[NFBOK-Talk] Fwd: [Brl-monitor] The Braille Monitor, November 2016

Audrey Farnum atfarnum at icloud.com
Mon Nov 21 14:14:38 UTC 2016

>                              THE BRAILLE MONITOR
> Vol. 59, No. 10  November 2016
>                             Gary Wunder, Editor
>      Distributed by email, in inkprint, in Braille, and on USB flash
> drive, by the
>      Mark Riccobono, President
>      telephone: (410) 659-9314
>      email address: nfb at nfb.org
>      website address: http://www.nfb.org
>      NFBnet.org: http://www.nfbnet.org
>      NFB-NEWSLINE® information: (866) 504-7300
>       Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/nationalfederationoftheblind
>                      Follow us on Twitter: @NFB_Voice
>            Watch and share our videos: YouTube.com/NationsBlind
> Letters to the President, address changes, subscription requests, and
> orders for NFB literature should be sent to the national office. Articles
> for the Monitor and letters to the editor may also be sent to the national
> office or may be emailed to gwunder at nfb.org.
> Monitor subscriptions cost the Federation  about  forty  dollars  per  year.
> Members  are  invited,  and  nonmembers  are   requested,   to   cover   the
> subscription cost. Donations should be made payable to  National  Federation
> of the Blind and sent to:
>      National Federation of the Blind
>      200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
>      Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998
>                                 OURSELVES.
> ISSN 0006-8829
> © 2016 by the National Federation of the Blind
>      Each issue is recorded on a thumb drive (also called a memory stick
> or USB flash drive). You can read this audio edition using a computer or a
> National Library Service digital player. The NLS machine has two slots-the
> familiar book-cartridge slot just above the retractable carrying handle and
> a second slot located on the right side near the headphone jack. This
> smaller slot is used to play thumb drives. Remove the protective rubber pad
> covering this slot and insert the thumb drive. It will insert only in one
> position. If you encounter resistance, flip the drive over and try again.
> (Note: If the cartridge slot is not empty when you insert the thumb drive,
> the digital player will ignore the thumb drive.) Once the thumb drive is
> inserted, the player buttons will function as usual for reading digital
> materials. If you remove the thumb drive to use the player for cartridges,
> when you insert it again, reading should resume at the point you stopped.
>      You can transfer the recording of each issue from the thumb drive to
> your computer or preserve it on the thumb drive. However, because thumb
> drives can be used hundreds of times, we would appreciate their return in
> order to stretch our funding. Please use the return envelope enclosed with
> the drive when you return the device.
> Vol. 59, No. 10                                          November 2016
>      Contents
> Illustration: Through Similarities and Differences, the Blind Still Intend
> to Speak for the Blind
> Welcoming the Blind of the World to the United States of America
> by Mark Riccobono
> The World Blind Union: Future Challenges and Opportunities
> by Fredric K. Schroeder, PhD
> Change in the Wind at the World Blind Union General Assembly
> by Marc Maurer
> Reflections from a First-Time Attendee and the Joy in Helping Host a
> Meeting of the World Blind Union and the International Council for
> Education of People with Visual Impairment
> by Gary Wunder
> My Leadership Journey
> by Karen Keninger
> Nurture the Ability, Sustain the Confidence
> by Fredric K. Schroeder
> Leadership: Perspectives from Ron McCallum
> by Ron McCallum
> Digital Accessibility: Changes for the Good, and Challenges for the Present
> and Future
> by Gary Wunder
> Statement of the National Federation of the Blind Marrakesh Treaty to
> Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually
> Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled
> by Mark Riccobono
> Newer and Flashier is Not Always Better
> by Mark Jones
> How Exponential Technologies Will Impact Disabilities
> by Ray Kurzweil
> National Industries for the Blind: Continuing to Raise Expectations and
> Create Opportunities
> Kevin Lynch
> Recipes
> Monitor Miniatures
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Session meeting of the WBU delegates]
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Three of the delegates from India wearing headphones as
> they listen]
> [PHOTO CAPTION: The enclosed booth where the translators work at the back
> of the WBU meeting room.]
>   Through the Similarities and the Differences, the Blind Still Intend to
>                             Speak for the Blind
>      When you look at the pictures of the World Blind Union General
> Assembly, they look similar to those captured at the National Federation of
> the Blind's national convention. Their delegates look a lot like the
> Federationists who attend the convention. The delegates sit at rows of
> tables instead of the rows of chairs to which Federationists are
> accustomed. But, like attendees at our conventions, they're all sitting and
> listening to speakers making their presentations.
>      It's only as you look closer that you realize that many of the
> delegates are wearing headphones. They're not listening to music; they're
> listening to the language they understand by translators courtesy of the
> National Federation of the Blind. The booth of translators at the back of
> the room is a bit different from the NFB convention, where interpreters for
> the deaf and hard of hearing diligently work, but these translators create
> the mechanism through which global discussion and action can take place. No
> matter how similar or different, it is inspiring to see the blind speaking
> for themselves.
>      Welcoming the Blind of the World to the United States of America
>                              by Mark Riccobono
> Opening Remarks to the Ninth General Assembly
> World Blind Union
> Orlando, Florida
> August 19, 2016
>      Delegates, observers, and friends of the World Blind Union, on behalf
> of the tens of thousands of members of the National Federation of the Blind
> I welcome you to the United States of America. America is a country that
> values freedom, independence, opportunity, determination, and democracy.
> Born out of revolution, our country constantly strives to have a more
> perfect union, including individuals with diverse characteristics,
> backgrounds, and beliefs. Through the value of freedom of speech, we
> empower our citizens to vigorously debate the governing principles of our
> land and to breakdown barriers to equality of opportunity and
> participation. The American dream has come to be the term used to describe
> the value that in our country all people can achieve their individual
> aspirations with the freedom and opportunities provided in our local
> communities and supported by equal protection under the law. Yet even in
> this great nation some classes of people continue to struggle for equal
> access to those ideals two hundred and forty years after our democracy was
> established. Although the blind have been one of the groups denied the
> complete rights and opportunities offered under our democracy, during the
> past seventy-six years significant progress has been made toward equality
> in society through our vehicle for collective action-the National
> Federation of the Blind.
>      A brilliant young blind scholar of the United States Constitution was
> the rallying point for organizing the blind of America on a nationwide
> basis in 1940. Dr. Jacobus tenBroek was the founding President of the
> National Federation of the Blind and served as its primary leader until his
> death in 1968. At the birth of our organization he shared these words that
> are still the foundation of our organization and which apply also to the
> World Blind Union: "Collectively, we are the masters of our own future and
> the successful guardian of our own common interests. Let one speak in the
> name of many who are prepared to act in his support, let the democratically
> elected blind representatives of the blind act as spokesman for all, let
> the machinery be created to unify the action and concentrate the energies
> of the blind..."
>      The Federation has always valued formal and informal opportunities to
> collaborate with other blind people around the world. In 1952 the National
> Federation of the Blind National Convention voted to join the World Council
> on the Welfare of the Blind (WCWB), but Dr. tenBroek quickly came to
> realize that the WCWB would not be a progressive world forum for action by
> the blind. The Federation continued to seek meaningful international
> connections to the blind through the work of pioneering blind leaders like
> Isabel Grant, who traveled the world to share the Federation philosophy and
> learn about the progress of blind people in other countries.
>      In 1964 we formed the International Federation of the Blind (IFB) as
> an authentic international forum for blind people. Dr. tenBroek became the
> IFB's first president, and its constitution was drafted by Dr. Kenneth
> Jernigan, who would later become President of the National Federation of
> the Blind and the most influential leader in the area of blindness during
> the twentieth century. The first convention for the IFB was planned for
> 1969, but Dr. tenBroek's early death in 1968 took much of the momentum out
> of the new organization. In 1984 a joint meeting of the IFB and WCWB was
> held that resulted in the creation of the World Blind Union. Today we can
> be proud that the World Blind Union has grown into an effective
> international vehicle for collaboration and a meaningful advocacy
> organization led by the blind.
>      We invite our brothers and sisters from around the world to our home
> to share with us the ideas, insights, innovations, and dreams that come
> from your unique perspectives. We also share with you our progress along
> with our desire to continue to test the limits and raise expectations for
> the blind anywhere in the world. Since 1940 we have tackled discrimination
> in every aspect of life: education, employment, travel, finances,
> healthcare, recreation, civic participation, and parenting. We have used
> many tools in our work: organizing in local communities, marching in the
> streets, battling in the courts, persuading in the boardrooms, moving the
> politics in Congress, changing perceptions in the media, and demonstrating
> equality in living the lives we want. We have published extensively about
> our progress, and we have distributed thousands of pages of literature to
> all parts of our country and many parts of the world. We now provide free
> access to all of our publications via our website, <www.nfb.org>. Our
> national convention, the annual gathering where we discuss our progress and
> set our priorities, is now the largest annual gathering of blind people
> anywhere in the world, and we are honored to welcome guests from twenty
> foreign countries to our conventions on a regular basis.
>      In the spirit of innovation that characterizes our nation, the blind
> of America have led the way in engineering solutions to take advantage of
> the full capacity of blind people and to eliminate artificial barriers that
> hold us back. One example is our work, beginning in 1975, to develop a
> reading machine for the blind with genius inventor Ray Kurzweil. The
> original reading machine was big, slow, and expensive, but it was
> revolutionary. Through our continued investment and engagement in refining
> reading technology, we now have a reading machine that can be used on
> handheld smartphones, which recognizes text in a second, and which costs
> less than $100. The current reading machine is known as the KNFB Reader,
> and it runs on iOS, Android, and very shortly on Windows. This technology
> is as strong as it is because the blind are leading the way in its
> development.
>      Literacy is critical to full participation in our society, and each
> and every person in this room knows that for the blind that means Braille
> literacy. From aggressively pursuing new Braille literacy programs to
> actively working on the Marrakesh Treaty, we march confidently with our
> friends in the World Blind Union to raise expectations for the blind in
> accessing the world's knowledge. At the urging of the National Federation
> of the Blind, the United States Congress authorized the minting of the
> first-ever US coin that included actual tactile Braille. Released in 2009,
> the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar created a forum for greater
> awareness of the value of Braille and the barriers to quality Braille
> instruction in the United States educational system, and sales of the coin
> generated funds to spark new Braille literacy programs. The launch of the
> Louis Braille coin and the educational programs initiated in 2009 were led
> by a leader of the National Federation of the Blind and the WBU's first
> vice president, Fred Schroeder. One of the results of our enhanced Braille
> literacy efforts was the nationwide expansion of the National Federation of
> the Blind Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy. The
> NFB BELL Academy provides blind children with two weeks of quality
> instruction in Braille, opportunities to practice skills like independent
> travel with a long white cane, and increased confidence from working with
> blind adult role models from a variety of backgrounds. During this summer
> alone, we have offered forty-six NFB BELL Academies in thirty-one states
> providing more than seventeen thousand hours of instruction to more than
> three hundred blind youth.
>      The United States is known for its technological innovations,
> including advancing the exploration of new frontiers in the universe. For
> over a decade, the Federation has been leading the way to inspire and
> engage blind students in science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
> In honor of our work and to help spread awareness about Braille, the
> National Aeronautics and Space Administration flew two of our Louis Braille
> coins aboard the Atlantis shuttle on mission STS125. Although we have yet
> to get a blind person into the astronaut corps and into space, we believe
> that the first blind astronaut is alive today, and through our work we will
> realize success in this and other frontiers. Leaders of the National
> Federation of the Blind were on hand at the Kennedy Space Center-not too
> far from Orlando-for the launch of STS125 to witness Braille flying into
> orbit. In honor of our collective determination to expand the horizons for
> the blind, we thought we would share with you what it was like to be on
> hand for the launch of that space shuttle and the first few minutes of
> flight. [An audio presentation from the launching of STS125 was played and
> was greeted with cheers and applause.]
>      Although the automobile was not invented in the United States, our
> country has taken great pride in cars that are made in America. Driving has
> come to be a symbol of freedom, independence, and power. Until the last
> decade, everybody believed that driving a car required the use of sight. In
> the National Federation of the Blind we continue to ask each other
> challenging questions about the limits for blind people. Every day we seek
> to raise expectations for the blind because we know that low expectations
> are the true obstacle between blind people and our dreams. As we turned the
> calendar to the twenty-first century, Marc Maurer, who served as President
> of the Federation from 1986 to 2014, began asking why vision is a
> requirement for driving. He wondered out loud if we could build access to
> information systems that could present data nonvisually and whether blind
> people could use their own abilities to drive a car completely without
> sighted assistance. From Dr. Maurer's idea and under his leadership, the
> National Federation of the Blind began engaging with engineers around the
> Blind Driver Challenge. While America did not invent the car, the blind of
> America did imagine, engineer, and develop the technology so that we could
> accomplish the goal of blind people driving independently.
>      On January 29, 2011, I was honored to be the driver for the first
> public demonstration of our Blind Driver Challenge project. This took place
> just one hour from here at the most famous racetrack in our nation-the
> Daytona International Speedway. Let's relive what it was like for me as the
> driver and for the five hundred members of the Federation who were among
> the tens of thousands of spectators that were present. [Audio from the
> Daytona 500 describing Mark Riccobono's trip around the racetrack energized
> the audience.]
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Mark Riccobono sits in the Blind Driver Challenge vehicle,
> ready to take WBU delegates for a quick spin.]
>      While we do not yet have the power to put you on a space shuttle, we
> do have the ability to give you a ride in our blind drivable vehicle with a
> blind person as your chauffer. On Monday afternoon, we will have a limited
> number of opportunities for WBU delegates to take a trip around the parking
> lot with me driving the car. Please visit our general assembly welcome desk
> in the foyer area to sign up for one of the available times.
>      The blind of America continue to seek new ways to expand
> opportunities for the blind. We no longer know where the limits are for
> blind people. We do know that our imagination and dedication will allow us
> to pursue all of our dreams. We also know that the collaboration of the
> blind of our country with the blind around the world is increasingly
> important in pursuing those dreams. Many of the artificial barriers we
> encounter-whether it is inaccessible books and technology, the danger that
> quiet cars pose to all pedestrians, or the misconceptions about blindness
> that are used to restrict our rights-are now barriers on a global scale.
