[Nfbc-info] question and perspectives

Michael Peterson its.mike at att.net
Fri Oct 9 21:57:55 UTC 2009

Hi all I have what could be somewhat  good news for most of you on SSI,  but 
not for the moment in ourthat is mine and Terra's  case Several people have 
reported the newest cut to SSI is only $5 or so on their checks. That seems 
wrong to me because according to Michelle, who I talked to today on the 
phone  at Social security the across the board cut this time is supposed to 
be point zero six percent.
Maybe that's the state cuts in total but that's not what either rep told me.
Anyway because I get SSDI the SOSA is telling me that the cut of all most 
half our ssi payments within a 9 month period isn't there doing and we don't 
have the right to appeal because it's the state's money.
I did ask the SSA to have the local office recalculate and also I ask them 
to make sure if blindness exemptions exist they are applying them.
If they continue to simply point fingers at the state do I have any legal 
recourse and who should I take action against?
We moved to the city where everything costs more so I can get internships 
and graduate but as the bills go up the ssi gets slashed literally all most 
$300 a month.
That's for both of us and Terra doesn't have additional income.
If anyone has any ideas let me know and if legal action is required if 
someone knows a good attorney who can take on the State even if necessary 
let me know.
We complained like everyone else during the earlier part of the year though 
our rents were going up as was the general cost of living  they cut down our 
checks by about $38 each and again when they added another $20 making it $58 
each but now they have cut that another $72 each while most of the people 
I've talked to are barely getting touched in comparison.
If you wonder why numbers are so very important for the bridge walk this is 
just one example of why.
If the government sees us united and organized we are a force to be reckoned 
with but if we are small fragmented and apathetic we might see some small 
victories scattered about the state but we will not have the monumental 
impact we have proven we are capable of in the past.

It will eventually affect all of us and because California is such a large 
state it will have national repercussions.
Please if there is anyway you can make the bridge walk even if that's all 
you can do be there for Braille literacy yes but for moor than that!
We need to show the government in California that we really as a group are 
concerned.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Give me a thousand people 
raising $5000 I will gladly trade 50 raising $20,000 because although the 
money is more the spirit is less.  What we need in California is that spirit 
we have to bring it back or we will continue to see an erosion in services 
and all our gains will dissipate.
The national Federation of the Blind of California is only as strong as it's 
Now as much as ever before we need each of you to take an active part in 
shaping our destiny.  Some can't be at the walk because they are sick or 
simply don't have the finances but others could just by scheduling a bus or 
a flight a few hours earlier make it.
We talk about sacrifice commitment "we know who we are and we'll never go 
But seriously if we truly believe that earth shaking chant why don't I see 
more names in the walkers column.
Friends we have some serious work to do whether I win this social security 
bout or not!
I have things I could do with my time too! I have a friend who I haven't 
seen for more than thirty eight -years for example I really wanted to see. 
He's coming to Sacramento on Wednesday night the 21st. But I won't ask you 
to sacrifice if I am not willing to do it myself.
It's more than Braille literacy we can promote Braille literacy at Barns and 
Noble or at school wherever but the walk is a way for blind people to show 
solidarity commitment to the goal of full participation in society. It's a 
way of communicating our concerns in a visual way to a sighted world.

It's a chance to get down in the dirt and work in the trenches.
40 of us have all ready made that commitment but we need more lots more. If 
you can be there at the walk please do for your sake for my sake for blind 
seniors and blind children.  Be there for the parents Be there for the 
In the past we picketed all over the country for NAC and for freedom to ride 
the planes like everyone else.We took busses from California to Oregon and 
Arizona to march and to picket.  We went to the Governor's office and held a 
three day long sit in because we wanted to save the independent nature of 
the client assistance program. The blind organized and picketed the 
sheltered workshop at California Industries for the Blind in Monterey park 
to support SEIU 535 the blind workers union.  We won many battles and lost 
some but we kept on and our voice grew louder.
  We did that and more much much more.  We organized luncheons fundraisers 
and chapters as we continue doing to this day.
 We in our generation saw a monumental impact that Louis Braille wished he 
could have seen.
He paved the way by creating Braille, after him leaders like Dr Tenbroek 
paved the way by creating the movement now it's our turn.
Some feel it's not a big deal doesn't affect them others perhaps feel they 
paid there dues.  Those attitudes not other organizations are what will 
cripple and kill us.
Remember Dr Jernigan's speech if you were there or if you heard it.
If you weren't read or listen,  take the parable to heart.
Be like the youngest son Keep your focus. Don't be lulled in to a false 
sense of security because "after all I have a job" Or, that was 33 years 
We made a difference than and we can make a bigger difference now but it 
takes all of us not just a favored few!
A house divided against its self can not will not stand.
But remember the parable!
Behold a king took forth his three sons to judge their fitness to govern the 
and they stopped by a field, where a vulture sat in the branches of a dead 
And the king said to the oldest son, "Shoot-but first tell me what you see."
And the son replied: "I see the earth and the grass and the sky . . ."
And the king said, "Stop! Enough!" and he said to the next son, "Shoot-but 
tell me what you see."
And the son replied, "I see the ground and a dead tree with a vulture 
sitting in
the branches . ."
And the king said, "Stop! Enough!" and he said to his youngest son, 
"Shoot-but first
tell me what you see."
And the young man replied, his gaze never wavering, "I see the place where 
the wings
join the body." And the shaft went straight-and the vulture fell.
Yes, a fable. But also a moral-a reminder-a commitment.
If he could speak from the grave what would Dr Jernigan say with regards to 
the Golden gate bridge walk?
You know the answer as well as I do and with thunderous aplausand a loud 
chorus of "Glory Glory Federation"  we would agree!
"Many of the blind have not yet fully understood and have, thus, not joined 
the movement.
Some of our local affiliates are chapters in name only, waiting for the 
touch of
a leader and the sound of the call to awaken. Much of our work is still 
challenging, needing, and waiting to be done.
All of this is true, but we must see it in perspective. It is not that our 
is worse or our problems greater today than in former times. Far from it. It 
is only
that we have become aware and that our level of expectation has risen. In 
other days
we would hardly have noticed, and even if we had, we would not have been 
to communicate or prepared to resist. We have it better now than we have 
ever had
it before, and tomorrow is bright with promise.
As we make our advance and set our daily skirmish lines we come to the fight 
gladness--not with cringing or fear. We come with a song on our lips and joy 
in our
hearts, for we have seen the vision of hope and felt the power of concerted 
and self-belief. In the conflict ahead we will take casualties. We know it, 
and we
are prepared for it. Whatever the price, we will pay it. Whatever the cost, 
we will
bear it. The stakes are too high and the promise too certain to let it be 
We are organized and moving forward. We will be free-and the sighted will 
us as partners and equals. We know who we are, and we will never go back. 
The vulture
sits in the branches of a dead tree, and we see where the wings join the 
body. Our
gaze will not waver. Our shaft will go straight to the mark, and the vulture 
fall. My brothers and my sisters, the future is ours. Come! Join me on the 
and we will make it come true!

God bless:
Mike Peterson

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