November 2020 English Transcript

(Music playing: High Hopes by Panic at the Disco).

PAM ALLEN: Good evening and welcome, we're all about hope at the National Federation of the Blind and we're so glad you'll be with us tonight. We'll be starting promptly at 8:00 Eastern, and to remind everybody, you can submit Q&As through the Q&A section. We're also offering closed captioning through a new app, so please check out 1CapApp for captioning, and we have two polls, what is your favorite candy, and what is your favorite NFB event from the last decade? We'll be getting started shortly, and welcome.

(Music playing: Brave by Sara Bareilles).

(Music playing: Three Little Birds by Bob Marley).

PAM ALLEN: Good evening. We're so glad you're here with us for our Federation family gathering and presidential release. Please remember to check out the polls while we're starting. We'll start at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, and we'll have closed captioning available through the Zoom app and a new streaming site we're testing called 1 Cap App. And if you have any questions, please e-mail cdanielsen@nfb.org. We'll start shortly. Thank you.

(Song playing: Except for the Turkey).

(Music playing: Live the Life you Want.) 

LYRICS: Live the life you want, nobody can stop you.

Shoot for the sun and break on through.

So you're blind, you'll be fine, we've got good news.

You can live the life you want, yes, we know the truth.

Grab a cane, get trained.

Got to get moving.

Make a change and a wage, that's what we're doing.

Come with me... yeah!

You can live the life you want, nobody can stop you.

Shoot for the sun and break on through.

So you're blind, you'll be fine, we've got good news.

You can live the life you want, yes, we know the truth.

You and me, NFB, let's dream together.

Can it be, you and me, lives on forever?

You will see... yeah!

Live the life you want, nobody can stop you.

Shoot for the sun and break on through.

(Grab a cane, get trained).

So you're blind, you'll be fine, we've got good news.

You can live the life you want, yes we know the truth.

(We know the truth).

You can live the life you want, yes we know the truth!

(Piano and harmonica solo).

Yeah, you know the truth!

(Music ends).

PAM ALLEN: Good evening, Federation family, and welcome to our November presidential release. We're so happy to be with you from all around the country tonight as we join together. And it is now my pleasure to introduce for his remarks our president Mark Riccobono. President Riccobono?

MARK RICCOBONO: Good evening, Pam, how are you?

PAM ALLEN: I'm great, how are you? Happy Halloween

MARK RICCOBONO: Yeah, did you dress up?

PAM ALLEN: Yes, yes, I dressed up as the national rep at the Illinois banquet.

(Laughter.)

Very creative!

MARK RICCOBONO: That's right, that's right.

PAM ALLEN: How about you?

MARK RICCOBONO: I did, we might reveal that later.

PAM ALLEN: All right, we'll see.

MARK RICCOBONO: And did you give out candy?

PAM ALLEN: Yes, a couple trick or treaters we were glad to welcome.

MARK RICCOBONO: That means you got to sneak some of the candy.

PAM ALLEN: Of course, that's the best part!

MARK RICCOBONO: Excellent. Glad to hear your voice!

PAM ALLEN: Yes, great to be together.

MARK RICCOBONO: Should we get started?

PAM ALLEN: Sounds great!

