[Nfbc-info] NFB President Riccobono Notebook week of 12/20/2017

Joy Stigile joystigile at gmail.com
Fri Dec 22 00:57:40 UTC 2017


Subject: Fwd: NFB President's Notebook - week of 12/20/2017


Ever Lee Hairston, President

National Federation of the Blind of California

H: 323 654.2975

C: 323 252.9188

ever.hairston at gmail.com <mailto:ever.hairston at gmail.com> 


You Can Live The Life You Want


Begin forwarded message:

From: "President, National Federation of the Blind"
<OfficeOfThePresident at nfb.org <mailto:OfficeOfThePresident at nfb.org> >
Date: December 20, 2017 at 1:59:47 PM PST
To: "President, National Federation of the Blind"
<OfficeOfThePresident at nfb.org <mailto:OfficeOfThePresident at nfb.org> >
Subject: NFB President's Notebook - week of 12/20/2017

President's Notebook

National Federation of the Blind

Mark A. Riccobono

officeofthepresident at nfb.org <mailto:officeofthepresident at nfb.org> 

(410) 659-9314


Dear Fellow Federationists,


It seems hard to believe that we have come to the end of December. With
eleven days left in the year, it is beginning to hit me that our work for
2017 is nearly complete. Of course, the Federation is a forward-thinking
organization and so our work is clearly mapped out for the months and years
ahead-we have a long way to go to meet our ultimate objectives.


This year we have continued to grow in membership at the local level. As we
grow our base and our programs, the work of our organization becomes
increasingly complex. How do we share information and communicate our
priorities? How do we continue to keep a united organization and to foster
the relationships necessary to achieve our goals? These questions are ones
that I think about on a daily basis, and I appreciate the contributions you
all make to help me answer them in the years ahead. 


As I consider what is in store for 2018, I am certainly filled with hope,
energy, and love. Even as we struggle to gain recognition in society, our
organization is finding new generation of leaders whose skills and diverse
backgrounds will undoubtedly prove vital in the work ahead. The survey
responses of those attending our affiliate president retreat demonstrate
energy, imagination, and a readiness to further their own personal
development. Some of you expressed the hope that I would understand how much
you are working to be the best president that you can be. Let me take this
opportunity to express my recognition and appreciation for the work you do
at the local level and for the struggle of balancing the work of being a
local leader along with all of the other demands of life. You help to power
this organization and I am humbled by the work that you are doing.


In 2018 I want us to be even more aggressive about getting our message of
hope and opportunity out into the public. I also want to do better to
encourage the leadership development of our state affiliate boards and our
future leaders. In that process I will continue to seek more powerful tools
for us to coordinate among the local, state, and national levels. To that
end I am hitting the road beginning with the first weekend of the year to
work regionally with some of our local leaders on building a stronger
leadership corps within some of our affiliates. We are going to seek more
tools to assist our local leaders, and I will be continuing to solicit input
from each of you about what might strengthen our sharing of information.


As we come to the end of the year, I am most aware of the tremendous joy
that comes from building a relationship with each of you. I take great joy
in the opportunity to get to know each of you at a personal level. The
diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives is one of the true
strengths of our organization. It helps to enrich our work together, and it
raises my expectations every day. I am not likely to have the time to call
each of you during these last eleven days of the year to share my
appreciation for you and my warmest wishes for a joyous holiday season and a
fantastic 2018. Please know that if I could do so, I would extend to you
those wishes from the Riccobono family and a thank you for the opportunity
to serve as your President. It is an honor to get to know each of you as


It is no surprise that during this time of year we are also quite focused on
preparations for our Washington Seminar. Please be sure to give the
logistics your attention. Some of you have missed my previous note about the
logistics for the affiliate president retreat. We will send that to you in a
separate email including some expanded detail.


Finally, let me take the opportunity to publicly share a happy birthday to
the First Lady of the Federation, Melissa Riccobono. She makes it possible
for me to do what I do and her own contributions to our movement are very
significant. In case you feel compelled to drop her a note, her email is
melissa at riccobono.us <mailto:melissa at riccobono.us> . Today is her birthday,
and I know she would love to hear from each of you as she values the
relationships as much as I do.


Happiest of holiday wishes to you and your family. Together in 2018, with
love, hope, and determination, we will transform our dreams into reality.


Critical Actions This Week:

Please Pay Your Pledge:
A number of affiliates have not yet paid pledges made during the honor roll
call at the 2017 NFB National Convention. If we are going to accomplish all
that we hope to in 2018, it would be helpful to have these pledges paid
before 2017 ends. Please send your contribution to the National Federation
of the Blind, 200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21230, and
indicate that it is to complete the affiliate's pledge from the convention.
Remember that contributions to the tenBroek Fund should be made payable to
the Jacobus tenBroek Fund, not the NFB. If you have questions about your
pledge, please contact Patti Chang at (410) 659-9413, extension 2422, or
pchang at nfb.org <mailto:pchang at nfb.org> . Thank you for helping the
Federation end the year financially strong. 


