard at work finding new ways to engage students
and continuing to build the division. On April 14, MASSABS held their annual
spring social at Sky Zone trampoline park where students participated in
various activities such as trampoline dodge ball, a ninja obstacle course,
basketball, and jumping into a foam pit. There were two new students in
attendance, and everyone had a great time getting out of their comfort zone
and interacting with one another. The board will be holding a call in the
coming days to discuss plans for moving forward and increasing outreach
efforts as well as planning more interactive socials for the coming year.  


*         Maryland  

MDABS is in full swing! With several restaurant fundraisers coming up,
national convention on the horizon, and a regional seminar in the works,
Maryland is in the midst of a great year that is sure to be remembered. We
are working on projects to build membership and member involvement and are
looking forward to the next few months!  


*         California  

Spring is here with gorgeous weather, beautiful temperatures, and the time
has finally arrived as the California Association of Blind Students are
pleased and excited to announce and share that we have been working
extremely hard on building membership in not just our student division, but
in the entire affiliate of California, as well as the entire National
Federation of the Blind, since after all, we are the students of today, yet
the leaders of tomorrow. Our first annual reception is on Saturday, April
28th at Shakey's Pizza, located in Inglewood, CA at 935 W. Arbor Vitae
Street. We will be having speakers from our board members as well as guest
speakers from rehab counselors. As of now, we have a total of 30 students
attending our event and we are thankful to the NABS board and everyone else
who have helped support us along the way as we are moving along in expanding
our movement. Come enjoy a day of delicious food, win prizes, and meet other
blind students. Whoever brings a fellow blind friend will have their name
thrown into a raffle and YOU will have the opportunity to win the ultimate
grand prize which is an Amazon Echo! Thank you and let us all rejoice and go
build the Federation!  


*         Iowa  

Greetings from the students in Iowa! We have been hard at work building our
newly formed student division the past few months. This month we will be
starting the process of reaching out to the college/university disability
offices to invite blind students at their institutions to our state
convention this fall. We hope that this will help grow our membership and
get people connected to our division and affiliate.  


*         Arizona  

Greetings from Arizona! This month we held a meeting with the Arizona board,
the Texas student president, Iowa student president, and California student
president. The goal was to share different successes and struggles
encountered in different states to better brainstorm new and innovative
ideas. The call was a great success and I thank each of the student leaders
for their participation in our call. Additionally, we are working to
implement a mentoring program in Arizona between student board members and
potential, or new members. Thanks for taking the time to hear what we are
doing in Arizona and let's continue to build this federation together.  


April Blog Post  

Genuine connections with local people. Hands-on learning alongside peers. A
shared appreciation of the area's history. For Justice Shorter, these
experiences are what characterized her time in Uganda and Rwanda as a true

"There's an undeniable vibe that moves through the air" Justice Shorter
ascribes to her temporary home in northern Uganda and Rwanda. "My study
abroad experience gave me the chance to encounter that time and time again."

As a graduate student at SIT Graduate Institute, Justice chose to study on
SIT's Peace & Post Conflict Reconciliation summer program in Uganda and
Rwanda to observe how inclusive development can be used to alleviate the
effects of poverty while working towards her Master's in Sustainable

The program promised to provide an on-the-ground understanding of measures
that have been taken toward conflict mitigation, resettlement, and
prevention in the region. Justice was highly attracted to this experiential
learning model that characterizes SIT's study abroad programs. "They really
put you in the environment to learn hands-on. You're not just reading
something in a research paper or watching a video. You're having real-world
interactions, speaking to people with lived experiences."  


For her program, this involved living with a host family and practicing
local languages including Acholi and Kinyarwanda, but it also meant
appreciating the depth of the region's hardships. Justice and her peers met
with organizations and individuals devoted to helping communities recover
from the conflict driven by Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army in
northern Uganda, and they joined challenging discussions with people who
survived an era of genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda. During visits to
genocide museums, Justice, who is legally blind, asked her fellow students
to describe visuals out loud to her, acknowledging that to articulate scenes
of atrocity verbally can be even more wrenching than quiet observation.  

"It's very emotional, heavy, hard. But you realize that if you feel this
way, you can only imagine how the survivors must feel. In leading these
tours, presentations, and discussions for people who want to learn, they
live it daily."  