MARK RICCOBONO: Greetings, fellow Federationists, today is Sunday, November 1, 2020, and this is presidential release number 499. It's November, and I'm thinking about particularly November 16th is coming up. November 16th -- oh, you know, before I forget, I should say that for tonight's presidential release live, last month, I was in the new space, the newly renovated space on our fourth floor, an area we call the family room. Today, I'm in the Jacobus tenBroek library on the third floor of our building. Behind me is a piece of art that we commissioned in 2009, done by Ann Cunningham of Colorado, and it has some of our Louis Braille silver dollars and some other symbols on it. And it's also where we keep our archives and our history, which is why I want to talk about November 16th, which is the Federation anniversary, November 16, 1940, is when our movement was founded. So we'll be celebrating our 80th anniversary on November 16th. And in honor of that, I want to remind everybody that we have a rich collection of Federation literature, history, documents that tell our story, but also demonstrate our progress, catalog our philosophy and what dozens of blind people have written about it. And a lot of that can now be found online. A lot of that is preserved here in our library. There are two publications primarily that I would like to call to the attention of our chapters that we can use for program reading assignments, discussion pieces in our movement. The first, of course, is our 50th anniversary book, Walking Alone and Marching Together, which you can find on our website -- we'll put the URL, it's a complicated URL -- in the chat, but you can find it on NFB.org, Walking Alone and Marching Together. Then we did another book for our 75th anniversary, and that's in a little different style, and it has some different voices in it, and that's Building the Lives We Want. You can also find that on the NFB website. The book from our first 50th year, also, the audio version is on our website. It has all of the original audio for the speeches, at least to the degree that we have them, and so there's a lot of great content in both of those books. Of course, a rich store of our philosophy and writings in the Braille Monitor as well. But I encourage our chapters to think about leveraging these two books in the upcoming year to help build the organization and stimulate discussion about our movement.

Okay. We are getting ready for 2021, and our first big event in 2021 will be our National Federation of the Blind Washington Seminar. I'm sure that word has already reached you that our Washington Seminar will be virtual next year. And I'm pretty excited about this. This means that really all of our members can participate in the work that we do to talk to members of Congress in the new Congress, whatever it looks like, and we're now building the plan for that, and we're going to want you to participate. We will have our great gathering in on Monday, February 8th at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, just like tradition calls for, but the other beauty of this is that our meetings with members of Congress can happen when we can best schedule them in the local time zones. So I encourage you to work with your affiliate leadership on being prepared to participate in the Washington Seminar activities the week of February 8th. After we learn what the new Congress is going to look like, we will be strategizing about the exact pieces of legislation that we want to advance in the next Congress. But remember, we still have two months to get the bills that we have in Congress moving, and there are still chances that some of our legislation will move. We did a great job of continuing to pick up co-sponsors in the month of October. I won't go through all those numbers, but I will say that continuing to pour on the pressure, especially after the election, for us to get co-sponsors before this term is out is a good idea. And be on the watch, we may have a call to action if some of our bills move with some legislative activity in the lame-duck session.

So hopefully everybody is thinking about voting this week. If you haven't voted already, I do encourage you to go out and vote. I mentioned in a previous presidential release, we have an agreement with Lyft to provide a promotional coupon to help blind people get to the polls on Election Day or for early voting. If you need that financial support, we've been working with Lyft, and Lyft has agreed to make this code now publicly available. It didn't get a ton of use yet, so we want to make sure it gets use in time for people to go to the polls on November 3rd. So if you need the financial support to get a ride to the polls on November 3rd, you can use our Federation Lyft code, and it will give you $20 in ride credit to help you get to the polls. The promo code to use is: NFBVOTE2020. NFBVOTE2020. If you need that, please use it, go out, get to the polls, and vote. And of course, stay safe in doing so.

Right here in the library on November 3rd, which is Tuesday, we will be running our command center for our blind voter hotline. We've been running this now for, gosh, many years, maybe a decade or better. On presidential election days. The hotline will be staffed on November 3rd starting at 7:00 a.m. Eastern time, and we'll have people here up until 8:00 p.m. Pacific time. So if you run into trouble at the polls, you have questions, you want to report an issue, you're looking for assistance about what to do if you're denied equal access, you can call 1-877-632-1940. That's 1-877-NFB-1940. Please spread the word, encourage people to call our voter hotline on Election Day. A number of our staff will be here throughout the day to answer questions to get you connected with resources.

Also, on voting again, I want to remind you that NFB.org/vote is where you can find our voter surveys. If you voted already, absentee, mail-in, you can fill out the survey. On Election Day, if you vote, please fill out the survey. We want to hear your experiences, good or bad. And if you missed any of this information, you can go to NFB.org/vote and it will be there.