> However, these barriers are no match for the self-determined, action-
> oriented, and authentically driven union that brings us together today. On
> behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, we welcome you to our home,
> we thank you for your work to make our lives better as blind people, and we
> welcome the opportunity to learn from and share with you. In closing, I
> share with you the promise that the members of the National Federation of
> the Blind make to each other, as it is a promise we also share with the
> delegates of the World Blind Union: Together with love, hope, and
> determination, we transform dreams into reality.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Fredric K. Schroeder]
>         The World Blind Union: Future Challenges and Opportunities
>                        by Fredric K. Schroeder, PhD
>      From the Editor: Fredric Schroeder is one of the most prolific and
> thought-provoking writers we have, and when his name appears on the annual
> convention agenda, the speeches he gives never fail to command attention
> and spark discussion. It is no accident that Fred Schroeder is now the
> president of the World Blind Union, and his service will no doubt bring the
> same class, intelligence, and insight that have benefited the blind of the
> United States. Here is what he writes for the Braille Monitor following the
> meeting at which he was elected:
>      The problems confronting blind people worldwide are not hard to list:
> blind children face barriers to a good education; blind adults face high
> unemployment; and all of us face well-intended yet damaging low
> expectations. We face limited opportunities that have defined our history
> and plague the present. So, what can and will we do? Where do we begin?
> What will the future be for the estimated 285 million blind and visually
> impaired people around the world? Will it be a continuation of poverty,
> lost opportunity, and discouragement, or will it be one of hope and
> optimism? That was the question facing the delegates to the World Blind
> Union's Ninth General Assembly held August 18 to 25, 2016, in Orlando,
> Florida.
>      While the challenges are vast and complex, the solution is not
> mysterious nor beyond conception or reach. Time and time again, we have
> seized control of our own lives and asserted our ability and right to equal
> opportunity. We have joined together and worked together. We have combined
> our energy, resources, and imagination, and by so doing we have shown over
> and over again that, given the opportunity, blind people can live and work
> as others.
>      The World Blind Union 2016 General Assembly was a time for
> reflection, a time for discussion and planning, and a time for the blind of
> the world to take unified and concerted action.
>      We discussed access issues, including the challenges presented by the
> increase in the use of shared spaces; limitations in web accessibility; the
> danger of silent cars; the need to make books available in accessible
> formats and more. We discussed education and employment, but the 2016
> General Assembly was more than a time to meet and plan; it was a time to
> encourage and inspire one another. At the General Assembly there were blind
> people helping blind people; blind people sharing their ideas and
> experiences; and blind people lifting one another's confidence and
> expectations.
>      At conventions of the National Federation of the Blind, it is
> customary to have "talking signs," not electronic signs that talk, but
> blind people giving information and direction to other blind people. The
> idea of talking signs may not seem remarkable or dramatic, but it is a
> tangible expression of our shared belief in one another, our shared
> philosophy, and the recognition that, as blind people, we need information,
> but our need for information does not mean we need a protector or
> caretaker. The understanding that we can determine the direction of our own
> lives is at the heart of collective action; it is the foundation for
> forcing change and expanding opportunities. Some problems take money to
> address and others not. Some problems require advocacy or legal action and
> others not. Some require organized programs of public education, and some
> require individual blind people encouraging one another; but all require a
> belief in our right and ability to live full and productive lives,
> according to our capacity and willingness to work hard.
>      At the 2016 General Assembly, I was privileged and honored to be
> elected President of the World Blind Union. It is a four-year term and one
> full of challenges. But I am not in it alone, any more than the blind child
> fighting for an education or the blind adult fighting for a job. They are
> not alone. The challenges facing one blind person are the challenges facing
> us all. Each of us is the talking sign for another, encouraging and
> supporting one another.
>      In the United States parents fight for the right for their blind
> children to learn Braille and to gain a good education; the same is true
> around the world. In the United States blind adults face unemployment; the
> same is true around the world. In the United States we battle for equal web
> accessibility; the same is true around the world. In the United States we
> combat low expectations, low expectations that blight lives and crush the
> human spirit; the same is true everywhere around the world. The details are
> different, but the root cause is the same-low expectations and limited
> opportunity.
>      The good news is that there are 285 million of us around the world;
> 285 million talking signs, supporting one another, providing direction and
> encouragement; 285 million talking signs believing in one another. Will we
> make progress in the coming four years? Of course, but the real question is
> not whether we will make progress but how much. In the years to come, I
> will do my very best, sustained by the knowledge that together we have made
> progress beyond our wildest imaginings, and together we will continue to
> change the world.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Marc Maurer]
>        Change in the Wind at the World Blind Union General Assembly
>                               by Marc Maurer
>      The World Blind Union and the International Council for Education of
> People with Visual Impairment held joint meetings in Orlando, Florida,
> during August of 2016. This was a joyful opportunity for the National
> Federation of the Blind because our organization served as the primary host
> for these meetings. One of the more notable results from this meeting is
> that Dr. Fredric Schroeder was elected to the presidency of the World Blind
> Union. In 1964 Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the founding president of the National
> Federation of the Blind, was elected as founding president of the
> International Federation of the Blind, one of the two organizations that
> formed the World Blind Union twenty years later. This brings the presidency
> of the primary world organization of blind people back to the United
> States. Dr. tenBroek would be pleased.
>      I served as chairman of the host committee, and from this position I
> came to know innumerable details about the operations of the meetings we
> held. I also reflected about past meetings of the world organization and
> about my participation in them.
>      I first traveled to the World Blind Union meeting that was held in
> Madrid, Spain, in 1988. My experience with blindness-related organizations
> consisted mostly of interacting with the National Federation of the Blind
> and certain agencies doing work with the blind in this country. The World
> Blind Union was startlingly different from what I had known. In planning
> the 2016 meeting, I wondered how startlingly different the delegates to the
> world meeting would find their experience in the United States.
>      In Madrid, to begin with, the food was not standard American fare-how
> unexpected is that for an inexperienced American? And the Spanish didn't
> eat it in a pattern that seemed comprehensible to my stomach. The days
> began early, and they continued into the night. We stayed at an
> international hotel, which meant that a modified American breakfast could
> be found. The breakfast was part of the hotel package, and we felt some
> compunction to eat it because it would be wasteful not to do so. In 1988
> the National Federation of the Blind had come out of a period of our
> history when the organization had wondered whether we could gather the
> funds to continue, and we were quite conscious of not wasting a dime. Of
> course we still have that view, but differences in cultural norms are
> sometimes easier to accommodate when we've had a little more experience
> with them. If I traveled to Madrid today, I would probably spend more time
> resting and a little less with breakfast.
>      My problem was that the restaurants didn't open at night until 9:00
> PM, and the dinner hour was a leisurely affair. It often concluded after
> midnight. Then I would have to be prepared for breakfast at 7:00 AM.
> Apparently Spanish people have a nap in the middle of the day (sometimes
> called a siesta), but we had meetings. After a few days the 7:00 AM to
> after midnight schedule began to wear on me.
>      Of course Spain is a fascinating country. We visited la Alhambra, a
> hilltop fortress which also includes royal gardens and palaces. During the
> tour we passed through the throne room, and I wondered what distinguishes a
> throne? After all, a throne is a place to sit, and monarchs are not
> strikingly different from other people in their sitting requirements. Many
> years later when I was visiting the House of Lords in London, Lord Colin
> Low told me that the person who chairs the House of Lords, the Lord
> Speaker, sits on a bag of wool. I concluded from this and from my reading
> about the British Constitution that the Woolsack was adopted as a piece of
> history. Wool became a primary export for England in the thirteenth
> century, and the government of the country stabilized its financial
> operation by a modest tax on the wool export. However, these reflections
> have still not told me what there is essential about a throne. I feel
> certain that it is not an ordinary chair. When I was visiting the throne
> room at la Alhambra, I wanted to find out, and I stepped over the rope to
> touch the throne. A guard in the throne room warned me away. I still don't
> know what there is special about a throne.
>      Our hosts in Madrid, leaders of ONCE, the Spanish National
> Organization for the Blind, were most gracious. They took us to a
> restaurant where Ernest Hemingway had enjoyed dining, El Sobrino de Botín,
> and I tasted suckling pig for the first time. I have been convinced ever
> since that the Spanish know what to do with pork. One of the days in Spain
> was set aside for tours, and some of us went to Toledo, the former capital
> of the country. I had read novels about how a single human being could
> block a street, and I did not really believe it could be done. But some of
> the streets in Toledo were built between stone walls and were narrow enough
> that I could reach almost from one side to the other. The construction of
> such passages was both fascinating and impressive.
>      In 2016 we did not plan for a siesta in the middle of the day. I
> wondered how this would seem to delegates who were coming to our meeting
> for the first time from countries where such a custom is part of the
> tradition. I also wondered what other customs that we take for granted
> would seem unusual.
>      The meetings we planned in Orlando lasted eight days. Sometimes they
> were meetings for the World Blind Union, sometimes they were meetings for
> the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment,
> and sometimes the meetings were jointly conducted. One element of these
> meetings was the tea break. One occurred from 10:30 to 11:00 in the
> morning, and one occurred from 3:30 to 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon. We
> don't have these at NFB conventions. However, they are expected at World
> Blind Union meetings. At the tea break it is anticipated that everybody who
> wants to have tea, coffee, muffins, or pastries available, will get them.
> In planning the World Blind Union meeting I was charged with the
> responsibility of assuring that these breaks would occur as scheduled with
> the beverages and food available for each participant. I have managed a
> great many meetings in American hotels, and I know that buying coffee by
> the gallon is a dramatically expensive experience. Nevertheless, I planned
> the tea breaks. When I checked them, I noticed that they were well
> attended.
>      At some of the World Blind Union general assemblies a set lunch is
> one of the elements of the program, but the international organizing
> committee did not request that we plan prepared lunches for the delegates.
> We do like to eat in the United States, but we don't like restrictions. We
> usually hope to find many different kinds of food outlets wherever we go
> that remain open most of the day and much of the night and that offer a
> wide array of choices. Our more adventuresome colleagues tried the
> restaurants in the Rosen Centre and nearby the hotel such as the Red
> Lobster, Denny's, a barbecue spot, or fine dining establishments. Some like
> pizza, some like fast food, some like products of the sea, and some like
> seared steak. It appeared to me that our colleagues in the World Blind
> Union felt much the same.
>      Two basic types of entities exist in the field of work with the
> blind. These are agencies serving the blind and organizations of the blind.
> In many parts of the world organizations of the blind are scarce.
> Organizations of the blind are made up of blind people who elect their
> leaders and who, through a democratic process, determine the policies and
> direction for the organization. In places where blind people have
> established organizations of the blind, the concept that blind people
> should run their own programs is no longer novel. However, where
> organizations of the blind have not been created by blind people, the idea
> that the blind have the ability to manage the planning and detailed
> execution required to run a complex organization with significant programs
> is often regarded as a form of insanity. Blind people cannot lead other
> blind people, it is thought, because when this takes place, all fall in the
> ditch. Consequently, the thought that democracy exercised among blind
> people can create programs that sustain independence for blind people is
> controversial.
>      How, I wondered, would delegates from other nations feel about being
> with members of the National Federation of the Blind who are blind
> themselves and who expect to run the organization in which they are a part?
> In many of the World Blind Union meetings the volunteer contingent
> assembled to help delegates consists of sighted people. I planned to have
> volunteers available, but a great many of them were blind people. How would
> the delegates react to this, I wondered? Would they feel uneasy with this
> kind of volunteer? Pam Allen served as coordinator of volunteers.
> Federation members who have attended our national convention know that we
> follow the custom of creating a system of talking signs to direct
> individuals to various activities and locations. "Meeting room this way,"
> is not an unusual expression at our meetings. I wondered how this would
> work with World Blind Union delegates who are new to the experience. My
> observation is that the delegates seemed to manage quite well.
>      One event for every World Blind Union General Assembly is known as
> the cultural night. The host committee has the opportunity to show off the
> culture of the country where the meeting is taking place. How can the
> culture of the United States be characterized? What elements synthesize the
> American spirit? How can this be demonstrated? We decided to show five very
> different things: the blind driver car, baseball, exploration of space, a
> mechanical representation from a rodeo, and American music.
>      The car that we built to be driven on the Daytona International
> Speedway by Mark Riccobono combines two elements of American culture-the
> inventive spirit of blind people and the cars that we as Americans love to
> build. President Riccobono offered people rides in the vehicle using the
> space available in the parking lot of the Rosen Centre hotel. He was the
> chauffer. Although these rides were brief, they demonstrated part of the
> ability of blind people. The blind-drivable car would not have been
> developed without the work and the spirit of the National Federation of the
> Blind.
>      From the concept of the rodeo comes the mechanical bull. Invented in
> the United States, the mechanical bull is a machine shaped like a bull
> which can be made to behave as if it were an untamed creature prancing in
> the arena for cowboys, or World Blind Union delegates, to ride. It
> exemplifies the American West, the frontier, and something of the unusual
> playfulness of the American spirit.
>      Another part of the cultural night was a pitching station where
> delegates could throw a ball tracked by a speed gun. The best pitchers in
> baseball can cause the ball to travel at a hundred miles an hour. Delegates
> could discover just how good their pitching arms were. In addition, they
> could enjoy baseball food-hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, and soft pretzels.
>      For the space exploration element, we displayed artifacts used by
> astronauts in the space program. An astronaut, Mike Foreman, spoke about
> the space program. What must a person do to qualify to become an astronaut,
> and what are the requirements for a spacewalk? How does life change when
> there is no gravity, and how does it feel to be back on Earth? Our
> astronaut posed for pictures with delegates from around the world and
> answered many questions about the experiences of being in space.
>      To cap off the evening we enjoyed music performed by our own members.
> JP Williams, the singer-songwriter who has made a name for himself in
> Nashville (sometimes joined by James Brown, our Tennessee president and a
> member of the board of directors), offered musical selections from American
> artists. Delegates responded enthusiastically to the songs showing musical
> development in the United States over more than half a century. JP Williams
> and James Brown concluded the evening with a rendition of their own
> creations that had been performed for the National Federation of the
> Blind's seventy-fifth anniversary.
>      As chairman of the host committee it was not my responsibility to
> plan the work of the World Blind Union. However, I observed a great deal of
> it when my other duties did not call me away. I have attended all of the
> meetings of the World Blind Union General Assembly beginning in 1988, and I
> believe that the organization has changed from what it was in the early
> days.
>      The World Blind Union is a combination of organizations of the blind
> and organizations for the blind. In 1984 the International Federation of
> the Blind, an organization of blind people, and the World Council for the
> Welfare of the Blind, an organization composed of representatives of
> agencies for the blind, came together to form the World Blind Union. The
> result of this combination was uneasiness and distrust. Some delegates
> wanted the organization to be a representative one made up largely of blind
> people, and some delegates wanted the organization to be a think tank
> directing worldwide policy for the blind which would be made up of
> professionals who would speak on behalf of blind people. This second group
> wanted the union to become a coordinating body to direct resources from the
> wealthier parts of the world to blind people in parts of our globe where
> resources are scarce. In the early days, delegates fought fiercely over the
> nature of the organization.
>      In 2016 the arguments are largely a matter of history. The World
> Blind Union adopted for the first time this year a policy requiring all of
> its officers to be blind people. Although many sighted delegates remain
> part of the organization, the WBU is becoming an organization of the blind.
