NFB National Convention Reflections, Part 1
The year 2010 and the National Convention was awesome! The California Affiliate honored me with a scholarship to attend the National Convention in Dallas, Texas this year and as a Rookie I can honestly say it was overwhelming, but many of you already knew this would happen. I was assisted by Angela Fowler, who was patient with me and who continues to answer all the questions I have about everything. I am truly thankful for her presence and patience. I am also thankful for the California Affiliate’s gatherings and encouragements.
There were many things to listen to and many more hands on displays of new technology as well as old. Much of it was truly amazing to me. I enjoyed all of it. The one thing that struck me as the most astonishing thing though was the people. There were so many blind, partially blind, sighted, or friends and family of the blind in attendance and everyone was cheerful. There were over 2400 people there. I discovered, that for me, the most impressive thing about this convention was that here, in this place, I was no different from anyone else. In this environment, I was normal. I didn’t have anyone telling me how odd I was or how different I was or even how strange it was that I was who I was. I was myself. One of many in a sea swelling with pride for the present and hope in for what the future would bring.
I was encouraged, supported, and included in whatever I wanted. My life has always revolved around reading. My parents encouraged me to use my sight to read and so it’s what I know. One of the biggest fears I’ve had is the thought that I would soon be unable to read regular written print. At National Convention I discovered that I need no longer be fearful of the loss of this skill. I met the author of the McDuffy Reader, who was patient and explained why I should start with basics to me. I am also truly thankful to a first grade girl who was reading at one of the booths and upon her recommendation; I bought my first Braille book. Reading now has a different feel for me and I have begun that process with encouragement and enthusiasm. Having been able to touch and explore such items as the new technology of note-takers I now know there are ways for me to be an active reader and participant without feeling left out or stupid. I have also discovered a passion for the use of Braille and will continue to explore and advocate for its continued use in the future.