I have some announcements from our blindness initiatives department. The first is that we're relaunching a new version of our NFB Teachers of Tomorrow program. This program is for those who are preparing for a career in teaching blind students or who might be in early -- an early career professional in education looking to enhance their understanding of blindness and teaching blind students. We're inviting all interested individuals to apply to this program, and we'll be disseminating information. Some of you may remember our Teachers of Tomorrow program from a number of years ago. We've revamped it, retooled it. It's going to be better than ever, and of course with the virtual environment, we'll be doing some new things, so we want to get ready to onboard our first cohort for training starting in January, and the interactions with the Teachers of Tomorrow cohort will happen throughout 2021. Sessions will address things like braille literacy, O and M, access technology, accessible STEM programming, all sorts of topics that you can imagine the Federation has unique and authentic expertise in, as well as topics that we discover that our cohort would like to participate in. And all of it will be centered on our experience as blind people in leveraging the community of the National Federation of the Blind.

You can get more information and apply for the program by going to NFB.org/program-services/education/teachers-tomorrow. You can also search for it at NFB.org. I'm sure we'll be highlighting it. If you have questions about this program, you can send an e-mail to education@nfb.org, or you can call our main number. 410-659-9314. And dial extension 2418. Also, we'll have a number of conferences coming up here in December. One is our NFB Smart Cities conference. This summit meeting will be a one-day online event that will take place on Thursday, December 10, 2020, using the Zoom platform. The goal of this is to bring policy makers and technology developers together to collect and share information about accessibility and technology in smart cities today. You hear a lot about this going on, and we want to be in the center of making sure that smart city technology and priorities include accessibility. For more information, you can go to NFB.org and go to the programs section. It's a really long URL, I'm not going to give it to you, but if you go to NFB.org and search for the Smart Cities summit. You can also e-mail karlbelanger@nfb.org or call our main number and dial extension 2234 for more information and for questions. Also, in December, we're going to be having the National Federation of the Blind Dare to be Remarkable 2020 Conference. This is Pathways toward Structured Discovery, and this is a three day national conference for education and rehabilitation professionals who work with blind and low-vision transition-age students or adults. This conference will take place on Tuesday, December 15 through Thursday, December 17, 2020. Again, using the Zoom platform. We are seeking presentation proposals right now for the conference, and of course, we'll be inviting everybody to participate who's interested in this. And you should get this information out to rehabilitation and education professionals in your affiliates for more information, including registration information as well as proposal information. We will disseminate this, I'm sure, on the listservs, but you can contact Dr. Edward Bell, director of development at Louisiana Tech. You can reach Dr. Bell at 318-257-4554 or e-mail him at ebell@latech.edu. Today being November 1st, our scholarship 2021 program has opened. It is the largest scholarship program for blind students in the country, and besides the financial support, it offers the mentoring and leadership of the National Federation of the Blind. Now is the day to start encouraging graduating high school seniors and college students to apply for our 2021 scholarships. You can find all of the information, the requirements, at NFB.org/scholarships, and I encourage all of our state affiliates to promote the scholarship program, and let's try to have a record year of scholarship applicants. You know, some people have deferred to the fall of 2021 because of COVID, so this is a good opportunity. Hopefully some more people are in a position to apply for our scholarships. Let's make it a banner year for our scholarship applicants. Also kicking off today is the registration for the Braille Readers are Leaders contest. This is a program where we partner with the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults in this braille reading contest for both children and adults. The reading period of the contest runs from December 1st to January 18, 2021, so December 1st this year to January 18th next year. About six weeks. It's a great opportunity for our chapters to encourage braille reading amongst adults and to work to reach out to blind children and their families and teachers. You can get more information about the Braille Readers are Leaders contest by visiting actionfund.org.