>      To serve as a representative body for blind people from around the
> world, the World Blind Union must learn what blind people want. Then, it
> must gain sufficient resources to exercise influence in places where
> decision-making about blind people occurs. Finally, it must exercise the
> authority of the organization with sufficient diplomacy that the use of the
> organization's power does not damage its structure. This is a very delicate
> challenge. However, if the World Blind Union has no power to make change,
> it is irrelevant. If its members have no power to make change, it is also
> likely that the World Blind Union will have no power to make change.
> Consequently, the challenge for the World Blind Union is to help its
> members to gain power, and to coordinate the use of that power to address
> the most important priorities for the blind.
>      More than a decade ago the World Blind Union attempted to influence
> the United Nations to create a legal document, the United Nations
> Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Dr. Fredric
> Schroeder served as a representative from the World Blind Union to the
> United Nations for the purpose of assisting in the negotiations. The head
> of the World Blind Union delegation to the United Nations was its then-
> president William Rowland. The Convention was adopted by the UN ten years
> ago, and it has been ratified in more than 150 countries, but unfortunately
> not in the United States. Although the World Blind Union is not as well
> known around the world as it might be, this United Nations activity brought
> its name forcefully to the attention of many international organizations.
>      Another convention sponsored by the World Blind Union, the Marrakesh
> Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind,
> Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, has been negotiated through
> the World Intellectual Property Organization, one segment of the United
> Nations. This treaty, which eases legal restrictions on the transfer of
> books for the blind from one nation to another, became effective in the
> summer of 2016 just as we were gathering for the World Blind Union General
> Assembly. This is the only treaty of which I have ever heard that deals
> exclusively with the needs of the blind and print disabled. Once again Dr.
> Schroeder was one of the negotiators along with Scott LaBarre. Maryanne
> Diamond, who served as president of the World Blind Union during the
> negotiations, was a fierce proponent of the rights of the blind. It was she
> who persuaded the National Federation of the Blind to invite the United
> States to support the treaty. Although this treaty has become effective for
> the nations that have ratified it, the document is still in the negotiation
> stage before the Senate of the United States.
>      What happened at the 2016 General Assembly of the World Blind Union?
> Delegates considered the governing structure of the world organization but
> left most of the systems established previously in place. The one exception
> is that all officers must now be blind people. Technology for the blind was
> reviewed, but no new programs were created regarding technology. Recently a
> group of organizations dealing with blindness caused a low-cost Braille
> display to be produced, which is making its way onto the market. This
> Braille display is not dramatically different from others currently
> available, but it is cheaper. The cost difference may enhance the use of
> Braille technology in places where it has previously been cost prohibitive
> to use it. Programs of rehabilitation for the blind received attention.
> Although new plans for rehabilitation did not appear to come from the
> discussions, a number of countries where rehabilitation had not been
> emphasized may find that there is sufficient interest to proceed with
> teaching the blind. Exhibitors showed their products to delegates. Most of
> the items on display are known to the people who have attended our national
> convention, but some new products made their appearance-such things as a
> digital Braille watch that can display the time and perhaps text messages
> in Braille characters.
>      Sometimes startling change comes not from a dramatic event but a
> subtle alteration in the pattern. In this general assembly it seems to me
> that the important news is that more blind people are taking more
> independent action to produce more opportunity for themselves and their
> peers in more places around the world than has ever previously occurred.
> Programs for the blind get better when blind people help to shape them. The
> World Blind Union is causing this to happen. This is good news for world
> programs for the blind.
>                                 ----------
>    Reflections from a First-time Attendee and the Joy in Helping Host a
>                               Meeting of the
>                              World Blind Union
>                               by Gary Wunder
>      Often in my Federation career I have heard arguments against
> localitis, the idea that your chapter is separate from the affiliate, and
> the affiliate separate from the national body. Along with other Federation
> leaders I have repeatedly made the case for one movement, one organization,
> one team, but I have always drawn the line when it comes to crossing
> international boundaries, being somewhat parochial in the view that I
> should put my effort into the country in which I live-the United States of
> America.
>      When the NFB took on the challenge of hosting the 2016 World Blind
> Union (WBU) General Assembly and the International Council for Education of
> People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI), my first thoughts were, "I wonder
> what this will cost? I wonder how much time it will take away from the
> really important work we do? I wonder what benefit will accrue to us, and
> will it really matter to the blind of the world where these organizations
> meet?"
>      I didn't say any of this; it felt negative, and I wanted to be open
> to the possibility that we might give in ways that I had not considered and
> that we might also receive in ways I could not fathom.
>      So I sat through the initial planning, expecting that the Braille
> Monitor would want to cover the event and that I would be invited along,
> but not really thinking about a more active role.
>      Any reservation I had about putting energy into the world meeting
> evaporated when Debbie and I got to Orlando a day before the proceedings
> began. Never having traveled abroad, I was swept up by all of the different
> languages being spoken around me and all of the accents in which I heard
> English being spoken. Some of the languages sounded beautiful to my ear,
> and some of the accents gave me a new appreciation for our mother tongue.
> It also led to some interesting discussions as we delighted in the various
> flavors of English and the differences in meaning of phrases depending on
> where the person who spoke was from. When giving directions to walk from
> the hotel to a nearby restaurant, I might tell a person to go left down the
> sidewalk and the restaurant is at the second light. Someone from New
> Zealand would have said to go left down the footpath; someone from Britain
> would have said to go down the pavement; and someone from South Africa
> would have said to go left down the pavement, and the restaurant was at the
> second robot. Martine Able, who is from South Africa, told me about the
> first time she went for a walk in Auckland (New Zealand), and she asked a
> passerby how many robots she would have to cross over to find a particular
> shop. The passerby just disappeared on her, obviously thinking her a little
> crazy (or as the Brits might say, a little barmy.)
>      While to Americans tea is a hot beverage or perhaps a quick break to
> sit and chat over that liquid delight, that is not the case in other
> countries. In New Zealand and Britain, tea is more of an early evening
> meal. In South Africa, tea is more of an afternoon snack. But supper, which
> in America is generally agreed upon as the large evening meal, in New
> Zealand is a snack meal closer to bedtime, while South Africa agrees with
> us Americans. Though there were others, some highly amusing, and even
> suggestive, we'll leave this topic for another time.
>      As the host, the NFB was expected to provide volunteers to assist the
> delegates and others who attended. This point was emphasized repeatedly,
> the concern being that the delegates would need help and would want it
> promptly. Traditionally this has meant providing plenty of sighted
> volunteers. While some of these were on hand, blind Federationists did the
> vast majority of the guiding, and the results were interesting. At this
> conference when the blind led the blind we did not fall into a ditch but
> startled and eventually motivated those we guided. When people asked for a
> guide, we provided them with a human guide. When they heard a cane and
> realized it was attached to the arm they were following, some would stop
> and ask what we were doing. We said we were acting as their human guide,
> and they made it clear that they had expected someone with sight. But,
> interestingly, no one hesitated for long when we explained that we knew the
> layout of the hotel and could get them where they wanted to go. By the time
> the meetings got into full swing, it was not uncommon to see delegates
> using their canes, sometimes with us as human guides and sometimes
> declining our help by proudly stating, "I can do this myself, but thank
> you." Hurray!
>      Not only were delegates impressed by their human guides and what they
> learned to do for themselves, but they loved the talking signs, the folks
> we call marshals at our national conventions. Our traditional marshals were
> not only talking signs but friendly hosts inviting delegates to meetings.
> "Welcome to the meeting of the general assembly; step right this way."
> "Good morning, and welcome to the first session of the World Blind Union
> Joint Assembly." Those who passed by couldn't just take the advice and move
> into the room. Almost everyone shouted out a thank you or moved to the side
> to tell us how exciting they found the concept of talking human signs.
> After the first day we realized we could have fun with this and got people
> who stopped to join us in the call out. The twist was that we got them to
> do this in their language. They enjoyed the celebrity, the participation in
> our project, and the reaction they heard as those filing into the room were
> even more amazed to hear greetings in their language. Never has it been so
> much fun to be a marshal or a biological talking sign.
>      One of the highlights in observing the general assembly was in seeing
> the recognition accorded to our leaders. Immediate Past President Maurer's
> long service was clearly evident in the respect shown him by the delegates
> and officers of the WBU. The respect for the President of the National
> Federation of the Blind was similarly evident in the attention paid his
> remarks and the enthusiastic response to them. The contribution Mary Ellen
> Jernigan has made was acknowledged when the members of the general assembly
> unanimously voted to accept her as a lifetime member of the organization,
> an honor which is recognized with special seating in the same way
> designated areas are provided for the delegates from each country. When I
> think about the major struggles we face in maintaining our organization
> such as recruiting members, raising funds, and coming up with innovative
> programs, I will now view these challenges in a new light. Civil War is a
> reality in far too many countries, and blind people suffer
> disproportionately. We heard from service providers who risked their lives
> to go where blind people were; who were called upon by the rebel forces to
> account for why they, as government representatives, were found in rebel
> territory; and who were called upon when arriving back home to demonstrate
> their loyalty to the government by justifying why they would provide
> services to the rebels.
>      Organizing a chapter is hard work, but what we do is nothing compared
> with what must occur in some countries to make this happen. Many have
> little in the way of public transportation. Sometimes the requirement to
> conduct a meeting in more than one language is a significant obstacle.
> Cultural differences sometimes make communication between different
> provinces exceedingly difficult. The fact that many countries who came to
> the World Blind Union even have organizations of the blind is a testament
> to the toughness of blind men and women who want better for themselves and
> the inspiration they draw from one another in bringing about a better
> tomorrow. The National Federation of the Blind wanted to help the World
> Blind Union by being the host of its 2016 General Assembly, but as is the
> case so many times when we give, we often are the beneficiary of treasured
> experiences we never envisioned. This was my experience, and I thank the
> National Federation of the Blind and the World Blind Union for letting me
> be a part.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Karen Keninger]
>                            My Leadership Journey
>                              by Karen Keninger
>      From the Editor: On Monday, August 24, 2016, the World Blind Union
> held a session on leadership chaired by Maryanne Diamond, former president
> of the World Blind Union. Leaders from countries around the world offered
> perspectives on the exercise of leadership, and the director of the
> National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped from the
> United States was one of the presenters. Here is what she said:
>      Thank you, Maryanne, and welcome, all of you. I know that we have a
> lot of seasoned leaders in this group, so I hope that I don't bore you. I'm
> going to tell you about my own leadership journey, and perhaps some of it
> will resonate with some of you seasoned leaders, and for some of you who
> are working on that, maybe you'll get a kernel or two of something useful.
>      My journey began many years ago, and it was a small thing, really. My
> little daughter came home from catechism class with a picture of a chicken.
> I said, "What did you learn? Why did you draw a chicken?" She had no idea.
> I wanted to complain: she isn't learning anything. Then I realized I had no
> idea what they were really doing. I figured out that if I wanted to have
> input into the program, I'd better plan to do the work. So I signed up to
> teach. It was really a lot of work: I had to get lesson plans in Braille,
> had to plan the lessons, and then I had to manage a room full of rowdy nine-
> year-olds. But by doing that I had influence over the program-they really
> weren't doing such a bad job after all. But the lesson that I learned was
> that if I wanted to influence the outcome of the program, I had to jump in
> and work at it, study it, get to know it, understand it, understand the
> potentials and the constraints, and find solutions to problems. I needed to
> develop opinions based on facts and the situation that was there.
>      I learned that I could use the unique knowledge that I had as a blind
> person, as a woman, as a mother, as a teacher, and the unique combination
> of my own gifts to influence the outcomes. To do the work effectively I had
> to hone my blindness skills. Now I have been blind since I was a small
> child, and I'm a lifelong Braille reader, and my experience has taught me
> that personal literacy is paramount to my success as a blind leader. When
> I'm writing, for instance, it's not good enough to be almost right. I don't
> want people saying, "Well that's pretty good for a blind person." I want
> people to say, "That's pretty good." Literacy is not a luxury for me.
> Listening only is not enough for me, either. I use Braille just the way
> sighted people use print: take notes in Braille on my notetaker, on my
> Perkins Brailler, and on my slate and stylus. I read them back in Braille;
> I search them on my notetaker; I flag them, I edit them; I use a
> combination of everything I can get my hands on to compensate for my
> inability to read print. I use the computer with speech, I use recorded
> books, I use recorded magazines, but I also use Braille and strongly
> believe that without the literacy Braille provides for me, I would be less
> able to do my job. I need to write notes and read them back; I need to
> write and edit documents, including the spelling, the punctuation, the
> paragraphing, as well as all the content; I need to read and manipulate
> numbers on spreadsheets for budgets; I need them in Braille. So on my desk
> you will find a Perkins Brailler, a slate and stylus, a notetaker, and a
> computer with a Braille display.
>      I am very fortunate to have all these devices, but the second part of
> that is the learning and practicing using them day in and day out so I can
> be efficient to do my work. It's a lot more work to learn to use a screen
> reader and be efficient with it than it is to learn to point and click a
> mouse. But it's critical these days to getting the job done.
>      Mobility was another thing that I had to take seriously. I've used a
> dog guide since I was sixteen, and for years that was sufficient. But I
> discovered-I'm a little slow-that some things are better done with a dog,
> but some things are better done with a cane, and some things are better
> done with a sighted guide. It depends on the situation. My preference is to
> be independent. My choice is to have both the dog and the cane at my
> disposal so that I can have the most efficient mode for the moment. Aside
> from the practicalities of good, independent travel, I believe that it
> helps in maintaining my image as a competent and professional colleague.
>      Jumping in and contributing at some level was where I started, honing
> my skills along the way. That got me into a job at a rehabilitation agency.
> And then came another big lesson: I was given the task of drafting a new
> strategic plan for the agency. Oh, I knew what I was doing. I knew the
> program. I drafted a beautiful, logical, may I say perfect strategic plan.
> And I delivered it complete and proud. And they rejected it out of hand.
> Why? Because I did not get buy-in from the stakeholders at the beginning
> and throughout the process. Yeah, it was pretty humiliating to have my work
> rejected so completely, and I had to start over. But this time, on the
> advice of my boss, I gathered input from everyone first. I learned that
> leadership doesn't happen in a vacuum. I couldn't lead unless I could
> convince others to follow. And to do that, I learned that I had to spend
> the time and the patience-and it took patience to listen, to gather input,
> and to incorporate that input into the project. And-surprise, surprise-I
> discovered that they had a lot of ideas I hadn't thought of. When people
> felt like their concerns were addressed, they were much more willing to
> follow my lead on the project.
>      The second draft was accepted. It contained other people's ideas
> besides my own, but because I drafted it, I was able to define the
> foundation of the plan, and my foundation remained through subsequent
> iterations.
