[nfbmi-talk] Leadership & Empowerment Revisited

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Sat Dec 6 13:01:56 UTC 2014

This is the one and only monthly e-mail to Chapters from our President...
National Federation of the Blind of Michigan
7189 Connors Rd.
Munising, MI 49862

November 8, 2014

Dear Chapter Presidents:

     I wanted to write you with news of our State Affiliate and also
to share some information about our one minute message that President
Riccobono has shared with Federation Presidents. Please feel free to
send me information that you would like placed in this monthly
newsletter. The State Convention was held in October and was enjoyed
by all. It was a success. Meeting with all of you encourages me to
continue changing what it is to be blind in Michigan. Please work with
me to build the Federation.
     We are continuing to build the Federation by reorganizing the At
Large Chapter. We also had a successful Dr. Nemeth Day at the Capitol
on October 22. We are also continuing to work on Agency concerns.
Chapters are meeting in November. Please continue to help me build the

Larry Posont
 National Federation of the Blind of Michigan
 (906) 387-3546
president.nfb.mi at gmail.com
Web page:

Munising home of the beautiful Pictured Rocks.

President's Notebook
National Federation of the Blind
Mark A. Riccobono
officeofthepresident at nfb.org
(410) 659-9314

Dear Fellow Federationists,

I notice that a number of chapters and affiliates are doing a great
job talking about and teaching our one minute message. In other places
there is still some uncertainty about the one minute message and how
it should be used. I encourage each of our affiliate presidents to
learn the one minute message (found at the end of this notebook every
week) and create opportunities to talk about it and help others to
learn it within your affiliate.

I would like to extend deep appreciation for the service of Michael
Barber, who just completed eight years as president of the NFB of
Iowa. Michael has stepped down in order to better take of himself, but
he plans to continue to be an active member of the Federation. Please
welcome Donna Prime as our new affiliate president in Iowa.

Critical actions this week:
Affiliate banners:

We have had a number of requests for state affiliate banners from
local chapters. We will be ordering quantities of banners with the
affiliate logos on them for purchase by the chapters. Please forward
this message along to all of the chapter presidents. If any chapter
would like to have an affiliate banner to display (or your affiliate
would like a spare banner), email
sshaffer at nfb.org
with the contact
person's name, state, number of banners requested, and shipping
address. Requests for banners must be received by November 3 to take
advantage of the quantity pricing. The cost for each banner is
expected to be in the range of $30-$40, plus shipping.

Latest video:

This week's video about the National Federation of the Blind Free
White Cane Program is available at

The McDuffy Reader: A Braille Primer for Adults:

A new version of The McDuffy Reader: A Braille Primer for Adults by
Sharon L. Monthei, which is designed to guide students through the
Unified English Braille (UEB) code, has been released. The primer,
which we first published in 1989, has been used as an effective
Braille teaching tool in many rehabilitation settings around the
country. Ms. Monthei has revised this popular Braille instructional
manual in light of the coming changes to the Braille code. By January
2016, Unified English Braille will be the official Braille code used
in the United States.

>From Valerie Yingling:

The NFB is committed to advocating for accessible practice exams for
blind individuals. To do this, we need your help. If you have
experienced difficulty obtaining an accessible practice exam, please
contact Valerie Yingling, paralegal at the NFB, at 410-659-9314,
extension 2440, with the name and publisher of the practice exam and
the accessible format sought. Practice exams in question include those
needed to prepare for professional licensure tests, admission to
graduate school, advanced educational placement tests, and others.

Did you know?
>From Lauren McLarney:
Prior to Washington Seminar, we will be hosting the Legislative
Director's Seminar from January 24 at 5:00 p.m. to January 26 at 4:00
p.m. Attendees will relocate to Washington, DC, in time for the Great
Gathering In. We are asking every affiliate to identify a legislative
director, make sure that he or she can participate in the seminar, and
then submit the name(s) and contact information to Lauren McLarney at
lmclarney at nfb.org
by December 1. Some affiliates send multiple people
to the seminar. The seminar gets bigger every year; our goal this year
is to have a representative from every affiliate. If you have
questions, contact Lauren by email or phone at 410-659-9314, extension

Dates to keep in mind:
*        Fall affiliate conventions

*        November 6-8: NFB STEM2U Baltimore (MD), Port Discovery

*        November 14-16: NFB of Maryland Convention (Towson)

*        November 16: Beginning of the 75th year of the NFB!

*        December 2: Giving Tuesday

*        December 5-7: Fall NFB Board Meeting

*        December 11-14: NFB BELL Program Seminar

*        January 24-26, 2015: Legislative Directors Seminar

*        January 26, 2015: NFB Washington Seminar Great Gathering In

*        March 12-15, 2015: NFB STEM2U Boston (MA), Museum of Science

*        March 26-27, 2015: Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium

*        May 14-16, 2015: NFB STEM2U Columbus (OH), COSI

*        August 2-8, 2015: NFB STEM2U EQ

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, President

National Federation of the Blind

200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place

Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Phone: (410) 659-9314

Fax: (410) 659-5129

officeofthepresident at nfb.org

Twitter: @Riccobono and @NFB_Voice


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.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "J.J. Meddaugh via nfbmi-talk" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
To: <terrydeagle at yahoo.com>; "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" 
<nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2014 6:04 PM
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Leadership & Empowerment Revisited