Really exciting news to start off November here. At the last presidential release, we announced that Freedom Scientific, a Vispero brand, had made a matching contribution to the National Federation of the Blind offering up $50,000 if we could raise $50,000. And we did in fact raise $50,000! Meaning that we brought in $100,000 to support the work of the National Federation of the Blind in the month of October, our meet the blind month activities. And I'm really proud that we got this done. I want to thank each and every one of you that helped make that happen. I especially want to thank our friends at Vispero and its CEO, Tom Tiernan, for making this tremendous commitment, this gift to us, it comes at a critical time when we've been protecting the rights of blind voters and working to keep people connected during this pandemic. It's going to help us close out the year strong, and we really appreciate it. Great work, Federationists. I'm sure we'll have a lot more fundraising to do this year. This was a great start to the season of giving.

Speaking of giving, we do have some new chapters contributing to the preauthorized contribution program. I want to acknowledge from the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico, our senior action group, Energy Sage, our seniors division there. And from the NFB of Ohio, the Cincinnati chapter and the Greater Akron chapter. Also want to thank the NFB of Utah. All of these Federation entities, for being new contributors to the PAC program. You can visit NFB.org/pac to get more information. I know there's been a ton of state conventions going on, and I know that PAC has been a hot topic at all of them. I've had the chance to tune in, and it's really great to hear the excitement around our PAC program. I think we're going to end this year stronger than any other year in terms of the PAC program. So, again, thank you to all of our contributors.

I do have just a couple of pieces of Federation news. Actually, sticking with the theme of good news, it's all good news at the moment! Susan Bradley, president of the NFB of Idaho Treasure Valley chapter announces the arrival of the newest chapter member, Hayden River Ware was born to Bailey and Dylan Ware on Friday, October 9, 2020. Weighing in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces -- excuse me, 6.2 pounds, and 18 and a half inches long. I'm told that the family is doing very well. Our Houston chapter reports that Cynthia Fobbs and Ola Akinrodoye gave birth to Damilola Rose Margaret. I don't have any of the details about when Damilola joined the family, but I want to welcome both Hayden and Damilola as the newest members of the National Federation of the Blind.

That's the news that I have at the moment. Pam, I'm going to send it back to you, and I'm looking forward to answering questions!

Pam, are you out there? We can't hear you, Pam!

PAM ALLEN: Hi, can you hear me?

MARK RICCOBONO: There she is, there she is.

PAM ALLEN: Hello, sorry about that. It's always so great to hear the news from our Federation family, and also all the work that we're doing. So I've got a quick update on our poll. First of all, our top vote-getter for Halloween candy: Reese's cups. No surprise there!

MARK RICCOBONO: I know, it seems a little fishy you that were giving out Reese's cups.

(Laughter.)

It's a good choice! I had some yesterday myself

PAM ALLEN: Yeah, you can't go wrong! That's followed closely, with 22%, "anything chocolate".

We have Snickers was next.

MARK RICCOBONO: Hurray!

PAM ALLEN: That was 14%, and we're followed by "not listed", and star burst or Skittles, 8%, and 6% said no candy for me.

MARK RICCOBONO: Wow.

PAM ALLEN: I know, tough crowd! And our favorite memory in the last decade, this is a hard one to pick, so many great memories. So our top vote getter was the umbrella mosaic, 31%. Our next vote-getter was passing of the Marrakesh Treaty, with 24%. All these are such good memories.

We have a moment that wasn't listed was 15%. I know it's hard to pick, so many. Our blind driver challenge, I know President Riccobono, you remember that well. Blind driver challenge got 16%. Dan Parker driving into the convention on his motorcycle had 3%. And our new brand, which we all love and share, came in with 7%, and our fit breaks at convention, 5%. So we had a lot of great memories as we're preparing to celebrate our 80th anniversary.

MARK RICCOBONO: That's 5% for the fit breaks, those are all the people that didn't want to vote for candy.

PAM ALLEN: Exactly, you took the words out of my mouth!

(Laughter.)

So a quick reminder going into questions. Remember, for tonight, everybody is muted. So I want to thank everybody for sending in the great questions via e-mail prior to this release, and also the ones that have been submitted thus far on social media or through our Q&A section tonight. We appreciate that very much. You can also continue to send questions to cdanielsen@nfb.org. And we're, again, very grateful to everyone for the questions this evening.

