[Ohio-Talk] From the Ohio Membership Committee "Braille Monitor June 2018"

Suzanne Turner smturner.234 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 28 00:25:19 UTC 2019

New Members, Students and Potential Members,


If you are not joining us at the 2019 National Convention in Vegas. I have
news for you! 


Come and go with us!




To 175 Hutchinson Avenue, Columbus Ohio! This is the DoubleTree by Hilton,
Columbus/Worthington Hotel.




Because, this is where the happenings will be!




Several ways! So, let me tell you!


First, Cleveland will have a chartered bus,  that will leave on November 1,
2019 and then return on November 3, 2019, headed to Columbus Ohio for the
State of Ohio Convention and back.


What about the rest of the State?


Glad you've asked!


We have chapters in Cincinnati, Lorain, Columbus, Dayton, Springfield,
Akron, and an At-Large Chapter; that will make every effort to get you to
the most happening place in the State. 


So that you understand just what it means to be at a Convention. Read the
article below. Although, the Author was at the National Convention. It also
is relevant to our State Convention as well!


If you are on the fense. This article will make you pick up the telephone
and call to make your reservation for the National Federation of the Blind
of Ohio, 2019 State Convention!


So that you have the info, call (614) 885-3334 and reserve your room for
November 1st through November 3rd 2019.


The Ohio Membership Committee will meet you there!


Don't forget to read the article below!


Carolyn Peters, Co-Chair


Suzanne Turner, Co-Chair



Braille Monitor                                    June 2018

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Living the Movement: Ferret Federationists

by Priscilla McKinley

>From the Editor: This article first appeared in the March 2000 issue of the
Braille Monitor. We are reprinting it here because it clearly illuminates
the power of one person to change her perspective on life and the importance
to those of us who are Federationists to live an example that makes this
positive change seem possible and infinitely worthwhile. Here is how it was
introduced when it first appeared eighteen years ago:


At this year's Mid-Winter Conference of the National Association of Blind
Students, two students were invited to speak about their notions of what it
means to live the movement. The first to address the audience was Priscilla
McKinley, President of the Old Capitol Chapter of the NFB of Iowa, a member
of the affiliate's board of directors, and a graduate student at the
University of Iowa. Priscilla has also twice won NFB scholarships. This is
what she said:

Good morning, Federationists, or perhaps I should say, "ferret-like
Federationists." Yes, you heard me right: ferret-like Federationists. The
other day, while sitting in my office thinking about my life as a blind
person, I was continually reminded that my ferret was in the room asleep in
her hammock hanging from the ceiling of her cage-the sound of her breathing
very soft but noticeable. And then I thought of it, the perfect metaphor for
this speech, my pet ferret Chloe.

A few months ago I had a dream in which I had a mink, a ferret, a mongoose,
and a goat. When I woke the next day and asked my husband Brian if I could
get one of those, he rejected the mink, mongoose, and goat, but finally
agreed on the ferret. Two days later I had a pet ferret, and my obsession

Do any of you in this room have a ferret? Well I can tell you a few things
about them. Ferrets are adorable little animals with long bodies that seem
to change form with each movement. They have triangular heads with pointy
little noses. They're related to weasels, badgers, otters, minks, and even
skunks. But unlike those animals, ferrets have been domesticated for
centuries because they were originally used to ferret out rabbits for
hunters in England and later rats on farms in this country.

Spending most of their time in dark tunnels, most ferrets have very poor
eyesight. They don't see well in the bright light, and they don't see color
at all. Many are totally blind. Yet according to my ferret book, blind
ferrets get around better than their sighted counterparts. Studies show that
the blind ferrets use their other senses and are actually more aware of
their surroundings. In fact, with their keen sense of direction, ferrets
have often been used to wire planes and other equipment.

So what does this have to do with my life as a blind person, with your lives
as blind people? Well, since spending about ten hours a day with Chloe,
whose cage is in my office, I know that ferrets have two modes of operating:
lethargic and lively, off and on. First there is mode one, in which the
ferret sleeps between fourteen and sixteen hours a day, often climbing out
of her hammock only to get a drink or piece of food. Sometimes too lazy to
get out of her hammock, she will hang over the edge, stretching her long
body to snatch up a raisin or a fruit treat.

When I lost my sight due to complications of diabetes, I was much like a
ferret in the off-mode, extremely passive. I was content in my situation,
letting others take care of me, letting others determine my fate. At first,
suffering from depression, I wanted to sleep sixteen to eighteen hours a
day. When my mother compared my blindness to the deaths of my sister and
father, I thought she was right. I believed that my blindness was a tragedy,
a death. When I decided to go back to school, my rehab counselor told me
that maybe I could get a job at Goodwill-a good job in the office, not a job
sorting clothes. I actually considered this for a while, but then I told my
rehab counselor that instead I wanted to go back to school.

When I thought classes like science and foreign language might be too hard
for me, a blind person, I requested waivers for those classes. When I was
accepted into grad school and decided to apply for a job as a graduate
instructor, one professor told me that perhaps I should teach a
correspondence course, where I wouldn't have to deal with students. Another
professor told me that I should apply for a job in the writing lab, where I
wouldn't have to worry about an entire class, but would be working

When I registered for a practicum in that writing lab and asked the
instructor when we'd be working with our students, she said, "We won't have
to worry about students. I don't know how they would react to having a blind
teacher." So, what did I do? I went home and cried. I snuggled up under my
blankets on my bed, just as my little ferret snuggles up under her blankets
in her hammock.

Even though I eventually had my own writing lab students and secured a
position as a graduate instructor, I lacked self-confidence and a positive
attitude about blindness. I remained in mode one-the off-mode. Then in 1996
I attended my first convention of the National Federation of the Blind in
Anaheim, California. For the first time in my life as a blind person I
wasn't the minority, and I started scratching at the door of my cage,
anxious to move into mode two-the on-mode. Just as my little ferret does the
weasel joy dance, hopping and skipping and jumping, moving independently
across my office floor, I observed Barbara Pierce, one of my mentors, flying
across the floors of the Hilton, hurrying to get to her public relations
meetings. Just as my little ferret extends her pointy nose to ferret out
every nook and cranny of my house, I observed Peggy Elliott extending her
seven- or eight-foot-long cane, eager to explore uncharted territory.

Just as my little ferret takes on my two sighted spaniels, chasing them
through the house, often tugging on their tails, I observed Dr. Jernigan,
Dr. Maurer, and the other leaders in the NFB taking on the big dogs in the
world, not at all intimidated by their size.

When I returned home after the convention, I knew that I could never go back
to my cage. I had tasted the freedom and the positive attitude about
blindness the NFB offers blind individuals. Unlike ferrets, which spend
their lives in those two modes, we as blind people can choose the mode in
which we want to live our lives. We can choose to live in mode one, content
to be locked in our cages, letting others determine what we can and cannot
do. Or with the love and support of the National Federation of the Blind, we
can live our lives in mode two, taking on the big dogs, exploring new
ground, doing the weasel joy dance for all of the world to see.


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