[NFB-NM] NFB President’s Notebook - week of 11/06/2017

Tonia Trapp tltrapp.7.467 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 8 03:01:36 UTC 2017


From: President, National Federation of the Blind [mailto:OfficeOfThePresident at nfb.org] 
Sent: Monday, November 6, 2017 10:05 AM
To: President, National Federation of the Blind <OfficeOfThePresident at nfb.org>
Subject: NFB President’s Notebook - week of 11/06/2017


President’s Notebook

National Federation of the Blind

Mark A. Riccobono

officeofthepresident at nfb.org

(410) 659-9314


Dear Fellow Federationists,


I wish to call your attention to a very pressing item today. There is immediate need to get the word out about the elimination of the blind exemption in the tax proposals that are moving on Capitol Hill now. Please take a moment to call Congress, distribute the call-to-action to other members, and encourage our members to make calls as soon as possible. 


There were many affiliate conventions this weekend. I want to thank the NFB of Connecticut for their hospitality this weekend. I also wish to acknowledge the nearly two decades of service that Jim Antonacci gave as president of our Pennsylvania affiliate. This past weekend, Jim successfully passed the torch of leadership to Lynn Heitz. Thank you to Jim and welcome to Lynn. 


The 2018 National Convention will be held from July 3-8 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando Florida. We are seeking an affiliate or a team of affiliates to serve as our host committee for 2018. If you are interested, please reach out to me as soon as possible. More details about the convention will appear in the December Braille Monitor.



Critical Actions This Week:

Action Needed Regarding the Proposed Tax Bill:
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (H.R. 1) was introduced last Thursday, November 2, in the United States House of Representatives. Beginning in tax year 2018, this bill will repeal the standard deduction for blind people valued at $6,350 for the 2017 tax year. Please call your representative and urge him or her to maintain this critical tax deduction for the blind as soon as possible. The House Ways and Means Committee begins mark up on this bill today, Monday, November 6. The best way to contact your member of Congress is to call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for the office in question. Emailing your member of Congress is also a good idea. If you do so, please copy JPare at nfb.org. 



Presidential Release:
The November release is available at https://nfb.org/presidential-releases. 


NFB Scholarship Program:
We are accepting scholarship applications from November 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018. This annual program offers thirty scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000 to eligible students, from high school seniors beginning their freshman year in the fall semester of 2017, up through graduate students working on their PhD degrees. Go to www.nfb.org/scholarships for complete rules and requirements.


Santa Letter Program:
Santa’s coming, Santa’s coming, and he’s sending Braille letters to children all over the country. That’s right it’s the time of the year for the NFB Santa Letter Program. Beginning next Monday, November 13, parents can submit an application for their young blind child to receive a Braille letter from Santa. This letter also comes with a coloring page, a recipe, a craft, and song lyrics. The print for each of these items is sent along as well. Once the program is open, you will be able to apply at https://nfb.org/santa-letters. The program runs until December 15. 


Tactile Art Program:
As of October 27, 2017, we have had 415 applicants for the Tactile Art Program, with at least a quarter of those participants completing the pre-survey as well. We hope to have five hundred tactile art kits out by the end of the year. 


Independence Market Closures:

The Independence Market will be closed Friday, November 10, and Monday, November 13. 


The National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB) is pleased to announce its first telephone conference/presentation/discussion on issues surrounding Braille in the United States. On Thursday, November 9, NAPUB will be pleased to have Curtis Chong share his experiences with the Orbit Reader 20. The Orbit Reader 20 is a twenty-cell, eight-dot refreshable Braille display.  The call will take place at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Mountain, 5:00 p.m. Pacific. The call-in information is (605) 472-5772, code 154426#. 


BRAL Contest:
The NFB of Illinois, in partnership with the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB) is pleased to extend the 2017-18 Braille Readers Are Leaders (BRAL) contest to any NFB affiliate that wishes to participate. If your affiliate submits $100 to the NFBI, an unlimited number of children in your state can enter the contest. The kids can start reading on December 15, so that amount should be received by the NFBI before that date. Contact Patti Chang at  <mailto:pattischang at gmail.com> pattischang at gmail.com for transaction details. The NFB of Illinois will take care of the administrative details for the contest, including providing and mailing out all prizes. Each participating affiliate, however, will be responsible for publicizing the contest within its own state. The complete contest rules, registration form, and the reading log form will be available by November 8 on the website, http://www.nfbofillinois.org.


Autonomous Vehicle Summit:
On Wednesday, October 25, we hosted a meeting of automakers, advocates, disability organizations, and ride-sharing providers regarding the development of autonomous vehicles. The intention of the meeting, titled “The Promise: Autonomous Vehicles and the Disability Community” was to reinforce the necessity that these future cars be made accessible to all people, especially those with disabilities. As stated in a joint press release from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the NFB <https://nfb.org/national-federation-blind-and-automakers-host-conference-promise-autonomous-vehicles-and-disability> : “Autonomous vehicles offer disabled Americans opportunities for increased mobility and independence, as well as reliable transportation that could vastly increase employment opportunities.” 


Dates to Keep in Mind:

*	Fall Conventions <https://nfb.org/state-conventions> 
*	November 6-8, 2017: Dare to Be Remarkable Conference <https://nfb.org/dare-be-remarkable-call-presentations> 
*	January 29, 2018: Great Gathering-In
*	January 29-February 1, 2018: Washington Seminar <https://nfb.org/washington-seminar> 
*	March 1, 2018: Deadline for scholarship applications, www.nfb.org/scholarships
*	March 22-23, 2018: Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
*	April 15, 2018: Deadline for 2018 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award competition <https://nfb.org/bolotin-award-main> 



The National Federation of the Blind 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.


Mark A. Riccobono


200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

(410) 659-9314 | officeofthepresident at nfb.org 



 <https://nfb.org/> National Federation of the Blind


                          <http://www.facebook.com/nationalfederationoftheblind> Facebook     <https://twitter.com/NFB_Voice> Twitter     <https://www.youtube.com/NationsBlind> Youtube


The National Federation of the Blind is a community of members and friends who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation’s blind. Every day we work together to help blind people live the lives they want. 


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