So, President Riccobono, I will start out with the questions. We'll try to get to as many as we can tonight. If we don't get to your question, we will definitely follow up, our amazing communications team will follow up. Thanks again to everybody.

Our first question, we had just finished up meet the blind month in October, and we had our white cane awareness day where we celebrated the freedom and the independence through our white canes and our guide dogs and all that that stands for.

We have a question about the white cane that comes to us from Maggie Stringer, who is a member of our Capital chapter in the Ohio affiliate. Maggie is wondering why our canes are white. How did that color get decided, and why is it white as opposed to a more reflective color, like orange?

MARK RICCOBONO: That's a good question. I'm actually not sure I know exactly why white was chosen for the white cane laws. I think it goes back quite a ways, that people have been using white canes, and I guess maybe the colors were less imaginative? I don't know!

(Laughter.)

I think that white was seen as being fairly reflective at the time. Of course, the Federation tried to say that it's okay for the cane to be all white, since there was some effort for canes to be white and red. More of the medical approach. And maybe that's really where the white comes from. I know that in some places, they have used -- other countries, they've tried to use different colored canes as a way to increase adoption and get people to view the cane as something that's not stigmatized. And of course, here in the U.S., many Federationists have decorated their canes in all sorts of cool ways. I'm sure some people did for Halloween, and our BELL academies, we've encouraged kids to decorate their canes. So I don't know if there's a particular reason that white was chosen, but I'm in favor of continuing to decorate the canes and add some style to our stylish long white canes!

PAM ALLEN: Awesome. I know we had a lot of great virtual white cane events and some outdoor events to celebrate white cane awareness as part of our Meet the Blind month. Thanks, Maggie, for that question. Our next one comes from Mark Tatter in Nevada. Mark is wondering if we have access to any more Louis Braille coins, if we can still purchase those and if that would be possible.

MARK RICCOBONO: Yes, we have hundreds of them!

(Laughter.)

I don't know the exact price that we're selling them at. But we do have them. I think we may still have -- we may only have one of the types of coin. But we definitely have Louis Braille coins. We bought a pretty good stock of them back in 2009 before they stopped selling them, the U.S. mint. So you can call our Independence Market. We have Louis Braille coins.

PAM ALLEN: Awesome. Speaking of the Independence Market, everyone is anxious to find out when the NFB masks are shipping. We talked about that on the last presidential release. Any updates on when they'll actually be shipped?

MARK RICCOBONO: Well, if you ordered them, I have mine here, the NFB mask from the market. If you ordered -- pre-ordered masks, and you were contacted, and paid for them, they're in the mail to you. And, of course, if you watch the news, you know about the mail.

(Laughter.)

So we can't really be fully responsible for that! It's possible -- well, first of all, if there was an error in taking your information, and if during the preorder phase... if you haven't heard from someone from our Independence Market about your order so that we could take your payment information, you should definitely call in tomorrow and check on that. I believe we still have some masks left. And, you know, if there's sufficient demand for more, we'll go ahead and get some more. But all the orders should be out to everybody. We believe all the orders that were made and processed are out in the mail. You can always call and check on your order, but it should be on the way, and who knows? With what's happening with the mail, it will probably show up at some odd hour on some unusual day. But it is in the mail. Feel free to call and check on it.

PAM ALLEN: And speaking of shopping, I think people are getting in the holiday spirit early. Questions about if it's possible to purchase gift certificates for the Independence Market.

MARK RICCOBONO: Well, that's a good question. Um... you know, yes, I think it's possible! I don't think we have a specific mechanism to do it. And if we do, I'm not sure what it is! But, yes, we'd love for you to purchase a gift certificate. So I'll raise this with the team tomorrow to make sure we can get an answer and circulate it to you. I'm sure we can do it if you're interested. So call up the Independence Market, and I'm hoping that in 2021, we'll have our e-commerce system back up and you'll be able to get all of our great products. I'm sorry that that's not going to be available for the Christmas shopping season this year!