>      Leadership involves risks. Sometimes projects fail, and when they do,
> leaders take the responsibility. I spearheaded a big project several years
> ago to develop a new case management system in our agency. The project
> failed abysmally. I could give you a long list of reasons why it failed and
> a long list of lessons learned, but the point is that it failed, and I had
> the lead responsibility. The only thing I could do was pick up the pieces
> and move forward, taking what I had learned and implementing them into the
> next project. I've worked hard, taken chances, and, perhaps most
> importantly, I've learned from my mistakes. Today I am in a leadership
> position at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically
> Handicapped. I'm at the national level of a program affecting the lives of
> hundreds of thousands of people in the United States.
>      Leadership presumes that you know where you are going, and people
> will follow you if the goal makes sense. I have a vision for my program, I
> have articulated that vision clearly (I think) and consistently for the
> past four years. Part of that vision includes converting our Braille
> program from hardcopy to electronic, providing refreshable Braille devices
> and electronic Braille books and magazines, and hardcopy only on demand.
> This is a big change for my program, but it is my vision based on my
> knowledge and experience. Four years ago when I came to the National
> Library Service and articulated that vision for the first time, it was a
> long way off. I knew it would not be possible to achieve unless several
> things happened and that I had a role in making those things happen. I
> needed a change to our governing laws. To get that to happen I needed the
> support of the Library of Congress upper management to include it in their
> legislative requests. To get that to happen, I had to sell the value of
> Braille literacy to a completely uninformed audience. I took every chance
> that I could to do that, and succeeded.
>      Meanwhile, we had to establish the need from the perspective of the
> stakeholders. So we worked with Perkins to organize a Braille summit to
> solicit feedback and ideas on all aspects of Braille. The top
> recommendation coming out of that summit-as I sort of hoped it would be-was
> making refreshable Braille devices available to everyone. I also needed to
> enlist the support of the consumer organizations, because Congress needed
> to know that this was an important thing to all blind people.
>      Another thing that needed to happen was a new technology. We couldn't
> even consider the possibility of providing refreshable Braille displays at
> the current prices.
>      I made my vision known as widely as possible, and perhaps that helped
> to leverage the resources needed to develop a new technology. That
> technology is soon to be on the market as a result of the Transforming
> Braille Group, which is an international effort led by Kevin Carey. It's
> going to be on the market at affordable prices. Our legislation has changed
> as of this summer, and now we have the challenge of implementing the
> program. The vision is clear, and we're closer to reality now. Getting the
> support of the stakeholders has been critical, and beating the drum with a
> clear goal helps people to get behind it.
>      Perhaps the hardest lesson I've learned is that I can't do it alone.
> I have learned that lesson many times over the years, and I keep relearning
> it. To bring this Braille project along I needed a whole constellation of
> supporters. I needed the National Federation of the Blind, the American
> Council of the Blind, the Library of Congress, and the International
> Transforming Braille Group, the educators, the Braille readers, the Braille
> technology experts, and everyone else interested in literacy for blind
> people around the world. I can't do it alone, but I can do my part to make
> it happen.
>      Leading takes practice and hard work. Like everything else that's
> worthwhile, the rewards are there, but so are the risks and the
> responsibilities. I have found as a blind person that a full array of
> alternative techniques is critical to my success because no one thing or
> one way is the best way all the time.
>      I have learned to take into account the opinions of others and to
> value and promote the skills of others to get what I want done. But I think
> the most important thing that I have learned is that my dreams, my goals,
> and my aspirations are as important as anyone else's. They are valid, and
> they are achievable. Your dreams, your visions for a better future are just
> as valid as anyone else's, too. If we each do our part and we all work
> together, we can make them all come true.
>      I will end with one of my favorite quotes from Margaret Mead, an
> anthropologist of some repute. She said, and I echo, "Never doubt that a
> small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed,
> it's the only thing that ever has." Thank you.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Fredric K. Schroeder]
>                 Nurture the Ability, Sustain the Confidence
>                           by Fredric K. Schroeder
>      From the Editor: Many presentations that make it into this magazine
> are crafted for delivery and represent hours of preparation, but one
> hallmark of a good leader is to think on his feet and to be able to
> articulate the things he believes in when called on. Combining the head and
> the heart and sending their messages to others is a talent Fred Schroeder
> has in abundance, and his ability served all of those attending the meeting
> of the WBU when the absence of a previously-scheduled speaker due to
> illness meant the assembly needed significant and moving remarks. Dr.
> Schroeder was unexpectedly called upon to do this, and here is how his
> impromptu presentation was introduced by President Arnt Holte:
>      You'll see in the program that our last speaker is Bryan Bashin from
> Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco. Unfortunately Bryan is unable to
> be with us, so at no notice I've invited someone else to take his place,
> and that's our incoming president, Fred Schroeder. Fred has also a lifetime
> of leadership in very different roles, and I'm sure much to share with us.
> Thank you, Fred, for taking up this spot so willingly-or unwillingly.
>      Fred Schroeder: Good afternoon. It is a real pleasure to be here with
> you this afternoon. Many of the remarks that you have heard resonate with
> my own story. I want to begin by saying that, when we look at the
> challenges facing blind people, it is very easy to catalog the challenges
> in terms of the mechanics. In other words, difficulty getting access to a
> good education, difficulty in getting access to employment, even at very
> entry levels. But those lack of opportunities in many respects are
> symptomatic of the greater problem that we face, and that is low
> expectations. Society views us as broken people. They don't harbor ill-will
> toward us, but they see us as very damaged, as broken people-people who are
> very limited in the ability to carry out even the most basic day-to-day
> activities. And so with that as the underlying assumptions, opportunities
> are limited.
>      I lost most of my vision when I was seven years old, and I went
> through public school in the United States without any special education
> support, but more tragically, no blind role models. And all I remember
> about my childhood as a blind person was being told what I could not do.
> Since I didn't see well enough to read print, I was excused from all
> reading, writing, and math in the curriculum. Now, if you think about your
> education, if you take reading, writing, and math out of the education,
> there is precious little left. So I had a terrible education, a very
> incomplete education. However, one thing I did learn: I learned to feel
> inferior.
>      When I was in tenth grade, I had to take a biology class. Part of
> that biology class involved a lab experiment: dissecting a frog. The way
> the exercise was structured is that the class was divided into groups of
> two. And the dissection was divided up into two parts, and so when the
> dissection would begin, one student would do the first half of the
> dissection while the other student recorded what was being discovered, and
> midway through they would switch roles so that both students got the
> opportunity to participate in the dissection. Well in my class we were
> divided into groups of two except there was a group that had three people
> in it, that was my group. And that meant that I sat behind the other two
> students while they did the experiment. So I did not learn anything about
> dissecting a frog. Now you might think, so what? How important is it to
> dissect a frog? But what I did learn is a feeling of inferiority. I assumed
> that I could not do what others were able to do, and that I could not do it
> because of blindness.
>      I lost all of my vision when I was sixteen, and I was very fortunate
> because I went to an adult rehabilitation center in California, and there I
> learned the techniques that I would need to be able to function as a blind
> person. Karen Keninger spoke about these skills, the blindness skills, the
> ability to read and write Braille, the ability to travel independently
> using a white cane, the ability to cook and to clean your house and take
> care of your day-to-day needs. But the most fortunate part was I met other
> blind people. As many of you know, for all of my adult life I have been
> actively involved in a consumer organization in the United States, the host
> organization for this general assembly, the National Federation of the
> Blind. And it was through the Federation that I began to recognize that the
> limitations that I thought were because of blindness were socially-
> constructed limitations. In other words they were limitations that came
> from low expectations, and I had internalized those low expectations.
>      A friend of mine-well, the day I met him, he was involved in some
> legislative work, and he wanted me to contact him the next week, so he
> said, "Let me give you my telephone number, I want you to call me next
> week." And I said, "I have no way of writing down your telephone number."
> And he said, "Don't you know how to read Braille?" I had learned Braille, I
> said yes. He said, "Do you know how to use a slate and stylus?" I said,
> "Yes, but I don't have one with me." He said, "If you're sighted, you don't
> need to carry a pen, because there are sighted people everywhere, and
> somebody will have a pen. But if you're blind, you have to carry a slate
> and stylus because if you don't, the odds that all the sighted people
> around you will have slates and styluses are pretty low." So, by the way,
> to this day I carry a slate and stylus in my bag. What was he doing? What
> he was doing, in a gentle way, was saying quit acting helpless. Quit
> assuming that you cannot do things because of blindness.
>      That support system was absolutely critical in shaping my career
> goals. I wanted to be a teacher of blind children, so I went through my
> university training and did well. I began to see that what was limiting so
> many of us was the consequence of stereotypes or misunderstanding about
> blindness, more so than the functional aspect of blindness. I graduated
> with my master's degree in 1978-some of you weren't born in 1978. At that
> time in the US blind children were being educated in integrated schools,
> not all blind children, but the move was very strong toward integrated
> education. And many of the school systems were looking for teachers who
> could teach the academic subjects, but who also could teach orientation and
> mobility. In other words, a school system might only have three or four
> blind children, and they didn't want to hire a teacher to teach academics
> and then hire an orientation and mobility specialist. So many of the
> students in my graduate program were getting certified to teach orientation
> and mobility along with their regular teacher certification. Well, I wanted
> a job, and I thought that would prepare me best for a job. But at that time
> in the United States the university training programs did not accept blind
> people to learn to be orientation and mobility instructors. Well, it's a
> very long story, but the key part that I want to bring up this afternoon is
> that what allowed me-or gave the confidence, the resolve-to continue on and
> to earn my degree in orientation and mobility when by and large the
> profession was very much against me was the faith that other blind people
> had in me. Blind people believed in me. Blind people encouraged me. They
> told me that what I was doing was reasonable, that we needed to expand the
> kinds of jobs that blind people could do, and that sustained me. I was
> young, I was twenty-one years old; I had an entire profession thinking that
> I was some sort of troublemaker, that I was being unrealistic, that I would
> be putting my students in danger. I don't say this to criticize or condemn
> any of the people who opposed my training. But what allowed me to sustain
> was the support of other blind people. As we look at leadership, we need to
> find opportunities to help sustain other blind people, to help encourage
> other blind people. Sometimes it's through money, but it's not all about
> resources. It's about encouragement and belief.
>      I went on into special education. I faced discrimination, as do most
> blind people in trying to find employment. At the time I applied for
> teaching jobs, there was a huge nationwide shortage of qualified teachers
> of blind children. School districts would come to the university and try to
> recruit people before they had graduated so that they would have contracts
> and be committed to going to work at that particular school system upon
> graduation. Every single student-they were sighted-every student in my
> program had multiple job offers. I had no job offers. I applied for over
> thirty teaching jobs and received not a single job offer. Not because I
> wasn't qualified, but simply because of low expectations.
>      My career began with a blind person who ran an agency for the blind,
> a long-term leader in our National Federation of the Blind, and he hired
> me. Well subsequent to that, I've had other jobs. But when I moved to
> Washington in 1994, I moved to work for President Bill Clinton. My job was
> to head up an agency called the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the
> agency that provides the bulk of the funding for employment training for
> adults with disabilities, not just blind people, but adults with
> disabilities throughout the country. While I was there we were in the
> process of trying to recruit someone for a job, and there was a blind woman
> who came to my attention. She had a law degree, had done very well in law
> school, but, like so many other blind people, when she finished law school,
> she could not find a job. At the time that I was recruiting for this
> position, she had been out of work at least six or eight years, maybe ten
> years since graduating from law school. So was she the most qualified
> candidate? No. There were other candidates who were applying who had very
> long resumés, lots of work experience, work experience directly related to
> the function of the job. But I hired her anyway. Now did I do that because
> I felt sorry for her? No. She had the skill, she had shown that she could
> compete and do the kind of work that I needed to have her do; it was
> analytical work, and she had a law degree with very good grades. Part of
> expanding leadership is helping others-other blind people-take that step
> into employment.
>      Since the time I left the government, this young woman has been
> promoted twice. The federal government has a system that goes from what
> they call GS1 to GS15, with fifteen being the highest. She is now at the
> GS15 level, and one of the most respected, competent people in that agency.
> She had the ability, but she did not have the opportunity. We have to help
> one another gain access to jobs that will develop blind people's leadership
> potential.
>      So in closing, I would say again: if blind people are willing to go
> into leadership positions, you have to be prepared, you need those good
> blindness skills that Karen spoke about. You need to have the right kind of
> preparation, training in whatever skill area, or if it's academic
> qualifications, you need to have those credentials. But also you need to
> have in your own mind, heart, and spirit the belief that you are just as
> worthy and just as capable as anyone else. And what sustains that, what
> nourishes that, is the support of other blind people. This is something
> each of us in this room can do, whether we have resources or no resources;
> we can find and encourage blind people, help support them, to unlock not
> only their own potential, but by so doing to expand opportunities for blind
> people everywhere. That is a quick summary of my story, and of course there
> are so many pieces that are left out-and I don't really mean to end on a
> negative note, but I will tell you this: when I was working for President
> Clinton, this was a position appointed by the president, and it required
> confirmation by the Senate of the United States. I was on an airplane one
> time, and I was talking to a stranger in the seat next to me, and he asked,
> "What do you do?"
>      I said, "Well, I run a federal agency." He was absolutely astounded.
>      He said, "What does the agency do?"
>      I said, "We provide funds for job training for people with
> disabilities."
>      He said, "Oh, I understand." He didn't say it, but I'm sure what went
> through his mind is, "Oh, not a real job, a disabled job, oh I see how a
> blind person could do that, yes." We get marginalized. I don't say that
> with bitterness or with anger, but I think it is a reality, and it is a big
> part of our challenge around the world: To help nurture the ability in
> blind people; to sustain their confidence and encourage them; and, to the
> degree that we control hiring opportunities, to actively look for blind
> people-not as tokens, not just putting some unqualified person in just to
> have filled the slot with a blind person, but looking for people who may
> not have the long resumé because of the discrimination they have faced, but
> they have the skills, and they have the drive, and they have the ability.
> Thank you, Madame Chair.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Ron McCallum]
>                 Leadership: Perspectives from Ron McCallum
>                               by Ron McCallum
>      From the Editor: There is no better way to introduce this speaker to
> an American audience than his Wikipedia entry: "Ronald Clive 'Ron' McCallum
> AO [Order of Australia] is an Australian legal academic. He is an expert in
> labor law and has served as a professor and dean of law at the University
> of Sydney. He is the first totally blind person to be appointed to a full
> professorship in any subject at any university in Australia or New Zealand,
> as well as the first to become a Dean of Law in these countries. He chairs
> the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in
> Geneva." He spoke on Monday afternoon on the topic of leadership. Here is
> what he had to say:
>      Well, I know Charles is here, so hello, Charles. Hello, everyone.
