[nfbwatlk] Fw: What Is NAGDU Doing Anyway?

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Mon Jan 18 13:14:15 CST 2010


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marion & Martin" <swampfox1833 at verizon.net>
To: "NAGDU List" <nagdu at nfbnet.org>; "FLAGDU List" <flagdu at nfbnet.org>; 
"NYAGDU List" <nyagdu at nfbnet.org>; <blindtlk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Monday, January 18, 2010 8:57 AM
Subject: [Blindtlk] What Is NAGDU Doing Anyway?


> Please feel free to disseminate this message as widely as appropriate!
>
>    I recently received a message asking what the National Federation of 
> the Blind and the National Association of Guide Dog Users was doing to 
> educate the public on issues of guide dog use and access. I felt the 
> question was a valid one that deserved a reply. Furthermore, I felt this 
> message needed to be addressed to a wider audience than the writer and the 
> email list to which it was sent. Therefore, I have taken the time to write 
> a response and send it on to the various lists to which I am subscribed. I 
> hope this message helps to answer the question, as well as motivates 
> others to get involved in our important work. After all, if we are to make 
> a real difference in the lives of the blind and of guide dog users, it 
> will take our concerted, collective action to make it happen. Here is what 
> I wrote:
>
> January 18, 2010
>
>        You ask some very good questions, so I hope I can give you an 
> equally good reply! The National Federation of the Blind has been 
> educating the masses since 1940, while the National Association of Guide 
> Dog Users (NAGDU) has been at it since 1985,  and will
> continue its efforts. We put the word out in several forums, such as the 
> Braille Monitor, harness Up (our NAGDU newsletter, topical brochures, such 
> as "Meeting a Working Guide Dog Team (Item # LBG12P, available through the 
> Independence Market)", news releases and the resulting
> articles, hosting and participating in public events, networking with 
> major companies, encouraging education when incidents of discrimination 
> occur, and one-on-one discussions. We maintain several websites on 
> blindness-related issues, including our own site
>
> HTTP://NFB-NAGDU.ORG
>
> This website provides access to a summary of
> all of the United States laws concerning access to service animals, 
> including those of each of the  states, as well as some from other 
> countries. This website also has a recording of a teleseminar entitled 
> "Guide Dogs in Hospitals and Other Health Care Facilities" which  was 
> conducted on November 22. The website is a dynamic site with new 
> information being added on a regular basis. This is just a few of the 
> things we have done in the past to help educate the public and service 
> animal users.
>    One of the current major projects of the National Association of Guide 
> Dog Users is our national Education & Advocacy Hotline. This project is 
> being designed to provide educational information to callers concerning 
> the training and use of guide dogs, as well as information about our 
> rights of access under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair 
> Housing Act, The Air carrier Access Act, and state law. This hotline will 
> also afford those who are facing discrimination to speak with a trained 
> advocate to assist in the amicable, speedy resolutions of their access 
> issues.
>    Once this hotline is tested and working properly, we will disseminate 
> information through our many partner networks, including the media. We are 
> also planning to make double-sided decals businesses can put on their 
> doors announcing "Service Animals Welcome", informational cards with 
> industry-specific information concerning access, such as for airline 
> personnel, taxi drivers, restaurants & hotels, and hospitals, about access 
> to these places. We are also investigating items of interest to service 
> animal users, such as bag dispensers, harness pouches, and backstraps, 
> emblazoned with our logo, name, and hotline number.
>    The challenge we have with education is the element of free will with 
> which we are all endowed. There is no way to force an individual to learn 
> the information with which we present them nor to change their behavior 
> given this information. For this reason, our educational efforts sometimes 
> necessitate litigation and the introduction of measures that include 
> penalties for failure to comply with social norms, such as fines and 
> incarceration. For instance, we are currently working with the Illinois 
> Attorney General's office to require Baxter Worldwide to allow service 
> animal users their legal right to be accompanied by their animals while 
> donating blood and plasma, a practice they currently forbid in violation 
> of Federal laws. We are working with a private attorney in a case 
> involving a condominium association in Florida that is harrassing a guide 
> dog user because of her choice to use a service animal. We are also 
> encouraging guide dog schools to implement policies that woul
> d transfer ownership of guide dogs, as well as all of the rights and 
> privileges associated with these rights to the individual upon graduation.
