November 2011 Bulletin
2011 State Convention
Once again, the National Federation of the Blind of California came together in convention assembled to consider current issues facing the blind in our state. We passed resolutions which call upon the Department of General Services to work with the Department of Rehabilitation to make decisions which will enhance employment opportunities for blind clients and employees. In addition, we brought attention to the Department of Education and asked them to adhere to the agreement with the Department of Justice to ensure that textbooks and materials for all students in California be accessible to the blind. Also, the California State Librarian is being asked to discontinue distributing equipment such as the Nook which is not accessible to us.
The big issue this year is our re-authorization of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. We call upon every entity that currently possesses a Special Wage Certificate from the US Department of Labor, to immediately surrender their Special Wage Certificate and to adopt a business model to values each of their employees with disabilities by paying them the Federal minimum wage or higher. We invite Congress to pass the Fair Wages for workers with disabilities Act of 2011, HR 3086.
Along with all of the hard work we managed to get in a little fun time with the “Made Up Theatre” improv comedy group.
On Saturday, October 15, we celebrated White Cane Day with a public education “Walk for Independence” outside the hotel. We walked for about a mile carrying signs and chanting. Our signs brought attention to the value of the white cane or guide dog to achieve independence. Occasionally, there were signs asking for support of the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2011.
Joe Ruffalo was our national representative and did he stir up the crowd at the banquet. He and Mistress of Ceremonies, Ever Lee Hairston conducted an auction during the banquet. Chapters donated baskets of goodies which had a theme. The students brought a basket with everything you need to pull an “All-nighter” basket. They had things like coffee and a thumb drive, slate and stylus and ear buds to listen to your e-books. Fun was had by all.
Bid for Excellence, national on line auction:
It is open for bidding starting today. Visit www.nfb.org/bid to see the items which are up for bid. 100 percent of the winning bids will support the work of the NFB. The Bid for Excellence runs through December 5, 2011. Individual auctions will begin throughout the five weeks. New items will be added so check back often.
NFB Scholarships are now available:
The NFB Scholarship Program for 2012 will begin on-line the first week of November. If you know a blind high school senior or college student who will be attending college in the fall of 2012, they can go to firstname.lastname@example.org and fill in an application.
Braille Readers are Leaders Contest:
Starting November 1, 2011 and ending on January 4, 2012 students can compete for ribbons, cash prizes and an all expenses paid trip to the 2012 national convention in Dallas, Texas. Teams of two to five participants are welcome to compete in both the K-12 and adult contests. Register at www.nfb.org/BRAL . The adults will also compete for cash prizes, national recognition and bragging rights.
To All Kaiser Permanente Patients Who are Blind:
The Disability Rights Advocates would like to talk to any blind patients who have experienced barriers in Kaiser programs, services, and facilities. If you have been unable to access Kaiser’s website or to get important information in alternative formats, such as medical forms, prescriptions and educational materials please e-mail Kaiser@gdblegal.com. Or call 866-723-1494.
Guiding Lights Chapter Celebration:
On December 10, 2011, the Guiding Lights Chapter will celebrate twenty years of service to the Los Angeles area. Come join them at the Truxton’s restaurant at 8614 Truxton Avenue, Los Angeles from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
California Association of Blind Students Bowl-A-Thon:
Hoorah! The Bowl-A-Thon has been changed to any and all northern California bowling alleys. Visit your favorite lanes and raise funds to support the students. The southern California location is still AMF Beverly Lanes located at 1201 Beverly Boulevard, Montebello, California, 90640. Bowling will begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at 1:00 p.m. Sponsor forms can be found at http://www.facebook.com or better yet call CABS President Angela Fowler at (530) 902-0987.
San Francisco Chapter Holiday Party and Fundraiser:
San Francisco Chapter President Eric Holm would like to extend an invitation to share camaraderie, great food, fine wines, live music and an auction to be held at one the most picturesque venues in San Francisco. . The event will be held on December 17, 2011 at the Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, San Francisco. Festivities will begin at 12:00 p.m. and end at 2:00 p.m. Watch the nfbc-info list for more information or go to our website at www.sixdots.org.
Roselle wins the American Dog Hero of the Year Award:Michael Hingson and Roselle will be on the PBS stations on Friday, November 4, 2011. Consult your local listing to watch the dog who assisted Michael escape the 78th floor of World Trade Center 1 on September 11, 2001.
Before I end this months Bulletin, I would like to thank all of the people who helped make the 2011 convention a success. If you would like to contact one of our board members, their contact information is as follows:
First Vice-President, Robert Stigile, email@example.com
Second Vice-President, Ever Lee Hairston, firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary, Shannon Dillon, email@example.com
Treasurer, Melissa Haney, firstname.lastname@example.org”>
Kia Vaca, email@example.com
Jana Littrell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Holloway, email@example.com
Karen Steele, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Hingson, email@example.com
Tiffany Manosh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rochelle Houston, email@example.com
Mary Willows, President
39481 Gallaudet Drive Apt. 127
Fremont, CA 94538