In the wake of extreme anguish, Justice was inspired by the resilience of
the survivors to take ownership of their history and live joyfully.
Everywhere she went, she found people who were proud and passionate about
their personal and family histories, their relationships, their food, their
languages, their music, their dance - and, oh, did they dance!  


"Towards the end of the program, we had a big celebration with all of our
homestay families in Gulu, a city in the Northern Region of Uganda. We were
all dancing and sweating, showing each other our best moves. I danced with
the kids and tried to keep up with my homestay sister as she showed me new
dances. It was an unforgettable night!"  

"Adaptation equals survival" seemed to embody the spirit of her local hosts
- one that she held in her own heart as she traveled. "Adapt! That was my

If things didn't go according to plan - whether it was a power outage,
someone running late, or inaccessible reading materials- Justice resolved to
find ways to still get the most out of the experience. The program staff
always seemed to have contingency plans in place. "Whatever happens, the
whole day shall not be wasted! That has stayed with me since then."  

Justice estimates that her fellow travelers and the local people she met had
had very few, if any, personal experiences with someone with a disability,
and that as a result, her daily interactions with people helped to spark
conversations around blindness, accessibility, and inclusion. Still, she was
mindful of not trying to represent all blind or disabled people and instead
allowed herself to be her own multi-dimensional self.  

"Yes, I am someone who is blind, but I'm also someone who is black, a woman,
a lesbian. All of these aspects are as much a part of my identity, and I am
proud of them, but none of them individually solely represent me. If you can
find ways to be who you are, even when it's difficult or not accessible,
people will remember you as a whole person."  

But "who you are" is also susceptible to stretch, flex, and grow under the
catalyst of international exchange. It's a phenomenon which Justice urges
travelers to embrace with open arms.  


"When you study abroad, you don't walk away the same person you were when
you walked in. You can't go across the world without gaining a new sense of
appreciation for it - even if it's that you didn't know what you thought you
knew before. Immerse yourself as much as you possibly can." Don't assume
that Africa is inaccessible. "I don't want to sugar-coat it: access can be
challenging. Still, people need to get away from the idea that they won't be
able to find what they need." There's also a misconception that Africa is
uniform, when in fact it is a mosaic of amazing metropolitan cities as well
as vibrant rural communities that have distinct approaches to access and

"The difference between a crisis and a problem is time." To ensure that the
program would work for her, Justice let the staff know in advance that she'd
need materials in digital formats, electronic information in advance, and
time to orient herself to new spaces and places.  

 "Know that you are not alone." "Contact disability organizations in the
area you are interested in exploring to find out what resources are
available and what sorts of laws and social norms affect people with


"Learn from the experiences of local people with disabilities." On a
previous experience abroad, Justice valued the opportunity to talk to blind
people in Cape Town, South Africa. "Remember their experiences will not
necessarily mirror your own. "You're coming from a different part of the
world. They can teach you, and you can teach them. It's another aspect of
cultural exchange."  


"People can help make or break an experience for you." "Fortunately, I was
surrounded by really wonderful people." You don't always get to choose your
travel companions, but your group can acknowledge that each person needs
assistance at times and that each person also has strengths to offer. You're
all learning together."  

Do not let anything stop you from going out and experiencing the world. We
have a phenomenal planet with phenomenal people and places on it."  

This story was first featured on Mobility International USA. You can visit
the page to learn more about the organization.  


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Board Meeting Minutes | April 2018  


Call Start: 9:02pm  

All present minus Cody Beardslee  


Treasurer's Report:  

Revenue.: $1,127  

Expenses: $1,628  


Outreach: membership call this month all about travel, blog post around
travel. Melissa Carney took over NABS notes.  

Facebook group: who should admin? What should be posted? One member of the
board will admin as well as someone from national staff. How much should be


Legislative: working on adding to the toolkit on situations such as guide
dogs. Reaching out to students to get letters in support of ATAA.  


Fundraising: comedy show coming along. $25 at the door, $19 coming to us.
Cookbook is for sale. Exhibit hall fundraising?  

Bryan talking about a signature beer fundraiser.  


Convention Planning: Ed Shaham working hard on NABS student Networking
event. Business meeting planning cool things, details to come. Playing a
larger role on youth track.  


Leadership discussions.  


Adjourned at 10:25 pm  


The National Association of Blind Students  

A proud division of the National Federation of the Blind  

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