President Riccobono’s Notebook

February 16, 2016
President’s Notebook

Dear Fellow Federationists,

Yesterday was Presidents’ Day so let me take this opportunity to thank our presidents for all of the hours of work, boundless energy, and stimulating imagination you put into our organization. It is truly an honor to serve with individuals who are willing to bring their diverse perspectives to a place of mutually beneficial organizational policy. I sometimes talk about how important it is to be shaped by the members around us even as we help to shape them. I feel blessed that you continue to shape my work on a daily basis.

As you will notice by the number of items below, we are on the move in February. Please continue to find opportunities to encourage people to apply for our scholarship program, nominate people or organizations for Bolotin Awards, recognize outstanding teachers, and apply for our summer programs. The more connections we make with others, the stronger we make the organization.

Let me also acknowledge that one of our presidents, Rick Reed of Wyoming, has been in the hospital. We should continue to keep Rick in our thoughts and prayers.

News:
Marrakesh Treaty:
Last week President Obama transmitted the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled treaty to the United States Senate for ratification. The Marrakesh Treaty was officially proposed in 2009, successfully adopted in June 2013 by the World Intellectual Property Organization, and signed by the United States in October 2013. For more information on the treaty, please visit https://nfb.org/marrakeshfactsheet.

Access to Absentee Ballots:
We learned last week that the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Judicial Circuit upheld the ruling in National Federation of the Blind et al. vs. Linda H. Lamone et al. requiring the state of Maryland to make an accessible online ballot-marking tool available to blind voters who wished to vote by absentee ballot.

Medicare and Medicaid Lawsuit:
We have filed a federal lawsuit charging the US Department of Health and Human Services through its sub-agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and its CMS sub-contractors, with systemically violating the civil rights of blind Medicare recipients. The action seeks to require HHS to provide blind individuals meaningful and equally effective access to their Medicare information. More information is available in the press release.

Reminders:
Braille Book Fair:
We have started collecting donated books for this year’s Braille Book Fair. Please encourage members to ship (via Free Matter for the Blind) their gently used, but no longer needed, Braille books to:
2016 Braille Book Fair
National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells St. at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21231

We Need Foreign Language Assistance:
We need help with our efforts to add languages to the KNFB Reader. If you speak Russian, Greek, Czech, Bulgarian, Estonian, Ukrainian, or Indonesian; use a supported iOS device; and are able to help; please send an email to support@knfbreader.com. Please specify “Beta Testing” in the subject of the message.

Dates to keep in mind:
• March 3-5: NFB STEM2U San Francisco
• March 31: NFB Scholarship Program application deadline, https://nfb.org/scholarships
• March 31-April 1: 2016 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium; Diversity in the Disability Rights Movement: Working Together to Achieve the Right to Live in the World
• April 15: Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Program nomination deadline, https://nfb.org/bolotin-award-main
• May 1: Distinguished Educator of Blind Students Award application deadline
• May 17-20: BLAST, Chicago
• May 19-21: NFB STEM2U Minneapolis
• June 19-25: NFB EQ (first iteration)
• June 30-July 5: National Federation of the Blind Convention, Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, Florida
• July 31-August 6: NFB EQ (second iteration)
• August 18-25: WBU and ICEVI General Assembly, Rosen Centre, Orlando, Florida, www.wbu-icevi2016.org

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 want; blindness is not what holds you back.

Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314
Fax: (410) 659-5129
Email: officeofthepresident@nfb.org
Twitter: @Riccobono and @NFB_Voice
Web: www.nfb.org

President’s Notebook
National Federation of the Blind
Mark A. Riccobono
officeofthepresident@nfb.org
(410) 659-9314

 

Dear Fellow Federationists,

Happy New Year! Three weeks from today we will be preparing for the great Gathering In meeting of 2016. Thank you for your work to get your delegation ready for Washington Seminar. Please let me know if you need anything in advance of our annual time on the Hill.

Critical actions this week:

KNFB Reader Sale:

The last day of holiday sale is today. Go to www.nfb.org/knfbreader to take advantage of the holiday rate. The app won the Applevis Golden Apple award by a landslide for the best assistive app for the second year!

News:

Washington Seminar email address is ready:
For those attending Washington Seminar, once you have scheduled appointments on the Hill, please send an email to hillappointments@nfb.org with the following information: who you are meeting with, date, time, and room number.

 

From the Jacobus tenBroek Library:
We now have the complete Braille Monitor online from 1957 to October 1971. We have finished work on the last issue from 1969, which closed an existing gap in the issues available online. The issues from the years 1972-1984 are still in progress.

 

NFB-NEWSLINE® Mobile update (ver. 2.2) released:

The new version of the NFB-NEWSLINE® iOS Mobile app includes a number of enhancements, including a global search function, allowing subscribers to search across all publications for topics of interest. The weather alert feature will now be linked to the iOS device’s GPS, so alerts will be more accurate than ever before. A blind person can hear the beep tones warning of weather emergencies on the television, but cannot read the messages scrolling across the screen. NFB-NEWSLINE® provides any current alerts as soon as subscribers log into the app.

In addition to these features, TV listings have been streamlined; retail ads, previously only available using the telephone access method, have been added, and choosing Favorites is now made easier by the addition of an ADD/DELETE Favorites button on the screen for each publication.

Did you know?

Huffington Post:
My blog post, One Thing the President Can Give Blind Americans for Christmas, can be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-riccobono/president-can-give-blind-americans-this-for-christmas_b_8811918.html.

Dates to keep in mind:

  • January 25-28, 2016: Washington Seminar, https://nfb.org/washington-seminar
  • March 3-5, 2016: NFB STEM2U San Francisco
  • March 31, 2016: NFB Scholarship Program application deadline, https://nfb.org/scholarships
  • April 15, 2016: Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Program nomination deadline, https://nfb.org/bolotin-award-main
  • May 17-20, 2016: BLAST, Chicago
  • May 19-21, 2016: NFB STEM2U Minneapolis
  • June 19-25, 2016: NFB EQ (first iteration)
  • June 30-July 5: National Federation of the Blind Convention, Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, Florida
  • July 31-August 6, 2016 NFB EQ (second iteration)
  • August 18-25: WBU and ICEVI General Assembly, Rosen Centre, Orlando, Florida

 

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 want; blindness is not what holds you back.

 

 

Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314
Fax: (410) 659-5129
Email: officeofthepresident@nfb.org
Twitter: @Riccobono and @NFB_Voice
Web: www.nfb.org

LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT.