Future Reflections Summer 1991

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Comments from Barbara Cheadle, President, Parents of Blind Children Division, NFB:Leadership ability reveals itself in many ways. If I were defining it, however, I think I would say it is the ability to see what needs to be done, then doing it.

At the 1990 annual business meeting of the NFB Parents Division, parent Dianne Millner of California volunteered to serve as chair of the Library Committee. As president, I gave Ms. Millner the same instructions I gave every committee chair: Become an expert on your subject; share your information with other parents through individual contact and through writing an article for Future Reflections; promote a positive philosophy about blindness; and find ways to improve services and opportunities for blind children through your committee activities.

This was in July. It didn't take long for Dianne Millner's leadership abilities to surface. As she gathered information she discovered that a White House Conference on Library and Information Services was scheduled July 9-13, 1991. Assuming that this would be an excellent opportunity to influence the direction of library services for blind youth, she proceeded to apply to attend the conference as a delegate. Her application was accepted, and now parents of blind youth have one more staunch advocate (Mr. Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind is also a delegate) at this influential national conference.

Dianne Millner is a excellent example of the parents who are taking on leadership roles in the National Federation of the Blind Parents of Blind Children Division. She is aggressive; sensitive; intelligent; committed to the philosophy and goals of the National Federation of the Blind; and dedicated to achieving equality and opportunity for her child and for all blind youth.

All these qualities shine through in the following statement and resume which Ms. Millner sent with her delegate application. Dianne not only deserves our congratulations and admiration, she needs our input and support. Ms. Millner has requested that parents who have ideas, problems, or suggestions for improvements in library services to blind youth to contact her: Dianne Millner, #32 Sequoyah View Court, Oakland, California 94605; day: (415) 836-3630, evening: (415) 568-1408


Both my three-year-old (Ashley) and two-year-old (Tori) love books. One daughter is sighted; the other is totally blind. Each night before bed I snuggle up to each one individually and read their favorite books in print and Braille. It has quickly became apparent to me that there is not as wide a variety of books for Ashley as there is for Tori. Additionally, because we are an African-American family, it is more difficult for me to find ethnically diverse or African-American oriented children's literature in Braille.

In part because of this concern, I recently was appointed by the president of the Parents of Blind Children Division (POBC) of the National Federation of the Blind (the largest consumer organization of blind individuals in the United States) to serve as chair of the Library Services Committee of the POBC. One of my functions is to compile information on resources of Braille books for blind children and to suggest ways to increase such resources.

I take my task seriously. Library services for the blind are likely the most important link to society for blind children and adults. Without such services, my daughter will not be able to compete successfully in school, college, or social settings.

I feel that I should be selected to attend the White House Conference because of my appointment as chair of the POBC Library Services Committee, because I am the concerned mother of a blind preschooler, and because I am an African-American who wishes to encourage the production of a wide variety of Braille books including ethnically diverse books.

In going over my POBC notes, I ran across an excerpt from a speech given by Frank Kurt Cylke, Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress, which he gave at the NFB National Convention in 1985. Mr. Cylke stated:

"Thanks in great part to the concern of Barbara Cheadle [President of the POBC] and to National Federation of the Blind members interested in children, we are placing an added emphasis on work with children...It may be stated that we must place a great effort on refining our program for children...." (Emphasis added).

Much remains to be done. I wish to be part of that effort.

Dianne M. Millner

Ms. Millner graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley and is a graduate of Stanford Law School. During law school, Ms. Millner served as a legal extern to California Supreme Court Justice Matthew Tobriner.

After graduation from law school, Ms. Millner practiced law with Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. There her practice emphasized real estate, business, and bankruptcy law. Ms. Millner also has served as a legal writing and research instructor at Hastings College of the Law.

In 1978, Ms. Millner received a summer fellowship from the National Endowment of the Humanities to study at Harvard Law School. Ms. Millner is listed in Who's Who In American Law, Who's Who Among Black Americans, and The World's Who's Who of Women. She is past chair of the Corporate and Business Liaison Committee of the William Hastie Lawyers Association of San Francisco.

Ms. Millner is a member of the American Bar Association Real Property Section, the California Community Redevelopment Agencies Association, the Urban Land Institute, the Real Property and Business Law Sections of the State Bar of California and the National Bar Association Commercial Law Section.

Ms. Millner's primary areas of practice are real estate, redevelopment agency law, real estate hazardous waste matters, bankruptcy and creditors' rights, and general corporate and commercial law.

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