>    I hope this message has helped you understand that the National 
> Association of Guide Dog Users and the National Federation of the Blind 
> are
> making a concerted effort to educate the public about the issues of 
> concern faced by the blind, in general, and guide dog users, in 
> particular. We realize that the best way to make change is through 
> collective action. Working cooperatively with a common purpose and toward 
> a common goal is the fundamental reason the National Federation of the 
> Blind was formed. Guided by our philosophy of independence and 
> self-determination, we are the moving, primary force in the lives of the 
> blind. This status is not borne out of self-grandizing nor resulting in 
> complacency; rather, it is a historical fact and the result of our hard 
> work and determination, while an energizing force to move us forward. We 
> are, after all, a movement with all of the dynamic elements this term 
> implies! "Come! Join me on the barricades and we will make it all come 
> true!"
>    If you or someone you know would like more information about the 
> National Association of Guide Dog Users and the National Federation of the 
> Blind, please feel free to get in touch with us. Our contact information 
> is below my signature.
>
> Fraternally yours,
> Marion Gwizdala, President
> National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU)
> National Federation of the Blind
> 813-626-2789
> President at NFB-NAGDU.ORG
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Albert J Rizzi" <
> albert at myblindspot.org>
>
> To: "'Marion & Martin'" <
> swampfox1833 at verizon.net>
>
> Sent: Sunday, January 17, 2010 8:40 PM
> Subject: RE: [Nyagdu] Legislative Consideration
>
>> Well what is being done in the way of education which would certainly end
>> these many instances where as posted herein, denied access or where hours
>> are lost by educating others in a baptism by fire approach.  What is the
>> organization  doing in the way of education on this front? How effective
>> is
>> it if we are still revisiting these same issues year after year? As a new
>> comer, it would seem to me that while there might be an educational
>> component to what is done, it does not seem at all effective. Is there a
>> standard curriculum for lack of a better word which I could review to get
>> answers on this matter? Who is conducting the education of politicians,
>> corporate America, law enforcement, schools, business owners, etc?  it is
>> one thing to include the thought of education  in a resolution it is
>> another
>> to have the resolve to educate and inform. Ignorance is bliss, but not
>> when
>> ignorance impedes on others rights and privileges.
>>
>> Albert J. Rizzi, M.Ed.
>> CEO/Founder
>> My Blind Spot, Inc.
>> 90 Broad Street - 18th Fl.
>> New York, New York  10004
>>
> www.myblindspot.org
>>
> PH: 917-553-0347
>> Fax: 212-858-5759
>> "The person who says it cannot be done, shouldn't interrupt the one who 
>> is
>> doing it."
>>
>>
>> Visit us on Facebook LinkedIn
>>
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Marion & Martin [mailto:swampfox1833 at verizon.net]
>> Sent: Sunday, January 17, 2010 5:48 PM
>> To: Albert J Rizzi
>> Subject: Re: [Nyagdu] Legislative Consideration
>>
>> Albert,
>>    I appreciate your input. At the same time, education is always a 
>> factor
>> in everything we do. For this reason, we don't really need a resolution 
>> to
>> create an educational initiative; however, if one reads any of our
>> resolutions, this is always an element of each one of them.