> Terry,
> I'm a bit curious on your comment regarding the leadership seminar and 
> would be interested in your ideas for how you would improve such an event 
> if it were to be held again.
> There was surveys prior to the weekend to gauge the interest of all who 
> attended in various topics, so Lydia and Fred could decide what to cover.
> I felt like everyone in attendance, whether on the board or not, was given 
> opportunity to speak and influence the events that happened. That's not to 
> say everyone felt that way. If if there are things that can be done to 
> improve, let's talk about them.
> Just off the top of my head, as a result of the weekend: the guide dog 
> committee has made progress on updating state law, there has been several 
> planning meetings for a potential employment weekend, Larry has started a 
> monthly Email message to chapters, and many more.
> I'm sure this won't be the last leadership event, so let's talk about how 
> to make the next one better.
> Best regards,
> J.J.
> On 12/4/2014 9:37 AM, Terry D. Eagle via nfbmi-talk wrote:
>> Given the tone and judgment of some on this list in the past day, I offer
>> and revisit the May 8 post by Terri Wilcox.  Justin's final paragraph 
>> says
>> all that needs to be said.
>> Too bad and how sad this was not the focus, theme, and content  of the
>> leadership seminar held in September, rather than an agenda and event 
>> that
>> took on an atmosphere and result of division, disempowerment and
>> discouragement of valuable members without a title, and who have a 
>> genuine
>> dedication to the NFB philosophy and mission.
>>  From Terri Wilcox:
>> "     I was just reading an article from the April Braille Monitor. I
>> thought it was excellent and so I am posting it to the list. Have fun
>> reading it. I thought it was really neat how Justin Salisbury thought
>> through Dr. Maurer's Banquet address from last year and applied it to his
>> field of study. He shows how each of us using power can help empower 
>> others
>> in our Affiliate. I hope you enjoy the article as much as I 
>> id."  --Terri
>> Wilcox
>> Braille Monitor                                              April 2014
>> Economics of Leadership: Is Power Rival?
>> by Justin Salisbury
>>  From the Editor: Justin Salisbury is a doctoral student in Agricultural 
>> and
>> Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from
>> Connecticut, he earned his bachelor's degree at East Carolina University 
>> and
>> then attended the Louisiana Center for the Blind. He has been active in 
>> our
>> movement everywhere he has lived. Here's what Justin has to say:
>> Justin SalisburyThe science of economics is the allocation of scarce
>> resources to achieve maximum well-being. All finite resources, including 
>> air
>> and sunlight, are considered scarce. One characteristic in economics 
>> which
>> helps define the type of good is whether or not the good is rival. If a 
>> good
>> is rival, one person's consumption of it restricts another person's 
>> ability
>> to consume it. For example, if I buy an NFB of New Jersey Whozit necktie,
>> there is one fewer Whozit necktie available for you to buy. If I eat a
>> banana, that banana is gone, and it is most unlikely that anyone else 
>> will
>> ever be able to eat it.
>> At the banquet of the 2013 National Federation of the Blind Convention,
>> President Marc Maurer said, "One misunderstanding about the nature of 
>> power
>> is that this commodity is finite, limited in quantity, and shared only by
>> the fortunate few. To get power it is (according to some) necessary to 
>> seize
>> it from the hands of others."
>> Someone with this misguided philosophy views power as rival. Such a 
>> person
>> would say that, if I exercise power, there is less power available for 
>> you
>> or your neighbor to exercise. If I exercise power, someone who views 
>> power
>> as rival would view me as a threat to her own power.
>> In the National Federation of the Blind, we work together to enhance each
>> other's ability to exercise power and thus empower each other. Whenever I
>> read an article or hear a speech delivered by another Federation leader, 
>> I
>> am learning how to do better work myself. When Trevor Attenberg writes a
>> brilliant letter, I get out my dictionary and absorb a masterly 
>> articulation
>> of the capacity of blind people, or a new approach to conflict 
>> resolution. I
>> can then use those techniques to enhance my power, and Trevor's exercise 
>> of
>> power actually adds to mine. It does not subtract from it. This 
>> experience
>> provides a counterexample and argues that power is non-rival.
>> I now serve as legislative coordinator and first vice president of the
>> National Federation of the Blind of Wisconsin (NFBW) and president of our
>> Dane County Chapter. NFBW President John Fritz always supports and
>> encourages my efforts. His support and encouragement empower me further, 
>> and
>> any power that I have adds to the power of our affiliate. As our 
>> affiliate
>> grows more powerful, the power of each affiliate member in turn 
>> increases.
>> When we empower each other, we empower ourselves, too.
>> By contrast, someone who views power as rival might think he has an
>> incentive to try to undercut and undermine the potential for power in 
>> anyone
>> else who might exercise it. Such a person could try to break apart every
>> other power structure in his/her affiliate in order to keep all of the 
>> power
>> around him/herself. Such a person would weaken the organization and
>> therefore weaken him/herself.
>> Though power is not rival, titles frequently are. There is only one
>> president of the Connecticut Association of Blind Students (CTABS). As 
>> long
>> as I am CTABS President, nobody else can also be CTABS President.
>> There is often a view that power intrinsically lies within titles. Some
>> believe that a president is powerful, at least in part, because she is
>> president. She has acquired the rival title of president and is thus
>> powerful. If this were true, then it would also mean that people without
>> titles automatically have less power. If we accept this idea, then we are
>> disempowering ourselves so long as we do not hold the top title in the
>> organization in question. The less power we have, the less power the
>> organization has, the less effective the organization will be, and the 
>> less
>> power each member has. If we disempower ourselves, we disempower our
>> presidents, executive directors, and the like.
>> If we want our movement to be powerful, we need to recognize that we all
>> have power as individuals and that power is non-rival. A transformational
>> leader is an agent of change, so every Federationist is a 
>> transformational
>> leader. A leader is powerful to the degree that he empowers others, so we
>> must empower each other, titles or not, to achieve equality, opportunity,
>> and security for the blind.
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