Washington Seminar

At our Washington Seminar, members of the National Federation of the Blind convene to learn about and advocate for legislative initiatives that will improve the lives of blind Americans. 

President Riccobono stands and smiles with Diane McGeorge and Buna Dahal during 2019 Washington Seminar reception Approximately three legislative initiatives are chosen for priority attention each year. These initiatives, which form the Washington Seminar priorities, are based on the official positions of the NFB adopted at the national convention and can address concerns related to civil rights, educational programs and services, rehabilitation of the blind for competitive employment, the operation of vending facilities by blind persons on public property, specialized library services for the blind, the organization and funding of federal programs, Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income programs, and other timely topics.

The first Washington Seminar took place in 1973. Today, more than five hundred people from the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico typically attend. 

Dates and Location

Monday, February 8 through Thursday, February 11, 2021
Washington Seminar will be held virtually this year. Stay tuned for more details.

    Schedule

    The 2021 Washington Seminar agenda with Zoom details is available below. 

    Great Gathering-In—Monday, February 8, 2021

    The Great Gathering-In is the very exciting opening session of the Washington Seminar. It will take place virtually this year, beginning Monday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. ET and  adjourning promptly at 7:00 p.m. ET.

    Congressional Appointments—Tuesday, February 9 through Thursday, February 11, 2021

    Virtual Congressional appointments should be made for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. A virtual meeting for NFB members to review progress and provide guidance will occur on Wednesday.

    The National Federation of the Blind is a community of members and friends who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation’s blind. Every day we work together to help blind people live the lives we want. The following is the agenda of the Washington Seminar, fact sheet, and digital packet.

    Legislative Priorities & Fact Sheets

    The following are the Washington Seminar priorities for the 117th Congress, First Session. Each priority provides a fact sheet that is available in several formats. 

    Access Technology Affordability Act

    The cost of critically needed access technology is out of reach for most blind Americans. The Access Technology Affordability Act will improve affordability of critically needed access technology necessary for employment and independent living. The following links offer the fact sheet and FAQ in several formats.

    Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act

    Advanced digital interfaces create barriers that prevent blind individuals from independently and safely operating home-use medical devices that are essential to their daily healthcare needs. The Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act will end unequal access to home-use medical devices for blind Americans. The following links offer the fact sheet and FAQ in several formats.

    Twenty-First Century Mobile Apps and Website Accessibility Act

    Websites are required by law to be accessible, but without implementing regulations most businesses and retailers have little understanding of what accessible means. The Twenty-First Century Mobile Apps and Website Accessibility Act will end website and mobile application inaccessibility for blind Americans.

    Americans with Disabilities Voting Rights Act

    The constitutionally protected right to vote that is available to all Americans is inaccessible to blind Americans. The Americans with Disabilities Voting Rights Act will ensure that all methods of voting, including registration, are accessible to blind and low-vision citizens.

    These priorities will remove obstacles to economic opportunity, medical devices, websites, and civil rights. We urge Congress to support our legislative initiatives.

    Additional Helpful Information

    • 2021 Example Meeting: John Paré, Jeff Kaloc, and Stephanie Flynt of government affairs perform an example of what a good meeting should be like.

    More Information

    For more information, please contact Kyle Walls at 410-659-9314, extension 2223, or [email protected]