>>
>> fraternally yours,
>> Marion
>>
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Albert J Rizzi" <
> albert at myblindspot.org>
>
>> To: "'Marion & Martin'" <
> swampfox1833 at verizon.net>
>
>> Sent: Sunday, January 17, 2010 1:23 PM
>> Subject: RE: [Nyagdu] Legislative Consideration
>>
>>
>>> Perhaps in addition my friend, we could pass a resolution  which 
>>> promotes
>>> a
>>> national focus on education.  Educating people on the law and the 
>>> reasons
>>> they are in place would be a wonderful thing I could support as a
>>> resolution
>>> and as an agenda for this organization  with the power to lobby and
>>> mobilize.  Mitigation should be a key focus in our work. Education of
>>> this
>>> and other issues would better serve the ignorant rather then passing or
>>> supporting more legislation which will be ignored ultimately and thereby
>>> perpetuate ignorance rather then shed light and meaning on these 
>>> landmark
>>> efforts.  I could not support another resolution  which did not include 
>>> a
>>> sit down with state and federal power houses to ask them to help us
>>> educate
>>> all people like you and merry are doing every day. To give all people 
>>> the
>>> power and tools to quote laws and citations which when shared as you and
>>> merry do so well and so completely that the ice cream parlors and
>>> disrespectful  car services and transit officials are a distant memory 
>>> of
>>> what used to be rather then allowing them to continue on and just be.
>>>
>>> Albert J. Rizzi, M.Ed.
>>> CEO/Founder
>>> My Blind Spot, Inc.
>>> 90 Broad Street - 18th Fl.
>>> New York, New York  10004
>>>
> www.myblindspot.org
>>>
> PH: 917-553-0347
>>> Fax: 212-858-5759
>>> "The person who says it cannot be done, shouldn't interrupt the one who
>>> is
>>> doing it."
>>>
>>>
>>> Visit us on Facebook LinkedIn
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Marion & Martin [mailto:swampfox1833 at verizon.net]
>>> Sent: Sunday, January 17, 2010 9:29 AM
>>> To: Albert J Rizzi
>>> Subject: Re: [Nyagdu] Legislative Consideration
>>>
>>> Albert et al,
>>>    With tonhue in cheek, I m anxiously awaiting my 100-pound German
>>> Shepherd! (grin) I already get the "You don't look blind!" thing all too
>>> often. In fact, when I was working a guide, I often heard, "that man is
>>> training that dog for some poor blind person!" or words to that effect. 
>>> I
>>> can imagine the difficulties I will encounter with a huge black 
>>> Shepherd!
>>>    As for your question about whether working this from a state or
>>> federal
>>> level, I believe it would not only be easier to gain passage of state
>>> measures, the remedies under the state's judicial system can be stronger
>>> and
>>>
>>> more expedient!I believe our first step should be the introduction of a
>>> resolution at convention in order to make this an organizational
>>> initiative.
>>>
>>> Fraternally yours,
>>> Marion
>>>
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Albert J Rizzi" <
> albert at myblindspot.org>
>
>>> To: "'Marion & Martin'" <
> swampfox1833 at verizon.net>
> ; "'New York
>>> Association
>>> of Guide Dog Users'" <
> nyagdu at nfbnet.org>
>
>>> Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 11:44 AM
>>> Subject: RE: [Nyagdu] Legislative Consideration
>>>
>>>
>>>> Boy oh boy, merry has had a tough go of it as of late.  I would whole
>>>> heartedly support any measure to extend the types of protections as are
>>>> afforded in Florida.  It should be unlawful to represent ones self or
>>>> their
>>>> animal as individuals  or animals afforded protection under the ADA.
>>>> Perhaps we could start a nation wide campaign to ask all states to 
>>>> adopt
>>>> legislation like that of Florida. Consistency from state to state would
>>>> be
>>>
>>>> a
>>>> key factor and should be a concern included in our dialogues going
>>>> forward.
>>>> I would be all to happy to open a conversation with the proper state
>>>> officials here in new york to start that ball rolling when appropriate.
>>>> Would you think that addressing this issue as a violation of the ADA
>>>> would
>>>> be best addressed at the federal level or the state?
>>>>
>>>> Albert J. Rizzi, M.Ed.