> Hello to those listening on ACB Radio, and I'll let you in on a little
> secret: some of the delegates are listening to this on their iPhones as
> they sit by the pool [laughter]. Can I say, guys, stop splashing and
> concentrate.
>      I'm a little diffident about speaking about myself, but I have to say
> a few introductory words; then I'll say something about leadership in two
> forms, being dean of a law school, and chairing a United Nations committee,
> both taking different skills. Then I want to conclude by asking why are
> there not more blind people as leaders, and why not more blind women?
>      I was born a long time ago, I think I'm perhaps the third-oldest
> person here, perhaps not as old as Lord Low or Euclid, but getting there. I
> was born in 1948 in Melbourne, Australia. I'm a retrolental fibroplasia
> child, that is, too much oxygen destroyed my vision. I went to blind
> schools and to an ordinary high school, and then I studied law both in
> Australia and in Canada as a post-graduate student, where I got great help
> from the CNIB-I have a great soft spot for the CNIB. It was the first time
> I'd come across a truly national blind organization.
>      I ended up being an academic in Australia. My specialty was and still
> is labor relations law. In 1993 I found, to my great surprise, that I
> happened to be the first totally blind person at any Australian or New
> Zealand university to be appointed to a full professorship in law
> [applause]-oh no, don't please. From 2002 until 2007 I was dean of the
> University of Sydney Law School, one of the two oldest law schools in the
> country, more than 150 years old. Then in 2009 I became an inaugural member
> of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
> which monitors the CRPD [Convention on the Rights of Persons with
> Disabilities], and my friends are still there. I finished my mandate in
> December 2014. I chaired the committee from February 2010 to April 2013,
> when my successor-who we've just heard from, Maria Soledad Cisternas, took
> over. I also had the honor between 2011 and 2012 of chairing all of the
> meetings of the nine chairs of the nine human rights committees of the
> entire United Nations, and that was perhaps the highest and most complex
> thing I've ever done at a time of treaty body reform.
>      Being a dean of a law school is rather different from being a chair
> of a UN committee, and therefore I want to look at them separately and look
> at some of the techniques I used. The first thing is, if you're going to be
> dean of an academic institution-or any institution, for that matter-you
> need to be able to do the jobs that you're asking people to do. No point in
> being a leader and saying, well I can't do this, I can't do that. You can't
> do everything. But I had been a relatively successful labor relations
> lawyer; I'd also practiced law as a special counsel in the law firm of
> Ashurst, which goes around the world now. So I was able to do the jobs of
> teaching, researching, and practice that I wanted my staff to do when
> teaching young women and men to be lawyers.
>      Second important thing is-I know it's a phrase often used-deep
> listening. Every leader needs to be able to listen to every person on their
> staff. How do I work out what people are made of if I can't see their
> faces? Well I think we blind people are pretty good at that. I follow one
> of my great heroes, Jacques Lusseyran, who died in 1971. He was a blind
> leader in the French Resistance who vetted people by using the techniques I
> have tried to learn: by their voices, by their breathing, what they say,
> and what they don't say. And I've found it very easy to get a rapport with
> people. My labor relations training taught me the value of conciliation and
> putting myself in the shoes of the other person.
>      The second great assistance was technology. Email made my life so
> much easier. If I had been dean of a law school in the 1980s when there was
> no email, I would have been confronted by bombastic, handwritten notes from
> my staff! I would have had to find someone to read them. But now, for good
> or for ill, they emailed, and I could read them instantly. I had so many
> folders I could find the latest email from any of the hundred staff in less
> than a minute. I learned when it was important to email and when it was
> important not to. I had one staff member who was concerned about an issue
> of leave. So I said, "Instead of having email trench warfare, perhaps we
> could meet?"
>      "Well, Ron," he said, "I like to copy people so they'll know how
> unreasonable you are."
>      I said, "Well, why don't we meet, and after the meeting you can write
> to your friends, copy me, and confirm my unreasonableness." We settled it
> (talking) within sixty seconds.
>      All organizations these days, for good or for ill-I think some ways
> for ill-run on finances, and the law school is no different. My budget was
> quite small; I think it was only about 17 million, part of a university
> budget. I worked very hard with Excel spreadsheets in learning the
> finances. Sometimes I would bring in the head of finance with a-what do you
> call it, a text tape recorder? Not a tape recorder, you know what I mean, a
> text recorder-and I would go through some of the key financial systems. I
> had arguments with the university central people about making finance
> websites accessible. One of the problems I still find when I talk to people
> about making websites accessible is they say, "Oh, yes, yes yes yes-I have
> no idea what it means," have you ever struck that? But I kept the law
> school in the black for five of my five years and got commendations from
> the president of the university, not an easy thing to do. I think it took
> up more of my time, but it taught me the value of financial literacy, and I
> think so many of we blind going into leader positions ought to think about
> learning financial literacy.
>      I had my ups and downs. My wife, who is here today, Professor Mary
> Crock-who has vision-she and I had been married then for twenty years, and
> she was a member of the staff. On occasions in academic trench warfare some
> of my colleagues would sort of tip a bucket over her, knowing I couldn't
> get at them for that, and that made life a bit complicated. But
> nevertheless we both stood firm and got through it. It was a great
> advantage having Mary in the building, even though I think my time as five
> years of deanship made her "the invisible person." Now I'm a professor
> emeritus, which means a has-been. I'm not about, and Mary is the only
> fulltime professor in the family, as she will tell you.
>      It was a relatively successful time: I began building the new law
> building which now stands wonderfully, finished by my successor; I achieved
> the only law school exchange-staff and students-with the Harvard Law School
> of any Australian university law school; we won three Rhodes Scholarships,
> which has never been done before or since; and we won the world
> championship of mooting in 2007 in the Jessup Moot [court competition]. I
> was very honored to play that role.
>      Chairing a United Nations committee takes different skills. There
> are, on the committee, eighteen persons from all around the world who are
> all elected. I couldn't fire them! And they had just as much right as I
> had; we were equals. I never applied to be chair-for that matter I never
> applied to be dean; the president asked me; I wasn't that interested at the
> time. I never applied to be chair, and at the second meeting, where there
> was discussion and no one could agree, a group of my colleagues came to me
> and said, "Look, we think you're the only person we could agree upon."
>      Why? I've never been employed by a disability agency. I've always
> worked in the public and in the private sectors. I'm not in the disability
> industry per se; I was not seeking to enhance my career by being chair. It
> wasn't going to affect my career one way or the other.
>      What I brought was being a lawyer; I saw my job as getting the
> business done and following the rules. That's what I did for three years.
> Because we were all equals and I had no more power than anyone else, you
> really needed to be deep listening and to recognize that people have
> different backgrounds and different thoughts. The notion of conflict of
> interests, which is taken very strictly by Anglo-Saxons, has a totally
> different meaning in Africa, Latin America, and in the Middle East. I don't
> know that my view of conflict of interest is any better or any worse than
> the other views. But my job was to coalesce them together.
>      When chairing the nine human rights treaty-body chair meetings, that
> was the first time some of these senior people had run into a senior
> disabled person, and that was quite extraordinary because we were doing, if
> you like, reform of the treaty-body system.
>      Well, why aren't there more blind leaders? Well I think the first
> point to note is that our level of employment is not high-certainly in
> Australia and Canada, the two countries I'm familiar with. We need to
> increase education levels, and we need to increase employment, and we need
> to increase the confidence of we blind people, and we need to have more
> role models out there to show how it can be done. My role models were
> Rupert Cross, a blind person who taught law at Oxford in the 50s and 60s.
> I'm a bit diffident in saying this, but after teaching labor law for forty-
> four years, there are now three blind persons at three different
> universities who are university lecturers in labor law. I wish they'd go to
> property law or criminal law; it's my field! [laughter, applause] But
> nevertheless it shows the value of role models.
>      Finally, I think we need to establish courses to help blind people
> with leadership, to help them with deep listening, and to train them with
> financial literacy. I'm often told: blind people aren't financially
> literate. I say, "Well we could train them."
>      It's been a great honor for me to speak here today, particularly next
> to my close friend Maryanne Diamond, who I went to school with. Can I say
> that, as a teenager, she was just as feisty as she is today. Bless you all,
> thank you.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Gary Wunder]
> Digital Accessibility: Changes for the Good, and Challenges for the Present
> and Future
>                               by Gary Wunder
>      Introduction by Immediate Past President Maurer: I wanted to offer
> comment about this article because I was present when these remarks were
> delivered, and I thought they were worth hearing. Gary Wunder made a
> presentation to the World Blind Union General Assembly in August of 2016
> which I felt showed a great deal of thought. The World Blind Union has had
> a technology committee for many years, and the organization considers
> technology in its meetings occasionally. However the program of the
> organization is not as robust as it might be. The suggestions in the
> address by Gary Wunder are worth consideration.
>      Members of the National Federation of the Blind know Gary Wunder as
> the editor of the Braille Monitor. However, he also has other roles. He is
> trained in computer technology. He served as a developer of computer
> programming for a university hospital in Missouri. He has been the
> chairperson of the web developers group within the National Federation of
> the Blind. He has been president of the National Federation of the Blind of
> Missouri for decades. He has been a member of the board of directors of the
> National Federation of the Blind. He has served as a trusted advisor to the
> President of the National Federation of the Blind with regard to technology
> and internal political matters. He has both courage and generosity. With
> all of this, he is a gentle man and a gentleman.
>      At the World Blind Union General Assembly the panel discussion
> regarding technology included Gary Wunder's presentation. The digital
> divide is at least as great for the blind of the world as it is for anybody
> else and perhaps greater. The speed at which technology is being created
> that requires vision is increasing. The danger is evident. What the future
> will bring is yet to be known. How can the problem be addressed? Gary
> Wunder offers a notable answer. I hope that the World Blind Union takes
> action in the direction he suggests. Here is what he said:
>      In my lifetime I have known the deprivation one feels when
> information is presented on white paper that is blank to the touch; the joy
> of knowing there is a way for me to read using my fingers; the
> discouragement in learning that the further along I got in school, the less
> likely it would be that my teachers could read my Braille; the exhilaration
> when realizing that more and more of the world's information was being born
> digitally or could easily be converted to this format; and the absolute
> exasperation when learning that this digital information could be created
> in such a way that it would be every bit as inaccessible as the white paper
> that so frustratingly kept its secrets.
>      Digitization makes it easier not only to read but to write. Now a
> first draft written on a computer is revised and refined; material is
> inserted, deleted, or moved, a process far easier than when, in my school
> days, writing a second draft or a final paper meant completely retyping it
> and hoping not to introduce new mistakes.
>      Digitization would mean that less Braille had to be transcribed by
> hand. Others were using digital means to create and distribute their work.
> Getting and reading this digitally born material should bring about
> uncharted opportunities for information. Add to this the increasing
> affordability and accuracy of technology that could take print from the
> page and make it digital, and for a time I thought that one of the major
> problems of blindness had been solved. Soon our organizations could turn
> their full attention to other things, the written word having been made
> universally available to all.
>      Well the bright future that would change our organizational
> priorities hasn't quite come to pass. Computers have become more powerful,
> but the text-based systems that initially were used to operate these
> marvels have given way to easier-to-use visual techniques. It is easier for
> a sighted person to find and point at a picture than it is for her to
> remember the name of a command. Navigating a screen where choices are
> listed is easier than remembering all of the parameters to make the program
> do what one wants. Pictures are a part of the real world for the sighted,
> so it should be no surprise that pictures have come to be a vital part of
> the virtual world one sees while at his computer screen.
>      Now the problem isn't pictures on computer screens or pointing and
> clicking to make things happen. These are good things that make the
> computer a friendlier device for the vast majority of the population. The
> problem is that pictures or icons too often replace words, and the mouse
> too often replaces keyboard alternatives. Blind people are excluded when
> only visual alternatives are considered in the design of technology. In
> some of this technology, the keyboard is useless in making a program work,
> and some programs are so visual that current screen-reading technology
> can't tell that buttons, checkboxes, combo boxes, and other controls even
> appear on the screen.
>      Like the physical world, equality in the digital world requires that
> blind people express our needs, participate in figuring out how to meet
> them, and become sufficiently active and politically sophisticated enough
> to have them addressed. In the National Federation of the Blind this has
> meant being active on four fronts: evaluating existing technology and
> participating in research and development to make it better; supporting and
> leaning on the assistive technology companies; prodding, pressuring, and
> eventually working with mainstream technology developers to include
> accessibility in their products; and asking government to help with
> regulations to clarify that the law of the land demands access to the
> digital world in the same way it does the physical one. Each of these tasks
> is incredibly difficult, but we are making progress. Providing meaningful
> comments about how to get the access we need requires people who understand
> how computers and screen readers work. Assistive technology developers are
> reluctant to share how they get the information they use or how they plan
> to get it in the future. Too often they cling to techniques that have
> worked in the past but which are now being made obsolete by the
> requirements of companies for greater security and stability. Mainstream
> companies too often see us as a minor and even an insignificant part of
> their customer base. They tend to see accessibility as a nice thing to do,
> but not if it gets in the way of a new or improved product that contains a
> feature they believe will make them outshine their competitors.
>      Eventually we turn to government, the entity that should represent
> us, not just because we are full-fledged citizens but because not having
> access leads to idleness, unemployment, and a greater burden on taxpayers.
> But government is reluctant to act; it fears that looking out for the blind
> may stifle innovation, fears being regarded as less friendly to business,
> and shrinks at the charge that it wishes to create new regulations, the
> very words being linked in much of the public's mind with an overly
> intrusive regime.
>      Four challenges-four big challenges-but we accept and embrace them
> because to do otherwise would be to accept defeat, to abandon our journey
> toward first-class citizenship, and to forsake our dream of participating
> in society on equal terms with the sighted.
>      So, how are we doing? You can see for yourselves that we have in this
> gathering from around the world knowledgeable people who understand the
> complexity of the computers we need to access, and they are offering input
> and help to the developers of assistive technology and working actively
> with mainstream providers so that many of the devices coming to market
> today that involve reading and writing are accessible out of the box. Is
> the change as fast as we would like it to be? No. Do companies sometimes
> release things that are inaccessible? Yes they do. But our progress is
> measurable, our opportunities are increasing, and more and more we are
> coming to be seen as worthwhile partners who, in meeting our needs, help
> mainstream businesses build products that more fully meet the needs of the
> diverse populations they wish to serve.
>      Thus far I've been talking about technology used in reading and
> writing, but other digital technology is found all around us, and some of
> it, if not made accessible, will truly be handicapping. Let's start in the
> home. Today's equipment for cooking and cleaning is becoming ever more
> digital. One seldom finds a stove or oven with rotatable knobs that can
> easily be labeled. Instead we find buttons that must be seen to be pressed,
> menus that must be seen to be navigated, and no means of nonvisual output
> that can be used to determine the temperature of our oven or the remaining
> time on its timer. The washing machine poses the same problem. How do we
> specify the size of the load; whether we want hot, warm, or cold water;
> whether the load is delicate or requires intense washing? The options are
> there, but all require vision. Many do not have feelable buttons that can
> be memorized and pressed with confidence that one won't ruin the clothes in
> the machine.
