[Nfbc-info] National Federation of the Blind and Blind Business Owner File Complaint with Small Business Administration

Freeh, Jessica JFreeh at nfb.org
Thu Jul 23 03:42:39 CDT 2009



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



CONTACT:

Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

cdanielsen at nfb.org



National Federation of the Blind and Blind Business Owner
File Complaint with Small Business Administration





SBA's Inaccessible Web Site Discriminates Against the Blind



Baltimore, Maryland (July 22, 2009): The National Federation of the 
Blind, the nation's oldest and largest organization of blind people 
and the leading advocate for equal access by the blind to information 
technology, and Virgil Stinnett, a blind business owner from 
Honolulu, Hawaii, filed an administrative complaint today with the 
Small Business Administration (SBA).  The complaint asserts that the 
SBA's Web site violates Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act because 
it is inaccessible to blind people who use text-to-speech screen 
access technology or Braille displays to access information on the 
Internet.  Because of the inaccessibility of the SBA Web site, blind 
people cannot fill out forms on the site or take online courses 
offered by the SBA.  Mr. Stinnett was unable to apply for 
certification under Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act because of 
the inaccessibility of the Web site.  Section 8(a) certification 
would provide Mr. Stinnett's business with access to federal and 
private procurement markets.



Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, 
said: "Blind Americans have the same dreams, the same goals, and the 
same entrepreneurial spirit as all other Americans.  If we are to 
have equal access to the tools and techniques needed to be effective 
business owners and to compete on terms of equality with our sighted 
peers, we must have equal access to the resources offered on the SBA 
Web site and other government sites.  The National Federation of the 
Blind demands equality for blind business owners and will tolerate 
nothing less."



Virgil Stinnett, owner of Good News HI, a business providing military 
dining services, said: "As a blind entrepreneur, access to the SBA 
Web site is critical in order for me to use its programs and services 
and expand my business.  The fact that I could not access the Web 
site has cost me time and resources that I would not have needed to 
expend if I had been able to use the site like everyone else.  I hope 
the action we are taking today will prompt the SBA to take immediate 
steps so that all Americans, blind and sighted, have equal access to 
the programs, training, and resources that it provides."



Complainants are represented by attorneys Daniel F. Goldstein and 
Allison L. Harper of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, <?xml:namespace 
prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />120 
E. Baltimore Street, Suite 1700, Baltimore, MD 21202, (410) 962-1030, 
fax: (410) 385-0869, <mailto:dfg at browngold.com>dfg at browngold.com, 
<mailto:ah at browngold.com>ah at browngold.com, 
<http://www.browngold.com/>www.browngold.com.





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