[nfbmi-talk] Kalamazoo picket press release
trising at sbcglobal.net
Mon Feb 22 22:05:04 UTC 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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
National Federation of the Blind. Originally founded in 1941, the NFBM has
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
blind children legislation, and much more.
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