>      Unlike communication, there are no laws in our country pushing
> industry to build accessible home appliances. Without laws we are hard-
> pressed to exert the same pressure that has worked with some success in the
> information industry. There is, of course, a solid moral argument to be
> made, but how does one convince a company that morality deserves a place on
> a statement in which the bottom line is a number representing the
> percentage of profit and loss? Unless we make headway on accessible home
> appliances, we face the very real prospect that a fully capable auto
> mechanic, teacher, lawyer, or physicist may not be able to function
> independently when wishing to live alone and maintain a home. We don't
> intend to let this happen, but the prospect is more than a doomsday thesis
> around which some novel is based.
>      One additional challenge faces us as we seek to avoid drowning in the
> digital divide. Tremendous advances are being made in medical equipment.
> Conditions which would once have required a prolonged hospital stay can now
> be treated at home given equipment for monitoring and treatment. The
> equipment communicates using a digital display but makes no provision for
> nonvisual access. Sometimes input is through a touchscreen, sometimes
> through buttons one cannot easily feel, and sometimes using buttons which
> are activated not by a press but by a simple touch. Even when buttons are
> detectable, too often there is no confirmation that one has been pushed or
> that a longer-than-intended push has resulted in the machine concluding two
> or more presses were intended. All of this screams of danger and
> discrimination. It threatens our ability to take care of ourselves, our
> children, our parents, and others who could benefit from our competent care
> and compassion.
>      What I intend to impart today is not a bleak picture for our future
> but the challenges we must meet to have the future we want. As long as we
> can articulate our needs, marshal the resources to meet them, and bend the
> laws of our nations so that they acknowledge our right to live
> independently, these things we now see as problems will appear in the
> history books as accomplishments, not stumbling blocks. They will not be
> what stopped us but what pushed us, both to solutions that solve today's
> problems and that provide foundational answers for the challenges of
> tomorrow. We must win because there is just too much at stake to lose.
> Working together, we will have access that is affordable and efficient, and
> we will take our place as productive members of our societies. This is the
> promise we make to ourselves, and we always keep our promises, not only for
> the blind of today but the blind of tomorrow. Let us do this together!
>                                 ----------
>              Statement of the National Federation of the Blind
>  Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who
>          Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled
> Fifty-Sixth Series of Meetings of the WIPO Assemblies
> October 5, 2016
> by Mark Riccobono
>> From the Editor: One priority of the World Blind Union is ratification of
> the Marrakesh Treaty. We worked hard to see that it was drafted and adopted
> by the World Intellectual Property Organization and to see that it was sent
> to the Senate of the United States by the Obama Administration. In further
> support of its ratification, President Riccobono delivered these remarks,
> which applauds and acknowledges the accomplishment of the world body,
> concedes that our nation must ratify the treaty, and encourages all nations
> to work vigilantly for ratification. Here are his remarks:
>      Today we come together to celebrate a historic milestone in the
> struggle for equal rights and equal access to the world's knowledge by
> blind people. We also come together to recommit ourselves to all of the
> actions necessary to fulfill the human rights objectives that are at the
> core of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for
> Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled.
>      On behalf of the members of the National Federation of the Blind-the
> oldest and largest national organization of the blind in the United States
> of America-I would like to thank and congratulate the World Intellectual
> Property Organization (WIPO) and each of its partners for the years of hard
> work to establish this treaty and now bring it into force.
>      The Marrakesh Treaty has been and will continue to be an urgent
> priority for the National Federation of the Blind. Although the United
> States has a well-developed network of authorized entities providing access
> to published works through a variety of service models, even our access to
> the world's knowledge is severely limited. By the best estimates, the blind
> of the United States have access to less than 10 percent of published
> works. This is not equality. We recognize the tremendous opportunities that
> will come to blind people when they have equal access to all of the world's
> knowledge, and we are firmly committed to pursuing the promise of the
> Marrakesh Treaty until it is reality for all blind people.
>      For us to realize that promise, we need all countries to ratify the
> treaty as soon as possible. I regret that our own country, the United
> States, has not yet completed the ratification process. In this forum I
> challenge the United States Senate to make swift ratification of the
> Marrakesh Treaty a top priority as a demonstration of support for equal
> rights for the blind of our nation. I also encourage the leaders of other
> countries to make this treaty a priority before the end of the year. In
> addition, all stakeholders will need to commit to cooperation, innovation,
> and communication to effectively accomplish global implementation of the
> treaty. The National Federation of the Blind is committed to carrying its
> share of the work, and we urge our global partners to do the same.
>      With the Marrakesh Treaty we have unlocked the door to the world's
> knowledge, and today we open that door for those countries that have
> ratified the treaty. It is now time for us to build the pathway to that
> door and ensure that all of the world's print disabled are on that path.
> Access to the world's knowledge is a fundamental human right, and we thank
> all those who have helped in the development of the Marrakesh Treaty and
> those actively working for its implementation around the world.
>                                 ----------
> Invest in Opportunity
>      The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the
> characteristic that defines you or your future. You can live the life you
> want; blindness is not what holds you back. A donation to the National
> Federation of the Blind allows you to invest in a movement that removes the
> fear from blindness. Your investment is your vote of confidence in the
> value and capacity of blind people and reflects the high expectations we
> have for all blind Americans, combating the low expectations that create
> obstacles between blind people and our dreams.
>      In 2015 the NFB:
>    . Gave away over four thousand long white canes to blind people across
>      the country, empowering them to travel safely and independently
>      throughout their communities.
>    . Produced hands-on educational programming for hundreds of blind
>      children, allowing them to access the essential building blocks for
>      their future.
>    . Provided one hundred thousand dollars in scholarships to blind
>      students, making a post-secondary education affordable and attainable.
>    . Delivered free audio newspaper and magazine services to more than one
>      hundred thousand subscribers, providing access to the essential
>      information necessary to be actively involved in their communities.
>      Just imagine what we'll do next year, and, with your help, what can
> be accomplished for years to come. Below are just a few of the many
> diverse, tax-deductible ways you can lend your support to the National
> Federation of the Blind.
> Vehicle Donation Program
>      The NFB now accepts donated vehicles, including cars, trucks, boats,
> motorcycles, or recreational vehicles. Just call (855) 659-9314 toll-free,
> and a representative can make arrangements to pick up your donation-it
> doesn't have to be working. We can also answer any questions you have.
> General Donation
>      General donations help support the ongoing programs of the NFB and
> the work to help blind people live the lives they want. Donate online with
> a credit card or through the mail with check or money order. Visit
> <www.nfb.org/make-gift> for more information.
> Bequests
>      Even if you can't afford a gift right now, including the National
> Federation of the Blind in your will enables you to contribute by
> expressing your commitment to the organization and promises support for
> future generations of blind people across the country. Visit
> <www.nfb.org/planned-giving> or call (410) 659-9314, extension 2422, for
> more information.
> Pre-Authorized Contribution
>      Through the Pre-Authorized Contribution (PAC) program, supporters
> sustain the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind by making
> recurring monthly donations by direct withdraw of funds from a checking
> account or a charge to a credit card. To enroll, visit <www.nfb.org/make-
> gift>, and complete the Pre-Authorized Contribution form, and return it to
> the address listed on the form.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Mark Jones]
>                   Newer and Flashier is Not Always Better
>                                by Mark Jones
>      From the Editor: Mark Jones began working in radio in 1972, the same
> year he joined the Federation. When he began that first job, he was told
> that he could do airwork for remote broadcasts if he could sell the
> airtime. Since he couldn't drive, he paid the thirteen-year-old kid across
> the street to ride with him on a tandem bike to sell advertising. After
> working at a few smaller stations, he wanted to move into bigger markets
> but ran into difficulties. He would send out tapes of his airwork, but when
> the stations found out he was blind, he was turned down for the jobs. So
> Mark Jones decided to create his own radio station. Today he owns WVBG AM
> and FM in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Mark is no stranger to challenges created
> by others because of his blindness and the tools and technology that help
> him surmount those challenges. He found in conversation with other
> Federationists some attitudes toward technology that made him reconsider
> exactly which tools he chooses to use daily, and why having the spiffiest
> new technogizmo might not always be the best choice. Here's what he has to
> say:
>      Three years ago I was at the national convention, and a lady was
> talking to me about people getting in touch with her. She said she had an
> iPhone, she was trying to use it, but she was having a lot of trouble. She
> remarked that she really loved her old flip phone because it was so much
> easier for her to use. I started thinking about that, and I started
> thinking about the things I do in my line of work every day. Some of you
> may know that I'm in the radio business and own three stations in
> Vicksburg, Mississippi. I do a variety of things in my job. Every weekday
> I'm out making sales calls. I have a driver to get me to the stores and
> businesses I call on. When I go into these businesses I can do many things
> that help me get the correct advertising information for my clients. I can
> write faster than any sighted person. In seconds I can look back and
> quickly read a commercial I wrote for that client possibly four years
> previously. When I'm walking into the store, if I've forgotten the name of
> the person I'm going to see because I haven't been there in a while and
> because I'm getting old, I can look the name up in seconds. I can bring
> back the commercial I've written in Braille to the radio station and record
> it onto our computer that schedules the commercials.
>      Our station does a major promotion each December called The Christmas
> Caroling Contest, where choirs, groups, and individuals sing, and we give
> away $10,000 in prize money. I work with music teachers throughout the
> area, put the shows together, and act as the master of ceremonies. I also
> work on the air as a regular old disc jockey on occasion. I also work with
> our bookkeeper to keep our deposits from advertising straight and our bills
> paid.
>      I'm not telling you this to toot my horn, but simply as something
> instructive. How do I do all of this? With Braille. And what Braille device
> do I use most often by far? An old Braille Lite 40. I will never forget
> buying it. It was at the national convention in New Orleans, and the late
> Dr. Tim Cranmer told me that I would never regret buying it, and he was
> right. Of course, I use other technology: a Windows PC at the radio station
> with a dedicated program on it, a BrailleNote for email and GPS wayfinding.
> But the old simple Braille Lite is so much quicker, so much easier to use,
> that I've found nothing beats it for productivity, and for what I do,
> there's nothing more important than productivity.
>      NFB state president, Gary Wunder, remarked recently to me in an email
> that many young people like to use the same devices as their sighted peers
> so they don't look blind. I have two comments about that: first, I normally
> don't concern myself with someone thinking I look blind. Although some
> people treat me differently from how they would a sighted person, most of
> the people I run into every day treat me just like I think they would treat
> a sighted person. If you are in sales, it's always good to be able to talk
> to people about what they're interested in. So I talk to them about their
> businesses, about SEC football, about their friends and families. If they
> ask me about using my Braille Lite because they're curious about how it
> works, I explain to them that the original device was really the first PDA
> on the market called a Braille 'n Speak, and blind people had that before
> sighted people did. I wish we were ahead of the curve on other technology.
>      My second comment is that doing things to not look blind can get you
> in trouble. I will never forget the Monitor article Gary Wunder wrote about
> trying to go out without using a cane. That Monitor article vividly showed
> how sometimes not using blindness tools can get us into very awkward
> situations.
>      Earlier I mentioned working with my bookkeeper. I keep a ledger of
> all my checks. I have them all going back for the last twenty-three years,
> written in hardcopy Braille on a Perkins Brailler, which I also use every
> day to make my list of places to go and people to see for the next day. I
> do this in hard copy so I can easily look at what I need to do on paper
> without having to keep turning on my Braille Lite. This saves time.
>      These days, companies seem to want to add more and more technology to
> everything. Do sighted people like it? Not always. I was at a car
> dealership recently, and we got into the discussion about the touchscreens
> on the dashboards of cars. The lady told me that her daughter hated that
> touchscreen system because she wanted to be able to use her radio like she
> always had in the past, and this new high-tech dashboard made it much
> harder. Many other sighted people have told me they would much rather use a
> washer or dryer with the old, simple controls, not one that confronts you
> with so many options and such a steep learning curve that you need a
> college course on how to operate it. For the blind person, training is a
> big issue. I come into contact with numerous vendors in the exhibit hall at
> national conventions. Their devices will do all sorts of things, I believe
> the majority of which will never be used by most who buy the products. But
> there are some products that seem to do a great job because they just do a
> thing or two and do it well. One example is the i.d. mate that reads
> barcodes, and talking thermostats and Braille watches are useful devices as
> well.
>      In summation, I would like to see products every now and then that
> are made for the blind person with the productivity of the blind person in
> mind. I would also like to see more training so that we don't have to be a
> technical wizard or have to spend several forty-hour weeks struggling with
> a new device that was really designed for a sighted person.
>      I think those who like iPhones-and yes I have one too-are correct in
> admiring a company that has a little bit of concern for accessibility. But
> I think that if we seriously looked at the few companies that make things
> with the express purpose of productivity for the blind person, we would be
> well served. Also, it's good to have choices. I have a friend in California
> who loves HIMS products. He has a Braille Sense. I have been reasonably
> satisfied with HumanWare's products. I just bought a new BrailleNote Touch,
> and I'm learning to use it (actually writing on it at this minute composing
> this article.) But do I wish to learn touch Braille on a touchscreen?
> Absolutely not. I've been using a Braille keyboard since I was six years
> old and don't plan to stop now. I love knobs and buttons, and I bet that
> many of you do, too.
>      I would like to know the thoughts of our members on this subject. I
> think it would be interesting to know what blind people believe to be the
> most productive tools in their lives. Hopefully they're still available.
> Some that I use are not. So hopefully something similar will soon be on the
> horizon.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Ray Kurzweil]
>            How Exponential Technologies Will Impact Disabilities
>                               by Ray Kurzweil
>      From the Editor: Sometimes the struggle the blind have in dealing
> with technological evolution can be maddening. Often we know that something
> better is to come: devices that are more intuitive, easier to use, and cost
> less. But at times that message is dwarfed by the need to live in the here
> and now, to figure out how to do assignments today, how to find and buy
> household equipment we can use. So it is that each year a man who can see a
> bit further than we can tells us about the promises that wait just around
> the corner and reminds us how important our role is in seeing that we can
> use it.
>      Ray Kurzweil is currently the vice president of development at
> Google, and his long list of accomplishments, including the development of
> the KNFB Reader, is well known to Federationists. Here is what he said to
> the 2016 National Convention:
>      I don't think I've had a musical introduction before. It's an honor
> to be back with all of you: with President Riccobono, Jim Gashel, Mrs.
> Jernigan, and all of my other friends here.
>      How many of you came to your first National Federation of the Blind
> convention in 1975 or earlier, raise your hand. Well, I see a few hands
> here at the front table. But this is my forty-second convention, and it
> continues to be a highlight of my year.
