[NFB-Talk] civil disobedience question

Kaye Baker kaye.j.zimpher at gmail.com
Mon Jan 13 23:00:44 UTC 2020

Hi Chris and All:
I have been an NFB member for almost 31 years now, and sometimes I wonder
where that zeal we use to have for a friendly protest has gone. I can think
of many cases where a little civil disobedience actually went a long way.
The group of which you speak "ADAPT," was a group that I too participated in
back in the 90's as part of a job I held then. We all went to Washington DC
in one instance and sat on the lawn of then Senator Newt Gingrich and
protested so that rights of disabled people living in nursing homes could be
heard. At that time, we wanted disabled people to be let out of the
institutions, and put back in their homes where they belonged. It was a long
and arduous fight, but eventually all of the work ADAPT did paid off.
Several people got arrested that day, but it was my 25th birthday, and I
decided I'd rather just go back to the hotel after writing my report. ADAPT
held several protests of similar nature, and eventually, the laws were in
fact changed. 
I think as blind and disabled people we have to stop being apologists for
our disability. One of the things the NFB leaders such as DR Journigan
taught me so long ago is to be proud of who I am. Yes, I am proud to be a
blind person, and I am proud of my accomplishments. We can be the grown up
in the room, but we still have the right to have our voices heard. We don't
have to "put up" with being shoved in a back corner, or thought of as less.

-----Original Message-----
From: nFB-Talk <nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org> On Behalf Of Jack Heim via
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2020 12:33 PM
To: NFB Talk Mailing List <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Jack Heim <john at johnheim.com>; Chris Westbrook <westbchris at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NFB-Talk] civil disobedience question

You cannot learn anything about advocacy by asking the people on this list.
All the people on this list can give you is their personal preferences --
which on this list will very much tend toward the conservative. If you want
to know whether a polite or a confrontational approach to protesting works
better, you cannot learn that from the people on this lis, they don't know
anything about advocacy.

The NFB itself has been extraordinarily conservative over the years.  In
1995, the Braille Monitor held a debate over the use of guide dogs.

The extraordinary thing about that issue of the Braille Monitor was an essay
by Kenneth Jernigan expressing his opinion that guide dogs were an
unnecessary burden on society. So you can guess what he'd have thought of

On 1/13/20 9:10 AM, Chris Westbrook via nFB-Talk wrote:
> 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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