[Ohio-talk] A Timely Article

barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 19 14:09:17 UTC 2016

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Barbara Pierce 
President Emerita
National Federation of the Blind of Ohio
Barbara.pierce9366 at gmail.com
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you zwant; blindness is not what holds you back.

> On Feb 18, 2016, at 2:05 PM, Christopher Sabine, ONH Consulting via Ohio-talk <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> J.W.
> This is such a wonderful article. I will post this on our Facebook page.
> Thanks for sharing this.
> Chris
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ohio-talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Smith, JW
> via Ohio-talk
> Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2016 1:07 PM
> To: NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List (ohio-talk at nfbnet.org)
> Cc: Smith, JW
> Subject: [Ohio-talk] A Timely Article
> Dear NFB of Ohio Family, Friends and Colleagues,
> One of our graduate students made me aware of this article and so I have cut
> and pasted it here for you to both enjoy and read as well.
> JW
> "What I'll Say the Next Time Someone Asks if I know Stevie Wonder"
> The 58th Annual Grammy Awards was held in Los Angeles on February 15, 2016.
> Artists representing every genre of music packed the Staples Center as fans
> from all over the country watched for performances and fashion alike.
> With so many losses felt within the music community since the beginning of
> the year, Stevie Wonder and
> Penatonix<http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/grammys/6875306/stevie-wond
> er-pentatonix-thats-the-way-of-the-world-grammys-2016> honored Earth, Wind &
> Fire's Maurice White with an emotional performance of "That's the Way of the
> World." Wonder, who became blind shortly after birth, then preceded to
> remain on stage as Penatonix members read the Grammy nominees for "Song of
> the Year."
> After video played, the camera cut back to Stevie Wonder, who was holding
> the winner's card. As he began to fumble with the card, attempting to open
> its seal, Wonder murmured, "So, I'm gonna break this open, pop it open...
> you know, what the hell?" The audience laughed while Penatonix members
> awkwardly looked on, seemingly wondering if they should intervene or let the
> music icon continue to open the envelope.
> Wonder quickly attained success and upon turning the card towards the
> audience, it appeared to be blank.
> "OK, so you all can't read this huh? You can't read it; you can't read
> Braille. Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah Nah."
> The audience erupted with laughter. Stevie, glided his fingers over the dots
> adding, "I just want to say before saying the winner, that we need to make
> every single thing accessible to every single person with a
> disability<http://themighty.com/2016/02/stevie-wonder-calls-for-disability-a
> ccessibility-in-grammys-speech/>." The audience applauded Wonder as Ed
> Sheeran took home the win for his song, "Thinking Out Loud."
> As a blind woman, I've had a love-hate relationship with Stevie Wonder since
> losing my vision in 2012. As one of the most famous blind people in the
> entertainment world, people often say say to me, "Oh, I can name a blind
> person, (pause) Stevie Wonder."
> I also get asked, "Do 'you' know Stevie Wonder?"
> Know him? Of course I know who he is. I've heard his music. Are we going out
> to dinner or texting each other daily? In a word... no.
> Surprising as it may sound, not all blind people hang out together. We exist
> in this world. We participate in our communities, and if we do happen to
> encounter a fellow individual with a visual impairment, then yeah, we
> compare notes. Maybe we swap numbers, similar to sighted people when they
> meet someone who shares a similar interest.
> I know enough about Stevie Wonder to expect a great performance, but I was
> equally surprised by the Grammys' choice to have him hold the winner's card.
> Even as a blind woman, I was thinking, "Man, is somebody going to help him
> with that envelope?" and "How is he going to read that thing?"
> Well, Stevie showed me. Hell, he showed the entire musical community. A
> blind man read and announced a Grammy winner.
> He didn't need assistance. He didn't require a sighted person to do the job.
> He just did it. Elegantly. Professionally. Perfectly.
> But beyond that, Stevie Wonder lightheartedly used the opportunity, perhaps
> even unbeknownst to him, to educate the world about "inclusion."
> "We need to make every singe thing accessible to every single person with a
> disability."
> Inclusion for all, whether it's the blind celebrity announcing the Grammy
> winner or the autistic child looking for matriculated classes in their
> school. The disabled community craves accessibility. We sometimes require
> accommodation. But we all, disabled or not, want inclusion.
> The next time someone asks me if I "know" Stevie Wonder, I won't be
> frustrated by their innocent ignorance.  Instead, I will proudly say, "Yes,
> he's the guy who killed it at the 2016 Grammys by showing the world how
> accessibility for the disabled community is so empowering."
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