PAM ALLEN: Okay. Well, shoppers find ways, no matter what. So no worries there!

(Laughter.)

So our next question is from Alice Eaddy, and it relates to closed captioning for the presidential release, and a question about promotion of closed captioning for the presidential release and other Federation events. What is our position and how do we get that out?

MARK RICCOBONO: So, all of the national events that we're hosting have captioning available. I know in the presidential release e-mails, it's there. It's on the webpage also that tells you how to get at it. Now, of course, state affiliates are responsible for the activities and access in the state affiliates, but all of our national events, you can rest assured will have captioning. Of course, Alice is president of our Deafblind Division, and we love to work with our divisions to get guidance on if there's a better way for us to make clear how that access happens. And as long as we're on the topic, you know, a big thumbs up to our Deafblind Division for helping us to try out some different approaches to captioning on Zoom so we can see which one really is most effective. There's a number of different approaches to live captioning that we have tried, and so we continue to try out with the guidance of our division, new technologies to see what works best.

So I guess Alice, if you have suggestions about ways that we can better promote that it's there, we would love to do that. But you can be assured, if we're having a national event on Zoom, sponsored by our national organization, it's going to be there.

PAM ALLEN: Excellent. And we'll be really glad to have everybody's feedback tonight on the 1CapApp that we're using tonight.

All right. Our next question is from Al Illia, and Al is asking about the state convention policy. He notes that it's been announced that our tenBroek Law Symposium will be virtual this year in late March, and have we made a decision yet concerning state convention policies?

MARK RICCOBONO: We have not. Since June, the national board has basically said that we have a preference for virtual events, but that as circumstances allow, affiliates may look at hybrid events and having some degree of in-person. I don't think -- I mean, I know there are some places where some chapters have done some limited events, but mostly folks have continued to do virtual events. We continue to give guidance to the affiliates, but really, we believe that what's happening on the ground at a particular place is best managed by the affiliate and the local circumstances. We do continue to urge chapters and affiliates to find ways to incorporate the virtual component into our chapter meetings and affiliate events going forward. I think that's going to challenge us to figure some new things out. But so far, we have not taken a position of requiring all state conventions, for example, to be virtual. Now, I think almost all -- there may be one or two exceptions -- almost all of our state affiliates this fall have been virtual, and I expect many, especially in the early part of the spring, will be virtual as well.

PAM ALLEN: Okay, so, along those lines, Eric Damorie from Vispero, again, we so appreciate Vispero's generosity, is asking about our national convention and says, how much he's looking forward to visiting the great city of New Orleans in July, and just wondering what's happening as far as our plans for our national convention.

MARK RICCOBONO: Ah, you know, people want to move into the future as fast as possible!

(Laughter.)

We want to be in New Orleans, right?

PAM ALLEN: That's right! We want you here!

MARK RICCOBONO: We're -- well, first of all, the national board has not discussed this. But just as we did this year, we don't think there's urgency in deciding today. We're going to have a convention. And we're going to have a convention that will either be in New Orleans with some sort of virtual component, or we're going to have a virtual convention. And we know we can do a virtual convention. We know we can have an in-person convention. We haven't exactly designed how we're going to do a hybrid convention, but we're thinking about it. The national board will meet later this fall, as we always do, and I'm sure it will be a topic of conversation. What I'll say is we don't feel there's a sense of urgency to make that decision today. We could just decide. But we'd like to look at all the factors and take all the information into account. We're sure we're going to have a convention. We're going to make it as big and as bold as we can. That's what we did this year on fairly short notice. I can say with some confidence that I think we will have a decision on this topic by March 1st when we traditionally open our registration process for the convention. At least that's the target that I have in mind. And we're going to find out later this fall when the board talks about it more. We're continuing to look at the great success we had with our virtual convention, and working through what does that really mean for our conventions in the future? But I'm hoping that at least on a limited basis, we can be in New Orleans and be in the same space, which would be great.

PAM ALLEN: We're sure hoping that too. I know we're all very excited to welcome everybody.

