[Nfbmo] A plea from our Social Media Committee

dacia.luck at gmail.com dacia.luck at gmail.com
Mon Mar 6 22:34:13 UTC 2017

Gary, thank you for your wonderful message. Is it OK if I take the text of it and put it in a post on our Facebook page? As we have stated before, if social media isn't your thing, you are more than welcome to email myself, or Holly Carneal and we would be happy to put your posts on social media giving you the proper credit. Thanks everyone for sending us why you became a federationist.

Sent from my iPhone

> On Mar 6, 2017, at 3:34 PM, Gary Wunder via Nfbmo <nfbmo at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> As some of you have no doubt seen on this list, one of the goals we have for
> March is to recruit members. I think the shorthand for that is each one
> bring one. One of the ways we are trying to do this is to tell people how we
> came to the National Federation of the Blind and why we have stayed.
> Although a request such as this has been posted several times, it is Amy's
> belief that the request is wrongly viewed as one involving social media and
> that those of us who are not as active as we should be on social media tend
> to regard it as someone else's responsibility to write up their life
> experience about coming to the NFB.
> Whether you are on social media or not, please take a few minutes to write
> us the story of how you came to the Federation. In my case I find that there
> are at least three reasons I came to the Federation, so I have promised to
> write at least three. I don't believe we have yet posted any for March, so
> please help us figure out how to get this done.
> To set the bar low enough that you can easily step over it, let me share
> with you my first installment to the subject of why I am a Federationist:
> One frequent topic of discussion in the National Federation of the Blind is
> why we joined, when we joined, and those things that pushed us towards and
> away from the organization. Very often we find ourselves trying to tell one
> unified story but, like most things in life, the reason for making
> significant decisions in our lives often is a culmination of events and
> maybe even an epiphany or two along the way.
> If I really think hard about it, I believe there are at least three reasons
> why I joined and became an active member of the Federation, and let me
> emphasize that there is a tremendous difference between joining and being
> active, though one is necessary before the other. First and foremost I
> believe that I joined the National Federation of the Blind because I was
> loved into it. I met with a member or two of the Federation, not knowing
> that they were affiliated with any kind of organization of the blind. In
> fact I don't think I knew that there were organizations of the blind, only
> organizations for the blind. It never occurred to me that there was any
> particular reason why blind people should unite for common action. The
> concept of an organization of the blind was not just something I was unaware
> of or neutral about; I actually thought the idea was stupid, a reflection of
> the admonition I got from my elementary resource room teacher that too
> closely associating with blind people would lead to isolation from those who
> could see, and the goal, after all, was to make our way in sighted society.
> The only information I wanted from the blind people who turned out to be
> associated with the Federation was what it was like to own and use a guide
> dog. At age fifteen I thought that all dogs that did guiding for the blind
> were Seeing Eye dogs, and although the blind people I met with set me
> straight on the fact that the Seeing Eye was the name of the school, both
> had their dogs from the Seeing Eye, so it seemed to make little difference
> to me.
> After getting all the information I could about how to work, groom, and feed
> a guide dog, I was ready to get off the phone until more questions popped
> into my mind, but my new friends were not so anxious to leave the line. They
> seemed to like it when I told them stories about me, and, to my great
> gratification, they remembered those stories and would ask follow-up
> questions in subsequent conversations. In turn I slowly gave up my selfish
> pursuit of information just for me, and I found that these people had a lot
> worth knowing about them. One man ran an office supply business - imagine
> that, a blind guy in his own business. Another man was in law school, a
> career I had been steered away from because doing legal work took a lot of
> research, the material to be researched was in print, and blind people could
> not see or independently read print.
> At some point I realized that not only did I like the people with whom I was
> talking, but I admired them. Because they showed me love and attention, it
> felt good and right to do the same thing. Eventually I started to take
> seriously the issues that seemed to mean so much to them: discrimination in
> employment, unequal opportunity in education, discrimination in housing and
> transportation, abuse by government agencies whose job it was to serve the
> blind, the need for advocates when blind people went for financial
> assistance through Social Security or the Missouri blind pension. At first I
> was convinced that I would never need help in any of these areas, but I was
> certainly willing to help them. Later I learned that any blind person out in
> the world would face these issues, and I came to take seriously the work of
> the National Federation of the Blind, not just to make my friends happy with
> me but to make the world a better place for blind people who deserved
> justice, mercy, and an equal chance. In the bargain I got myself not a new
> family but a companion family, and I thank God for these people every day.
> So as important as the philosophy, policy, and the programs that spring from
> them are in my Federation life, at least one of the three reasons I am a
> Federationist is that I was loved into it, and how can anyone do better than
> love?
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