[nfbmi-talk] Kalamazoo picket press release

trising trising at sbcglobal.net
Mon Feb 22 22:05:04 UTC 2010


Date:                     February 22, 2010

Contact                Larry Posont, President 313-727-3546 
President.nfb.mi at gmail.com www.nfbmi.org

Federationists Out in Cold, Again, This Time In Kalamazoo:  Demand 
Commission "Bring Boone Back"

Dearborn Heights, Michigan - "The National Federation of the Blind of 
Michigan is picketing the Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center, 
1541 Oakland Drive, on Tuesday February23, 2010 at 11:30 am, regardless of 

"Patrick Cannon is trying to bully and intimidate blind people, including 
the Michigan Commission for the Blind Board and we are not going to take 
 it." Said Larry Posont, President of the National Federation of the Blind 
of Michigan.  "Weather is no obstacle when it comes to standing up for the 
rights of blind people to work in peace and belong to any organization they 
choose.  Being a member of the National Federation of the Blind should not 
cause anyone to lose their job," continued Posont.

Patrick Cannon, Director of the Michigan Commission for the Blind fired 
Christine Boone, Director of the Michigan Commission for the Blind Training 
Center.  Cannon claimed the reason was a Marksman program Boone had 
authorized to help blind students realize that they can do most all the 
things they ever did despite their blindness.

"Michigan is an outdoor state.  Many blind people learned to hunt and use 
guns as young people with their parents who hunted In Michigans forests and 
fields.  They ought to be able to continue to work live and enjoy recreation 
and feel confident," Said Posont.

"We (the Federation) have been accused of trying to destroy the Commission, 
" said Michael Powell, First Vice President of the Federation.  "We created 
the Commission and have high expectations for its potential to advocate and 
work to help blind people achieve first-class citizenship.  The kinds of 
confidence-building activities that Boone was overseeing are exactly what we 
expect the Commission to do.  The Commission, with a positive attitude 
toward blindness and Blind people is what we want, we certainly don't wish 
to destroy it.  No state employee should ever use their position to take 
good people's jobs away without reason, the way Cannon has," Powell said.

The Federation says it will continue to protest and tell the public about 
the Commission for the Blind until it is restored to a place where blind 
people can work without fear of reprisals.  Along with Boone's firing, David 
Robinson, another Federation member working in the Lansing office was fired, 
allegedly due to his NFB membership.  Mark Eagle was forced off the 
Commission Board of Directors after Cannon accused him of unethical 
behavior, though nothing was ever shown.  Eagle had been critical of Cannon's 
handling of public comments by blind people.

The Commission oversees the Business Enterprise Program.  There are 
currently a record number of hearings and federal arbitrations against the 
Commission.  The Federation maintains that Cannon has fired several blind 
people from this program for speaking out, including both Presidents of the 
Federation's Merchant Division which advocates  on behalf of blind Michigan 

The Federation contends that Cannon has undue influence over appointments of 
Commission Board members, a board that, by law, supervises him and the 
agency he runs.  His supervision cannot manage him, because he sits on the 
Governor's cabinet, an equal level position with the DELEG Department 
Director who is his superior according to the state organization chart.

About the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan

The National Federation of the Blind of Michigan (NFBM) is a proud affiliate 
of the

National Federation of the Blind. Originally founded in 1941, the NFBM has 
been a

leader in advocacy and has worked tirelessly to change what it means to be 

in Michigan. Among our accomplishments: bringing NFB-NEWSLINE® to Michigan, 

the Michigan Commission for the Blind, white cane legislation, Braille 
literacy for

blind children legislation, and much more.

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