So, President Riccobono, that is -- those, I think, it's another question that's come up. We talked last month about Halloween and the Riccobono family, and what was the decision for the costumes?

MARK RICCOBONO: Ha ha! Okay

PAM ALLEN: Everyone is wanting to know!

MARK RICCOBONO: There you go. So, our youngest daughter Elizabeth, she is a Gilligan's Island fan.

PAM ALLEN: Great show.

MARK RICCOBONO: Well, she gets it from her mom, I wanted to disclose that.

PAM ALLEN: I think that's a fine thing!

MARK RICCOBONO: She went as the Skipper, so she had her little Skipper's hat and shirt. Oriana was Captain Marvel, a great hero here.

PAM ALLEN: Love it.

MARK RICCOBONO: And my son Austin was the Comic Sans Skeleton. I didn't know you could just walk around being a font!

(Laughter.)

But he was the Comic Sans skeleton. That one was new to me. So, yeah. And I have a picture of my costume, which we're going to put up during the customary endings. But the description is that I went as a dragon. So my son says, a ridiculous-looking dragon.

(Laughter.)

But, you know, he's almost 14.

PAM ALLEN: I was going to say, he's a teen, anything your parents do...

(Laughter.)

That's awesome. Well, I bet it was a lot of fun.

MARK RICCOBONO: Yes!

PAM ALLEN: That's excellent. Well, I appreciate again everyone's submitting questions, and again, if we didn't have a chance to get to your question this evening, we will definitely follow up. Thank you so much, President Riccobono. It's been great to be with you and our Federation family tonight. And I will turn it back over to you.

MARK RICCOBONO: Thanks, Pam. Before we wrap up, I want to note that I talked about November 16th, but November 12 is also coming up, and November 12, 1973, was the first -- it was the date that the first presidential release was recorded. And in December, in fact, December 1st, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, we will have the final presidential release of this year, which will be presidential release number 500. I think that's pretty cool, and we're going to spend some time on that release reflecting on the presidential release and communications within our organization. Just to give you a preview, I've invited Mr. Maurer and Mrs. Jernigan to be part of that release, and we'll think about what the presidential releases have been, maybe we'll spin up some old customary endings, and I could encourage you to think about bringing some questions to that presidential release that might have to do with the past, present, and future of our communications strategy. So I'm looking forward to that. And Pam, I'm looking forward to having you again to be part of our presidential release for December.

So I do want to say to close out, happy Federation anniversary, and happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Thanksgiving time is a special time for me. It's a great time to be with family and I'm always grateful around this time of year for the Federation family and the work that happens in the local communities that you're doing every day that makes us strong, dynamic, and it truly does make us a family. So thank you for what you're doing. I encourage you to stay safe. I do hope you have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving, and if you haven't gone out to vote, I encourage you to do so. Stay safe, but please exercise your right to vote and help us push as many blind people as possible into the American democracy.

I know the next weeks are going to be filled with some degree of uncertainty and that sort of thing, but we do have the foundation and the strength of the Federation to look forward to. We have a ton more state conventions. I know there's a bunch of them this weekend coming up. I'm looking forward to going to Minnesota to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our Minnesota affiliate. So many other great conventions happening. We're going to get, now, to our customary endings. But with all that, let's go build the National Federation of the Blind!

ELIZABETH: Hi, I'm Elizabeth, I'm going to tell you a joke. Why was the zombie curious? Cause it wanted to pick your brain!

(Laughter.)

Ha ha ha ha! What do you call a turkey in November?

Dinner!

(Laughter.)

ORIANA: How did the cat celebrate October?

MELISSA RICCOBONO: I don't know how?

ORIANA: With pumpkin mice latte!

I have another joke for you. Why don't skeletons get angry?

MELISSA RICCOBONO: Why?

ORIANA: Because nothing gets under their skin!

The preceding message was because to you by President Mark Riccobono, 410-659-9314 and NFB.org. Let's go build the National Federation of the Blind.

(End of presidential release.)