June 2020

President's Letter

Dear Friend,

Relationships are key to the work of the National Federation of the Blind. Our organization is a very large family comprised of blind people, our families, and our friends. We form the bonds that help us accomplish our goals as an organization and support each other’s dreams. 

Our personal relationships are crucial to our success. But we also have a plethora of corporate relationships. More than ever we should continue to reach outside the organization to those connections. They can help amplify our public message and together we increase educational and employment opportunities for blind people. The key to any relationship is reciprocity--everyone benefits. Disney and NFB have a relatively new partnership which exemplifies how mutually beneficial partnerships work. We work together on audio description, for example, and when Disney Plus launched we worked together to find and fix accessibility barriers in the app. Disney showed their responsiveness to our community and can sell more of their product and the Federation advocated for an accessible product which will benefit all of us.

When we talk about our partners, these are companies and organizations that have a real interactive relationship with our movement. Our partners engage with us in a give and take exchange. We get value and so do they. We also challenge each other to be the best we can be. Our partners make us stronger and we do the same for them. Over the years, we have done incredible things with our partners and we have more planned for the future.

Partnerships with organizations and businesses large and small make our fifty-two affiliates and their hundreds of local chapters strong as well. If your business or organization has partnered with a state affiliate or local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind to raise funds or just raise awareness, we thank you for your love and support. I also want to thank each of you who have made personal contributions to our movement, through volunteering, financial support, or both. The National Federation of the Blind looks forward to partnering with you again, or perhaps for the first time, throughout 2020 and beyond.

Warmly,

Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind 

Building Reciprocal Partnerships

This year, our work to grow relationships with friends and members of the National Federation of the Blind has developed in a myriad of new ways. NFB chapters, divisions, and affiliates host virtual events weekly to keep in touch and share information. We continue to adapt and build connections with people and organizations as we prepare for our first ever virtual convention. Sponsors and exhibitors play an important role in the national convention and this year is no different. Some scholarships are funded by our corporate partners, and convention goers enjoy opportunities to interact with them and learn about the work we do together to help blind people live the lives we want.  

For any partnership to succeed it must be mutually beneficial. Tom Tiernan explains how this works with Vispero, the world’s largest assistive technology provider, “Both NFB and Vispero focus on promoting independence and increasing access. The scholarship program reflects the values of our own mission, as it directly empowers the next generation of students to exercise their right to a competitive education, free of hurdles and unnecessary barriers. Our community has never been more unified, and formalized relationships sharing their strengths, like the one between Vispero and NFB, are key to driving our common mission forward. Vispero works on developing and delivering innovative solutions for blind and low-vision individuals.”

The National Federation of the Blind works with all kinds of organizations including those that are not specific to the field of blindness. Connect with us! There are so many possibilities and opportunities.

Learn more about our sponsors and exhibitors at the 2020 NFB National Convention or connect with us by emailing outreach@nfb.org.

Latest News at the NFB

The 2019 Annual Report Is Available

Every year the National Federation of the Blind's annual report highlights progress made, milestones achieved, and powerful stories told by blind people living the lives they want. Review our 2019 annual report. None of these achievements would be possible without you, our members, partners, and supporters. Thank you for continuing to build the Federation.

Standing in Solidarity Against Racial Injustice

For eighty years, the National Federation of the Blind has viewed addressing discrimination and promoting equality as essential elements of our work. Today we stand in solidarity with the black community in the fight for justice and pursuit of equal treatment under the law. Read the full solidarity statement.

Blind Students and Advocates Resolve Dispute with College Board over AP Exams

Students will receive Braille exams and tactile graphics. Kaleigh Brendle, a blind advanced-placement (AP) high school student, and the National Federation of the Blind have resolved the dispute with the College Board over its administration of the advanced placement examinations to blind and deafblind students during the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the resolution in our press room.

New: Downloadable Dragon Masters Series for Young Children

Exciting news from our partner, the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults: Scholastic is making Dragon Masters, a book series by Tracey West about the adventures of young children who team up with dragons, available as a BRF file. These files can be downloaded and render Braille properly on a refreshable Braille display. In book sixteen of the series, Tessa is the Dragon Master to the Sound Dragon, Sono. Tessa is clever, brave, and blind. Scholastic will be providing the whole series in BRF, but currently you can download books one and sixteen on the Action Fund’s Dragon Masters page.

New: On-Demand Audio Service for Young Children

The National Federation of the Blind is proud to partner with Pinna, an on-demand audio streaming service for children under twelve. Pinna is currently providing sixty days free with the promo code NFBGET60. Among the available content is Opal Watson Private Eye, a Pinna original podcast. Opal is curious, brave, and persistent. And, she happens to be blind. Learn more about Pinna and Opal Watson.

Lawsuit Alleges Discrimination Against Blind Students at Duke

Mary Fernandez is a blind student who began the Duke Daytime MBA program in the fall of 2018. In a lawsuit filed this month, she and the NFB allege that Duke failed to ensure that blind students can interact with digital content access course materials—including hard-copy Braille materials and hard-copy tactile graphics when requested and appropriate—on an equal basis with students without disabilities. This resulted in Ms. Fernandez diverting her time and attention away from her studies to advocate for equal access to her education. Blind students must have access to course materials in accessible formats. Learn more about discrimination by Duke University.

Take Action This Month

Throughout our local chapters and state affiliates to our national headquarters and diverse committees, the National Federation of the Blind is an organization of collective action. Here’s what you can do to get involved this month.

Important Dates

We certainly are a busy organization. Don’t miss these upcoming events, workshops, and deadlines.