[NFB-Talk] civil disobedience question

Marianne Haas advocate at earthlink.net
Mon Jan 13 17:11:41 UTC 2020

Good Morning Everyone,
I live in the SF Bay Area the Hot Bed of Civil Disobedience.  In fact, I
have participated for several causes in my younger days.  Yes, of course, it
is pathetic if buildings are not accessible to people in wheelchairs.
However, there are other causes and methods we can use to make things

I, for instance, work with people running for Congress and state offices and
encourage them to put website accessibility on their platform and employment
of people with disabilities, especially the blind.  Do you know, for
instance, that none of the campaign websites of the presidential candidates
is totally accessible to the blind.  Also, in one county deaf people were
sent away from poling places as there was nobody able to sign.  I work on
the right side of the isle and I encourage people to work on the left side
also. I do feel that huge tax breaks for companies hiring people with
disabilities, especially visual disabilities could bring the results we

Anyone, interested in talking to me and strategizing, can email me on or off
advocate at earthlink.net
or call me:
(510) 525-7965

Best Regards,


-----Original Message-----
From: nFB-Talk [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Mike
Hingson via nFB-Talk
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2020 7:56 AM
To: 'NFB Talk Mailing List' <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: mike at michaelhingson.com; 'Chris Westbrook' <westbchris at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NFB-Talk] civil disobedience question


Civil disobedience action is something that must be considered carefully.
However, the Americans With Disabilities Act has been the law of the land
for nearly 30 years.

If the lack of wheelchair access is wide spread and if your government has
refused to keep up with the times then it may well be that some felt that
such action was the only recourse. Again, this is something not to be taken

You are right in that there are some who want to create public protests at
the drop of a hat.

The National Federation of the Blind has conducted some protests during its
existence, but it has done so with the proper permits and in an organized

Back in the 1970s when the Federation was at the height of our battle
against the paternalistic actions of the AFB and its creation NAC, during
one organized protest during a NAC meeting in New York we did go down and
sit in front of every door at the offices of the AFB. We locked em in their

I am not sure we had a permit to do this nor did we protest in this way for
a long time. Civil disobedience, sure and it was for a good cause by any
standard. The public nor agencies for the blind were listening.

If the organization to which you refer just decided to protest to disrupt
without having a good well thought out platform then you are right.

Here is another example. In 2004 in San Rafael California when John Carrey
was running for president his campaign opened an office on the 2nd floor of
a building with no elevator. The campaign upon opening the office scheduled
a big grand opening party. Some folks in wheelchairs checked out the
building as they wanted to attend. Upon discovering that absolutely no
thought had been given to insuring access for all they protest including
blocking entrances. The Carrey campaign responded by saying something like
"we knew about the problem and we plan to fix it". Really? They were going
to reconstruct the building? The folks in wheelchairs gave the best response
to this. "Perhaps you will fix this, but not in time for us to be invited to
the party."

It is hard to be more specific for you. Remember, our own American
revolution was civil disobedience for sure. Sometimes it might really be
necessary to take such action. 

Best Regards,

Michael Hingson

-----Original Message-----
From: nFB-Talk On Behalf Of Chris Westbrook via nFB-Talk
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2020 7:10 AM
To: NFB Talk Mailing List <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Chris Westbrook <westbchris at gmail.com>
Subject: [NFB-Talk] civil disobedience question

I'm curious to know what my fellow NF members think of something. I am on
the board of a local organization here (not NFB or blindness related) and
some people from that organization decided to protest lack of wheelchair
access by totally disrupting the inauguration ceremony for new politicians,
to the point where they were arrested and almost charged with disorderly
conduct etc. As you can imagine this has sparked some controversy. I don't
want to get in to more detail here as I am on the board and we haven't
discussed things yet, but i'm just curious if anyone feels such militant
protests are ever justified? I am inclined to say no and definitely not in
this specific case for other reasons I won't get into here. This protest was
apparently enabled/aided by ADAPT which seems to be a very in your face
organization that is bad news in my opinion. It seems to me that such
protests can only hurt our cause. I think we must be careful to always
behave with dignity and be the adults in the room so to speak. Curious what
you all think.
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