>      I want to share a few reflections with you. I just came from an
> onstage dialog with Mitt Romney-we tried to avoid talking about politics,
> but that was hard to do in that case, and I'll try again to avoid politics-
> but there's one point I made which I think is relevant to this gathering.
> If we look at the intensity of the current presidential election, there
> seems to be a sentiment on the right and on the left that things are
> getting worse in the world. I've noticed this for a while. I travel around
> the world, talk to people, and people think the world is getting worse,
> which is not the case. Now there's still a lot of problems and a lot of
> suffering, but by every measure the world is getting much better. The
> problem is that our information about what's wrong with the world is
> getting exponentially better. A century ago there could be a battle that
> wiped out the next village, and you'd never hear about it. Now an incident
> halfway around the world-we not only hear about it, we viscerally
> experience it. That's actually a good thing because it motivates us to fix
> the problems in the world, but it gives people the wrong impression. The
> way they try to figure out if the world is getting better or worse is how
> often do they hear about some outrage, and how often do they hear about
> things getting better.
>      It's actually part of our evolutionary heritage that we're very
> attuned to problems, because, if you were aware of potential problems, that
> was good for survival. We don't really take notice of things that are
> getting better, but I'll mention just a few of the things that are getting
> better, and then I'll come to my experience with the National Federation of
> the Blind, where things are definitely getting better.
>      Steven Pinker in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature documents
> an exponential decline in violence. I point out to people that this is the
> least violent period in human history, and people say, "What are you,
> crazy? Don't you pay attention to the news? There were just violent
> incidents yesterday and the day before that and so forth."
>      Well your chance of actually being killed in either interpersonal
> violence or state-sponsored violence is hundreds of times less than it was
> a few centuries ago when there was extreme scarcity of resources and
> disputes were settled violently. This is the most prosperous time in human
> history. The World Bank reported that poverty in Asia has been cut by 90
> percent over the last fifteen years, and all societies, including Africa
> and South America, are making substantial economic gains.
>      This is by far the most informative period. I remember that I saved
> up for years from my paper route as a teenager to buy an Encyclopedia
> Britannica for $1,000, which was a lot of money to a teenager in the early
> 1960s. Today you get a far better encyclopedia for free, and this is one of
> the literally millions of resources we have at our fingertips that really
> don't cost us anything.
>      Economic statistics factor out the progress we're making. A kid in
> Africa who pays $30 for her smart phone: that counts as $30 of economic
> activity, despite the fact that it's a trillion dollars of computation,
> communication, and information technology circa 1968. We're actually
> doubling the value of information technology every year for the same price,
> but that's factored out of the economic statistics.
>      Together with these exponential gains in technology, we're also
> seeing gradual progress in human understanding, freedom, liberty, equality,
> recognition of equal rights. My family's been very involved in these
> movements. It goes back to the nineteenth century. My mother's mother's
> mother started the first school in Europe that provided higher education
> for girls. This was the Stern Schule in 1868 in Vienna. If you were lucky
> enough as a girl to get an education at all in 1868 Europe, it went through
> ninth grade; this went through fourteenth grade, from kindergarten all
> through high school and the first two years of college. She went around
> Europe lecturing on the importance of girls' education, and that was very
> controversial. People did not understand: "What's the point of educating a
> girl?" That was a difficult question to answer, but she answered it, and
> then her daughter became the first woman in Europe to get a PhD in
> chemistry and went around Europe lecturing on chemistry and on girls'
> education and took over the school. Between the two of them they ran it for
> seventy years and then fled Hitler in 1938.
>      I came along in 1948 and in the 1950s went with my mother to civil
> rights marches in Washington and the South. I was actually at several
> events-marches-lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, and I felt fortunate that I
> could live in a period with such a great leader and to actually directly
> experience such inspiring oratory. I felt the same way in 1975 coming to my
> first National Federation of the Blind convention to hear the equally
> inspiring oratory of Dr. Kenneth Jernigan [applause]. I really felt the
> same way-that I was fortunate to be able to experience the inspirational
> leadership of these two great leaders.
>      That brings me to this theme of the world getting better, but not
> reaching perfection. I just heard Amy's [Buresh] inspiring story. I
> remember when I came to the NFB in 1975 that people were warning me, "Are
> you sure you want to get involved with this organization? They're really
> quite a radical organization." I thought to myself, gee, that's a good
> thing. I'd gone to lots of other organizations with my technology for
> reading for the blind, and they all were very friendly and wished me well.
> It was actually Dr. Jernigan and the NFB that provided the resources-
> including eight blind scientists and engineers that worked very closely
> with us under the leadership of Mike Hingson, and we would not have
> succeeded without the National Federation of the Blind [applause].
>      Things are certainly far better for blind people. Blind people are
> now reaching the top levels of success in every field; that was really much
> more limited when I became involved with this organization in 1975.
> Tremendous progress has been made in the human realm of equal rights and
> tolerance and equality, but, like everything else, we haven't reached
> perfection. You can see from Amy's litany-I'm sure we'll hear from Mr.
> Riccobono's inspiring talk tonight-that there's still a lot of progress to
> be made, still a lot of intolerance and lack of understanding. But the
> world has come a long way in terms of understanding the ability of all
> people to contribute.
>      Remember that we have the exponential gains of technology. Very
> briefly, the first reading machine cost $50,000, but we brought it down
> quickly to $20,000. Now we have a reading machine for $20, and it's far
> better than the one back then for $20,000. That comes from the exponential
> gains of information technology. We basically double price performance
> every year in every type of information technology. We put some of that
> improved price performance into price, so prices come down by a factor of
> one thousand in this field for example, while at the same time performance
> goes up.
>      People say, "Okay, well that's true of that sort of strange area of
> the economy having to do with devices and electronics and information, but
> you can't eat information technology, you can't build a house with
> information technology." All of that's going to change as well. We're
> applying information technology to medicine, understanding the information
> processes underlying biology, so we'll have great advances in our health.
> This is actually now starting to influence clinical practice. We're going
> to see a great revolution in improving our health over the next decade.
> We're developing three-dimensional printing, so we're going to be able to
> print out the things we need, including food and clothing. In fact, the
> first house to be snapped together in a couple of days was recently put
> together in Asia with little modules snapped together like LEGO bricks
> printed out by a 3-D printer. That was an experiment, but that's the kind
> of thing we're going to see in the 2020s.
>      This revolution of price performance is going to transform everything
> we care about. But we still need human understanding, first of all to apply
> these advances so they really benefit people. The Kurzweil Reading Machine
> would not have really succeeded if we hadn't worked very closely-not just
> getting general advice but working intimately with the blind engineers and
> scientists of the National Federation of the Blind, and that's continued to
> be a collaboration of forty-two years, which is really the aspect of my
> career that I'm most proud of [applause].
>      We're going to have some fantastic capabilities emerging over the
> decades ahead. We'll be able to transmit information directly from our
> brains and into our brains. How should we apply that to people who are
> visually impaired? It's a very good thing that we have the National
> Federation of the Blind to guide us in that endeavor.
>      So this has been the first forty-two years of my relationship; I look
> forward to the next forty-two years, and we'll continue with our
> exponential progress both in technology and in human understanding. Thank
> you very much.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Kevin Lynch]
>     National Industries for the Blind: Continuing to Raise Expectations
>                           and Create Opportunities
>                               by Kevin Lynch
>      From the Editor: I can do no better job in introducing this article
> than did President Riccobono in his remarks welcoming Kevin Lynch to the
> stage at the 2016 National Convention on July 3, 2016. Here is what the
> President said:
>      "Our next program item and last program item for the afternoon is
> National Industries for the Blind: Continuing to Raise Expectations and
> Create Opportunities. You heard in the Presidential Report that we have
> been actively engaging with National Industries for the Blind. We have been
> having a very honest dialog about the past and also the future, and I think
> that we have come to find that National Industries for the Blind is
> sincerely interested in addressing our concerns and raising expectations as
> evidenced partly by the fact that they have almost completely eliminated
> the use of 14(c) in all of the NIB-associated shops across the country
> [applause]. They have instituted other organizational policies that make it
> clear they have a real dedication to this. They're also trying to navigate
> other concerns that we brought to them, and in some ways they're fixing
> problems before we know about them, which is a good sign of leadership.
>      One of the reasons is their president and CEO, Kevin Lynch. We've
> been engaging with Kevin over the last couple years, and I have found, and
> I think you will find, that Kevin is sincerely working to find ways to link
> arms, not just symbolically with the National Federation of the Blind, but
> at a very deep level wants to be partnered with the National Federation of
> the Blind because he knows it is the right place to be. Here is the
> president and CEO of National Industries for the Blind, Kevin Lynch:"
>      Good afternoon, everyone. Mark, thank you so much for the
> introduction and also for inviting me to be here today. I have to say,
> though, it's a little bit of a challenge coming after Dr. Maurer and Kathy
> Martinez, both of whom I respect greatly for their knowledge and also the
> influence they have provided to me over the years. I'd also like to
> recognize a few other people who have been helpful that are in the
> audience: Dr. Schroeder, as well as Don Morris and Jim Omvig. I'm very
> grateful for those individuals and the friendship and the wisdom they have
> provided.
>      For those of you who aren't familiar with National Industries for the
> Blind, our mission is to enhance the independence of people who are blind.
> We work with a nationwide network of nonprofit agencies to create and
> sustain employment for people who are blind in many different career
> fields. And, like NFB, we've been around for a long time, nearly eighty
> years in fact. And through strengthening partnerships with organizations
> like NFB, we are making progress. Together we've broken down the
> misconceptions and the barriers they create in expanding career options for
> people who are blind.
>      NIB's roots are in the manufacturing industry, and manufacturing
> continues to provide a significant number of jobs to people who are blind.
> We are proud to be one of the nation's largest networks involved in the
> fields of sewing products, paper converting, and other product lines like
> fire hose assembly. A lot of these industries left the United States of
> America and went overseas. Today there's hundreds more products assembled
> and packaged by Americans who are blind [applause].
>      We are very proud to supply uniforms and equipment to our military
> personnel to help keep them safe when in harm's way. We also provide
> prescription eyewear for our nation's veterans and ensure that their
> prescriptions are safely protected by the plastic vials that we make. Today
> we're producing cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly cleaning products,
> and more recently we began developing LED lighting, which will reduce the
> government's consumption of electricity.
>      Over the years we've evolved. We've demonstrated that, with the right
> training and assistive technology, people who are blind can work in any
> career field [cheers]. Today we provide more career options for people who
> are blind than at any other time in our seventy-seven year history. For
> example: a decade ago we recognized the need to provide opportunities in
> professional services for an emerging generation of highly-educated people
> who are blind. Now people who are blind work at NIB networks and are
> operating 24/7 contact centers. They're closing out contracts that return
> hundreds of millions of dollars to the federal government, and they're
> managing complex supply chains that deliver critical goods and services to
> government and military personnel around the world. We are very proud of
> these successes, but what we see as the ultimate goal is the growing trend
> of our employees being hired by the federal government as defense prime
> contractors. That's a success.
>      We recognize that to build successful careers, our employees need
> more than just the job opportunity. They also need the right professional
> training and development. NIB launched the Business Leaders Program, which
> has helped more than 8,000 people who are blind build their business acumen
> through formal training and on-the-job experience. Graduates from the
> programs are now call center supervisors, base supply center store
> managers, and CEOs of our associated agencies and national organizations
> [applause]. Last year NIB partnered with George Mason University to
> strengthen our business management training program and develop a new
> generation of leaders. As we look to the future NIB will continue to focus
> on making investments in programs designed to increase choices, remove the
> perceived barriers, and fill the expectations of all of our employees.
>      These investments start with the basics, what you would expect from
> any employer in any industry: competitive wages, not subminimum wages;
> positive and diverse work environments; opportunities for advancement; and
> professional development and training. We've also made investments to help
> people who are blind stay competitive in the job market. We launched a
> hands-on training program called Promote to prepare people who are blind
> for careers requiring advanced technical skills. Last fall eight employees
> who are blind completed this intensive four-week program that provides
> advanced computer software training, and we are getting ready to launch our
> second round of classes. We've also launched a pilot program to help ensure
> people who are blind build the technical skills needed for careers in the
> high-demand field of cyber security. Twenty people who are blind completed
> this training program that prepares participants to take and pass their A+
> certification.
>      Like the NFB we also take strong positions on important issues
> affecting people who are blind: like our strong stance on the payment of at
> least the federal minimum wage; or recognizing the freedom of individuals
> who are blind to make informed choices about where to work, just like
> anyone else; or calling on Congress to do more to remove the cash cliff
> barrier for Social Security Disability Insurance. We've launched our
> Advocates for Leadership and Employment Program to empower people who are
> blind to engage members of Congress and their staffs about these important
> issues. NIB's advocates program has today grown to twenty-six advocates,
> who are successfully keeping these and other issues front-and-center among
> lawmakers.
>      Now while we are proud of our accomplishments, we also recognize that
> there's more to be accomplished. We need to bring all of our associated
> agencies up to the best-in-class standards we all expect. Today, out of the
> sixty-five producing-associated agencies, we still have two that are paying
> less than minimum wage. As Dr. Maurer once said to me, "Even one agency
> paying less than minimum wage is too many." And we agree.
>      The NIB board wholeheartedly agrees and has put into place a variety
> of incentive programs that are only available to agencies that make this
> commitment. Furthermore, no nonprofit executive who pays less than minimum
> wage can sit on the NIB board. We have to ensure that NIB and our
> associated agencies continue to advance modern disability policies and also
> work to change perceptions about what people who are blind can do in the
> workplace.
>      NIB has a major role in investing in new, innovative opportunities to
> offer many types of employment choices. For example, we are working on ways
> we can encourage and assist individuals who have the entrepreneurial spirit
> and desire to become business owners. Adding this resource to NIB's
> offerings will give a full range of employment and career options.
>      Now we know that success requires strong partnerships with
> organizations like NFB. I fully encourage and support the ongoing
> opportunity to listen to ideas and proposals from across the disability
> community so that we are working to develop effective solutions together.
> Thank you, National Federation of the Blind, for the important work and
> advocacy you provide. NIB is committed to work with you in advancing
> opportunities for all people who are blind. Thank you very much.
>                                 ----------
>                                   Recipes
>      This month's recipes come from the National Federation of the Blind
> of Colorado.
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Maureen at the blender with a batch of Go Broncos Orange
> Julius]
>                          Go Broncos Orange Julius
>                             by Maureen Nietfeld
>      Something cool and healthy for the Super Bowl V Champion fans! There
> are more than a few at the Colorado Center for the Blind [CCB], and about
> twenty-five students and staff attended the one million-strong Broncos
> Super Bowl Victory parade on February 9:
> Ingredients:
> 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
> 1/2 cup whole milk
> 1/2 cup water
> 1/4 cup sugar
> 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
> 5 ice cubes
> Method: Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth and
> frothy. Serve and enjoy!