Washington Seminar Update:
The legislative priorities of the National Federation of the Blind during
the 115th Congress, Second Session will be:

1.       The Accessible Instructional Materials In Higher Education "Aim
High" Act, (S. 2138/H.R. 1772)

Electronic instructional materials have replaced traditional methods of
learning in postsecondary education, but the overwhelming majority of
educational technologies are inaccessible to blind students. The law
requires equal access in the classroom but fails to provide direction to
schools for the way it applies to technology. The Aim High Act creates
voluntary accessibility guidelines for educational technology to stimulate
the market, improve blind students' access to course materials, and reduce
litigation for schools.

2.       The Access Technology Affordability "ATAA" Act, (S. 732/H.R. 1734)

Currently blind Americans rely on scarce sources of funding to acquire
access technology. By providing a refundable tax credit for qualifying
access technology purchases, Congress will stimulate individual procurement
of access technology and promote affordability of these tools for blind

3.       Opposition to the "ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017," (H.R.

H.R. 620 erodes protections for people with disabilities by removing
incentives for businesses to comply with the law, and by placing excessive
burdens on the very people the law aims to benefit. The ADA Education and
Reform Act of 2017 would weaken the ADA and set the disability community
back nearly three decades.

4.       The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for
Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled
"Marrakesh Treaty" 

An international copyright treaty will give blind Americans access to
millions of published works and improve the distribution of books around the


The fact sheets and frequently asked questions for each of these legislative
priorities will be posted to https://www.nfb.org/washington-seminar in the
coming weeks.

Relatedly, don't forget to make your hotel reservations with the Holiday Inn
Capitol before the end of the year. You can make your reservations online by
visiting the Holiday Inn Capitol
leCode=en&GPC=FB8&hotelCode=WASSM&_PMID=99801505> 's reservations portal,
which will already include our group code, or by calling the hotel directly.
The telephone number to call is (877) 572-6951, and the booking code to
reference is FB8. The 2018 room rate is $192.00 per night. This rate does
not include DC sales tax, currently 14.8 percent. The last day to make your
room reservations is Tuesday, January 2, 2018, so please make your
reservations as soon as possible.


Blindness Professionals Contacts:
To facilitate the promotion of numerous Federation programs that occur
throughout the year, we are working to build up our database of
professionals who work in the field of blindness (education and
rehabilitation). If your affiliate has contact information for blindness
professionals (e.g., teachers of the blind/VI, rehab counselors, directors
of special education, rehab directors) in your state or region, we would
love to add those individuals to Connections, our unified database. By
growing our database we increase our opportunities to build the Federation
through our numerous programs. Please send any contact information that you
may have to Natalie Shaheen at nshaheen at nfb.org <mailto:nshaheen at nfb.org> .
Thank you in advance for your help! 



2018 National Convention: 
We are pleased to announce that the host committee for our 2018 National
Federation of the Blind National Convention will be co-chaired by our
presidents from our Florida, Iowa, and Virginia affiliates. Thank you to
these three affiliates for stepping up to the challenge of making this our
best convention ever. I am certain you will hear from them soon about plans
for 2018.


Sheltered Workshop and Honda of America Manufacturing Sued for Disability
Michael A. Denoewer, an individual with autism, filed suit in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against his former
employer, U-CO Industries, a sheltered workshop located in Marysville, Ohio,
and Honda of America Manufacturing, for which U-CO is a Tier 1 Supplier. We
are providing legal support for his efforts. More information is available
from our press release
ability-discrimination> . 




NFB Independence Market: 
The National Federation of the Blind Independence Market ecommerce site will
be down for maintenance from December 21, starting at 5:00 p.m., through
January 1, 2018. We appreciate your patience and understanding. Please note
that the Independence Market will be closed from December 23 through January
1. If you have any questions, please call the Independence Market at (410)
659-9314, extension 2216, on or before December 22 or after January 1.
Please note that no orders will be able to ship out after noon on December
22 until January 2. 


Dates to Keep in Mind:

*	January 29, 2018: Great Gathering-In
*	January 28-February 1, 2018: Washington Seminar
*	March 31, 2018: Deadline for scholarship applications,
www.nfb.org/scholarships <http://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> 
*	July 3-8, 2018: National Federation of the Blind National
Convention, Orlando, Florida


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
<mailto:officeofthepresident at nfb.org>  





<https://twitter.com/NFB_Voice>      <https://www.youtube.com/NationsBlind> 


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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