[NFBC-Info] Positive Change

president at nfbcal.org president at nfbcal.org
Mon Dec 14 22:01:08 UTC 2020

Dear Friends,


Some have recently been discussing the history of sexual harassment and
disrespectful behavior within the activities of our organization.  I welcome
a loving and considerate discussion.  We should validate those in our family
who have been hurt in the past by their blind colleagues.  For those who
raised concerns, I hear you and understand your frustration.  We must
affirmatively work to improve so that this inappropriate behavior is
absolutely eliminated.  


Every blind person, regardless of background, wherever they might be on
their journey in life, deserves to benefit from the unique life-changing
experiences of the National Federation of the Blind and the remarkable
training it provides.  We cannot succeed in our struggle for equality if we
injure our fellows and exploit our peers.  Racism, sexual harassment,
discrimination, elitism, exploitation, apathy, and corrupt motivation are
unfortunate flaws of our society.  Without exception, our Federation has
been vulnerable to these dangerous diseases of selfish behavior that
distract from our collective impact.  


We are a people's movement.  The individuality of the people are
simultaneously our greatest strength and greatest struggle.  But I believe
in the capacity of humans to grow smarter, become better, and advance for
good on the whole.  


As President of our California affiliate of the National Federation of the
Blind, I reaffirm my commitment and our organization's commitment to foster
a welcoming and inclusive environment that is safe for everyone.  I will do
everything within my power to act upon the concerns that have been raised
and support the leaders of our movement in response.  


If you have been the victim of such harmful mistreatment, my heart breaks
for the injustice and injury that you experienced.  you have my sympathy,
apology, and devotion to earn your trust back.


We can and will do more.  As a leader, I promise not just to react, but to
affirmatively prevent.  I will work to see the "culture of consent" that we
discussed at our most recent state convention become the norm.  I will help
educate our long-standing leaders in California to ensure that our
leadership structure understands the relevance of this moment in our
evolving movement.  I will affirmatively seek diverse leaders and role
models to ensure that blind people from all cross sections have a voice in
the solution.  I will take time to further understand the nature of these
problems and how other organizations have made progress.  I will work as an
ally with those who want to support our national leaders' effort to advance
positive change.


We need to have this conversation to figure out what more needs to be done.
And we need to have it without disenfranchising or further harming blind
people.  The Federation is ours to build.  Please help me and the many other
leaders and members who want to be a part of the solution and commit to
change and healing.


Tim Elder


National Federation of the Blind of California 

president at nfbcal.org <mailto:president at nfbcal.org>  

(916) 382-0372 



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