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Jay displays a hotel tray of Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders]
>                         Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders
>                                 by Jay Cole
>      Oh yes, these are great appetizers or finger food, but one of our
> students recently did this for his grad meal to great acclaim!
> Ingredients:
> 12 Hawaiian rolls cut in half
> 12 slices honey-roasted ham
> 12 slices baby swiss cheese
> 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
> 4 tablespoons butter melted
> 1 teaspoon onion powder
> 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
> 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
> 1/4 cup brown sugar
>      Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet place
> bottom half of dinner rolls and top each with one slice of ham and one
> slice of Swiss cheese. Place the top of the roll on the ham and cheese. You
> want the rolls to be snug together, kissing just a bit so the sauce can
> soak up into all of the nooks and crannies. In a small bowl combine the
> mustard, melted butter, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds,
> and brown sugar. Mix until combined and pour evenly over the assembled
> rolls. Cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake covered
> with foil for ten minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional five
> to ten minutes or until the tops are browned and cheese is good and melted.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Dishon and Marisol eating hummus]
>                                   Hummus
>                    by Dishon Spears and Marisol Carmona
>      This is a standard teaching recipe at CCB. It involves more than one
> stage in preparation and is a great introduction to using the food
> processor, so every student makes this eventually.
> Ingredients:
> 2 cans garbanzo beans
> 1 tablespoon tahini paste
> 2 tablespoons lemon juice
> 1 teaspoon cumin
> 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
> 1 teaspoon salt
> 3 cloves garlic
> 1 cup olive oil
>      Method: In a food processor add garlic and process until well minced.
> Add remaining ingredients and process till very smooth. Serve with warm
> pita, cut up veggies, or corn chips.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Warren leans in to savor the smell of Pikes Peak Pecan
> Pie.]
>                            Pikes Peak Pecan Pie
>                              by Warren Knight
>      This is a big hit at the Thanksgiving meal our students prepare and
> serve in mid-November. After eating, we go around the room and say
> something we're grateful for.
> Ingredients:
> 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
> 1/2 cup butter melted
> 2 eggs
> 1 tablespoon flour
> 1 tablespoon milk
> 1 teaspoon vanilla
> 2 cups chopped pecans
>      Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs; stir in melted
> butter; add sugar and flour. Then add milk, vanilla, and nuts. Pour in pie
> shell and bake at 350 degrees for forty minutes or until pie sets up and is
> not liquid anymore.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Delphina and Farhan hold up a Christmas batch of Pecan
> French Toast Bake]
>                           Pecan French Toast Bake
>                   by Delphina Rodriguez and Farhan Ahmed
>      This is a favorite at our annual Christmas brunch on the last day
> before the holiday break. Maybe it's the association with the Secret Santa
> gift exchange that always follows, but we're willing to bet you'll love it!
> Ingredients:
> 1 loaf sliced challah bread
> 3 cups half and half
> 2 tablespoons maple syrup
> 8 eggs
> 1 teaspoon cinnamon
> Topping:
> 1 stick butter
> 1 teaspoon cinnamon
> 1 cup brown sugar
> 1 cup chopped pecans
>      Method: Lightly spray a 13-by-9-inch pan with a cooking spray. Lay
> the slices of bread into the pan; they will stack on top of each other. In
> a mixing bowl combine half and half, eggs, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and maple
> syrup. Pour this mixture over bread, making sure to get the milk in between
> the layers. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
>      In a separate bowl combine chopped butter, chopped pecans, brown
> sugar, and cinnamon. Make this into a crumble. This gets placed on top of
> your bread. You can add before you refrigerate or wait until you are ready
> to bake it the next morning.
>      Put in a 350 degree oven for thirty minutes covered, then remove
> cover and continue to bake for an additional twenty minutes.
>                                 ----------
> [PHOTO CAPTION: Michelle stirring an electric skillet of Chacon's Green
> Chile]
>                            Chacon's Green Chile
>                             by Michelle Chacon
>      The autumn smell of roasting green chiles at an outdoor vegetable
> stand is one of the quintessential experiences of Colorado, surpassed only
> by Michelle Chacon's recipe. After her teaching duties are done each year,
> Michelle teaches at our Confidence Camp for elementary kids and coordinates
> the NFB of Colorado's BELL programs, as well as serving as North Metro
> chapter president. Cooking is how she relaxes.
> Ingredients:
> 4 to 6 pork chops
> 1 onion
> Several garlic cloves
> 10 to 20 green chiles cleaned, chopped and seeded if you do not want your
> chiles too hot
> 1/3 cup flour
> 8 cups chicken broth
> Salt and pepper to taste
> Cilantro, sour cream, and cheese
>      Method: Brown pork chops in a large heavy frying pan. Remove chops
> and cut up in to small pieces. In the frying pan, next sauté onion, garlic
> and chiles. Simmer for about ten minutes on low. Put pork and chile mixture
> into a large Dutch oven. Mix in flour and chicken broth. Stir constantly
> until mixture thickens. Add salt and pepper and any other ingredients that
> you would like. Simmer for at least thirty minutes to blend flavors. Serve
> with cilantro, sour cream, etc. Can use this to top burritos at well.
>                                 ----------
>                             Monitor Miniatures
>      News from the Federation Family
> Celebrate the Holiday Season with a Gift to the National Federation of the
> Blind:
>      Have you received gifts from the National Federation of the Blind?
> Lots of us have. One man expressed what our gift meant to him by saying:
> "It is great to know there are still people in this world who care about
> other people besides themselves. Your gift of a white cane could not have
> come at a better time for me! My wonderful wife of forty-three years, who
> has Alzheimer's, has moved to an assisted living facility. The only place I
> could find a cane was at the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Antonio,
> Texas. It's a fourteen-hour roundtrip for me, and I can't drive anymore.
> What you have done for me I will remember for the rest of my life."
>      We give people free white canes, literacy, and confidence. If you
> have gained from contact with the NFB or NFB members, enjoyed our
> publications, or participated in an academy or program, we are asking you
> to give back. Celebrate the holiday season by donating much needed funds.
> It is easy. You can mail a donation or give online.
>      To mail your donation simply make out your check to the National
> Federation of the Blind. Please mail it to the NFB, Attention: Outreach,
> 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230.
>      To give online visit our web page by going to <www.nfb.org> and click
> on the "donate now" button.
>      Help us all live the lives we want.
> Washington Seminar Reservations:
>      This message from Diane McGeorge is to advise all of you that the
> Washington Seminar will be held January 29 to February 2, 2017, with the
> Great Gathering In taking place on Monday, January 30. Additionally, I want
> to remind you that I am no longer managing reservations for this event.
> With the Holiday Inn Capitol's progressive policy changes, we turned
> reservations over to the hotel beginning with our 2016 Washington Seminar
> and going forward. The reservation process is very standard, requiring
> check-in and check-out dates only, just as you experience with national
> conventions. This process will allow you to have full control of your
> reservations and any changes you need to make.
>      You can now reserve a room at the Holiday Inn Capitol (550 C Street,
> SW, Washington, DC 20024) for Washington Seminar for check-in beginning
> Saturday, January 28, 2017, check-out Friday, February 3, 2017. The rate is
> $188.00 per night. This rate does not include DC sales tax, currently 14.5
> percent. You may begin booking reservations directly online by clicking on
> the web link below. You may also make reservations by calling (877) 572-
> 6951 and referencing booking code F7B. Credit card information is needed at
> the time of reservation. The individual cancellation policy is seventy-two
> hours prior to date of arrival to avoid one night's room plus tax
> cancellation charge on the credit card provided. If your departure date
> changes, you must inform the hotel seventy-two hours in advance of
> departure to avoid a $100 fee. Please call (877) 572-6951 and reference
> your confirmation number. Please obtain a cancellation number when
> cancelling a reservation. The firm deadline date to make a reservation is
> Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Reservation requests received after the
> deadline date will be subject to availability and prevailing rate.
>      If you would like to hold a special meeting during the Washington
> Seminar, please email Lisa Bonderson at <lbonderson at cocenter.org> just as
> you have done in past years. She and I will work with the hotel on the
> assignment of those meeting rooms. To ensure that you get the space you
> need, please let us know of your meeting space needs by December 9, 2016.
>      Lisa and I will always be available to help you with any problems you
> might experience with the booking of your hotel reservations. We have
> worked closely with the hotel staff, and they are looking forward to
> working with each affiliate or group wanting to make reservations.
>      See you in Washington!
> A Group in the Planning:
>      Come, one and all, blind and visually impaired Federationists who
> have cerebral palsy, to create an active, lively, independent, and vibrant
> group of blind and visually impaired Americans with cerebral palsy. The
> purpose of this group will be to provide support and advocacy to those of
> us who share two disabilities and must devise strategies to deal with each
> singly and together.
>      Meetings will be held by conference call on the first Sunday of the
> month (except in July when the meeting will be held on the fourth Sunday,
> and November when it will be held on the last Sunday) from 8:00 to 10:00 PM
> Eastern Time starting on Sunday, November 27, 2016. The conference phone
> number is (218) 339-3814. Enter pin 999999#.
>      We hope to hold a face-to-face meeting at the July 2017 national
> convention in Orlando, Florida. To assist in developing this group, contact
> Alexander Scott Kaiser by Braille, snail-mail, on Skype, by phone, or by
> email. His postal address is 52 Meadowbrook Road, Brick Township, New
> Jersey 08723-7850. His email address is <Kaiser999 at gmx.us>. He may be
> reached using Skype with the name <askaiser999999>, or by phone at (848)
> 205-0208.
> Books by Jerry Whittle Now Available on Amazon Kindle:
>      Try out your new Amazon e-reader with the following books by Jerry
> Whittle, available on Amazon Kindle e-books for $2.99 each: Slingshot, a
> baseball novel; Standing with Better Angels, about a blind minister;
> Honeysuckle Time, a Civil War novel; Two Hearts Make a Bridge, a love
> story; A Little Ball of Anger, a young blind man's struggle with a horrible
> decision; No Town to Dishonor Nature, a young man rebels against his father
> and leaves home; Growing Up in Clemson, a memoir of the Fifties; Clemson in
> the Sixties, seeking manhood in troubled times; and Santa Rides Again, a
> Christmas story for all ages.
>                                  In Brief
>      Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor
> readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we
> have edited only for space and clarity.
> A Reminder about Ski for Light:
>      Don't forget that the Application deadline for Ski for Light is this
> month. Visit <www.sfl.org> to apply for this year's annual week of skiing,
> sharing, and learning in Colorado, February 5 through 12, 2017.
> Applications are now being accepted on a space available basis only.
> NASA Summer Internships Available:
>      NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities
> pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through
> our regular internship programs. This is not a program for students with
> disabilities. We are trying to recruit more students with disabilities into
> our regular internship programs. Disability means both physical and mental
> disabilities. NASA has a 2 percent hiring goal for employment of people
> with disabilities, and internships are a good way to get experience.
> However, this is not an employment program. NASA jobs can be found at
> <http://www.usajobs.gov>. Students can apply for Summer 2017 internships on
> or about November 10, 2016. The deadline for submitting applications will
> be on or about March 1, 2017. We will begin extending offers to students in
> mid-to-late January and will continue until all positions are filled.
>      If you would like to subscribe to an announcement-only list about
> NASA internships for persons with disabilities, please send an email to
> <nasainterns-request at freelists.org> with 'subscribe' in the Subject field
> or by visiting the list page at
> <http://www.freelists.org/list/nasainterns>.
>      We encourage you to apply early because the best opportunities are
> likely to be filled quickly; plus your likelihood of being selected
> decreases the longer you wait. Don't be surprised if you don't see many
> internship opportunities in November. They start to appear in numbers in
> mid-to-late December. You can register for an account anytime at the One
> Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI): NASA Internships, Fellowships, and
> Scholarships (NIFS) at <http://intern.nasa.gov/>. All material that you
> wish to have considered must be uploaded to the OSSI website. No
> documentation will be accepted that is emailed or snail mailed.
>      Summer 2017 internships run from early June through early August for
> undergraduate and graduate students. Internships run from late June through
> early August for high school students. All student interns get paid. The
> high school stipend for summer 2016 was $2,100 for a six-week internship.
> The summer 2016 undergraduate stipend for a ten-week internship was $6,000.
> The summer 2016 graduate stipend for a ten-week internship was $7,500. As
> an intern, you are responsible for your own housing. NASA internships for
> college and high school students are also offered during spring, fall, and
> year-long sessions through the OSSI website.
>      NASA has internships for high school students and for rising freshmen
> through doctoral students in STEM fields. A rising freshman is a high
> school student who has been accepted to an accredited institution of higher
> learning, i.e. a college or university, at the time of the internship.
>      Applicants must be US citizens, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for college
> and 3.0 for high school; however, applicants must understand that the
> competition for internships is keen. High school students must be at least
> sixteen years old at the time the internship begins.
>      Internships are available at all NASA centers nationwide. It is
> important to remember that applying is a two-step process. The first step
> is to fill out everything in OSSI. The second step is to select and apply
> to specific internship opportunities. Students can submit a completed
> application whether they apply to an opportunity or not. However, applying
> to opportunities has the advantage of allowing applicants to be considered
> by mentors who work in disciplines of interest and at a particular center.
> Applicants may apply to as many as fifteen opportunities.
>      For example, an opportunity having to do with the Solar Dynamics
> Observatory (SDO) will be at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland
> because SDO is located there. Not applying to an opportunity means that
> prospective interns will be hoping that a mentor happens to read their
> applications rather than directing their applications to mentors in fields
> and at centers of interest.
>      Students who are selected for summer internships will receive an
> offer letter by email sometime after mid-January 2017. They will then have
> five calendar days to either accept or reject the offer through their OSSI:
> NIFS account. The offer will automatically expire after five calendar days
> if no action is taken.
>      Please feel free to contact me for more information or help with
> applying:
> Kenneth A. Silberman, Esq.
> U.S. Supreme Court, Maryland, & Patent Bars
> B.A., M.Eng., J.D.
> NASA Engineer & Registered Patent Attorney
> Education Office Code 160
> NASA/GSFC Mailstop 160
> Bldg. 28 Rm. N165
> Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
> Voice: (301) 286-9281
> Fax: (301) 286-1655
> Email: kenneth.a.silberman at nasa.gov
> Office Location: Building 28 Room W151
>                                 ----------
>                                 NFB Pledge
>      I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National
> Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for
> the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to
> abide by its constitution.
> _______________________________________________
> Brl-monitor mailing list
> Brl-monitor at nfbcal.org
> https://nfbcal.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/brl-monitor

More information about the NFBOK-Talk mailing list