>>>> CEO/Founder
>>>> My Blind Spot, Inc.
>>>> 90 Broad Street - 18th Fl.
>>>> New York, New York  10004
>>>>
> www.myblindspot.org
>>>>
> PH: 917-553-0347
>>>> Fax: 212-858-5759
>>>> "The person who says it cannot be done, shouldn't interrupt the one who
>>>> is
>>>> doing it."
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Visit us on Facebook LinkedIn
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From:
> nyagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org
> [mailto:nyagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>>>> Behalf
>>>> Of Marion & Martin
>>>> Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 11:11 AM
>>>> To: FLAGDU List
>>>> Cc: NYAGDU List; NAGDU List
>>>> Subject: [Nyagdu] Legislative Consideration
>>>>
>>>> Dear All,
>>>>    Last week, someone claiming protection under the ADA brought what
>>>> they
>>>> purported to be a service animal onto a Hillsborough Area Regional
>>>> Transit
>>>> (HART) vehicle and this animal bit the employee. Though we are unclear
>>>> about
>>>> all of the circumstances, such as if it was a fixed route or para
>>>> transit
>>>> vehicle or if the dog was a legitimate service animal, the incident has
>>>> caused some issues.
>>>>    When Merry was coming home from her internship last Wednesday, the
>>>> operator told her she needed to provide documentation for Kappie, which
>>>> she
>>>> refused to do. He refused to move the vehicle while he contacted the
>>>> dispatcher. ITM, Merry called me concerning this. When I called the
>>>> dispatcher, I was told that HART had implemented a new policy that "all
>>>> animals, including service animals, must show proof of vaccination" 
>>>> (his
>>>> words). I advised him that such a policy was in violation of the ADA, 
>>>> to
>>>> which he asserted it was not. When I asked him if he was an attorney, 
>>>> he
>>>> said he was not but he would be happy to transfer me to HART's legal
>>>> counsel. He also told me that Merry could ride this time, but would 
>>>> need
>>>> to
>>>> provide such documentation  of vaccination the next time she traveled.
>>>>    I left a message for HART's counsel, Sylvia Berrien,  and received a
>>>> return call the following morning. I have discussed this issue with Ms.
>>>> Berrien, with HART's  Director of Customer Service, Sylvia Castillo, 
>>>> and
>>>> Katherine Eagan, HART's Chief of Route Development, all of whom
>>>> apologized
>>>> for the incident, assured me that there was no such policy, and
>>>> immediately
>>>> issued a memorandum to all HART operators concerning this.
>>>>    This all leads me to the subject of this message. Florida statute
>>>> 316.1301, Commonly known as the "White Cane Law", states in paragraph
>>>> (1),
>>>> "It is unlawful for any person, unless totally or partially blind or
>>>> otherwise incapacitated, while on any public street or highway, to 
>>>> carry
>>>> in
>>>> a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in
>>>> color or white tipped with red. A person who is convicted of a 
>>>> violation
>>>> of
>>>> this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree". In
>>>> addition to this incident (HART seems to believe this animal was not a
>>>> service animal under the definition of the ADA), we have encountered
>>>> others
>>>> claiming their pets were service animals in order to gain access with
>>>> them.
>>>>    How would you feel about a measure to create a criminal penalty for
>>>> those who pass their pets off as service animals in order to gain 
>>>> access
>>>> with them, similar to those provisions mentioned above? I am also
>>>> circulating this message to other affiliate divisions and to the NAGDU
>>>> list
>>>> to gain input on this issue. All comments are invited!
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Fraternally yours,
>>>>
>>>> Marion Gwizdala, President
>>>>
>>>> National Association of Guide Dog Users
>>>>
>>>> National Federation of the Blind
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Nyagdu mailing list
>>>>
> Nyagdu at nfbnet.org
>>>>
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nyagdu_nfbnet.org
>>>>
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>>>> Nyagdu:
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>>>
>>
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> org
>>>>
>>>
>>
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