Here is what you need to know:
Dear reader, March is women’s history month. In Mark Riccobono’s, national banquet address of 2018, he reflected on the history of and contributions by women in the organized blind movement. He said, “Women have faced social, economic, and political barriers that have created inequality compared to men, and their stories have been under recorded in history. Blind women, faced with the twin low expectations of being female and having the most feared disability, blindness, have been limited in opportunities to pursue their dreams. The lack of adequate training for blind people before the organized blind movement contributed to blind women being considered inadequate for even stereotypical roles in society. The full participation of blind women has been further complicated by efforts like the eugenics movement that reached its height in the early part of the twentieth century. Proponents of eugenics believed in selective breeding, which led to a movement to pass state laws requiring forced sterilization of the poor and disabled. These forced sterilization programs largely impacted women with disabilities and contributed to misconceptions about the capacity of the blind to be effective parents—a painful history we are still trying to overcome.”https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/convent/banquet-speech-2018-2.html
The history of blind women in the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado has been a rich one. Years of leadership and the founding of the Colorado Center for the Blind, Diane McGeorge, one of the leaders in our movement and was the executive director of the Colorado Center for the Blind. Julie Hunter, a sighted woman, who is blind at heart, worked with Diane to establish our CCB, is still with us today, as is Duncan Larsen, who has spent many years working with blind seniors. Our affiliate has been so fortunate to have hardworking, thoughtful, kind women organizing, contributing, and leading, since the beginning of our affiliate in 1954. Our current President, Jessica Beecham and Vice President Maureen Nietfeld continue to set a high bar of achievement and inclusion. We are incredibly lucky. I urge you to read President Riccobono’s address linked above.
As we honor the women of the movement and bring you up to date through this blog, we also share with you great loss.
As the great author Charles Dickins might say, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” The National Federation of the Blind of Colorado has continued our quest for equality of opportunity for all blind and low-vision people. Our robust and innovative programs at the Colorado Center for the Blind, chapters, and divisions continue to provide services, mentorship, and an unbounded philosophy of love and acceptance. We have done all of this despite the loss of people of our movement who have meant and will continue to mean so very much to our federation family and beyond.
As I write this. We have just received news of the death of longtime NFB of Colorado leader Jon Deden. For approximately 40 years, Jon brought his love, enthusiasm, and expertise to our movement. Before his illness, he was, “one of the boys.” His love of football, the Broncos, the Avalanche, and the Rockies, was shared by his buddies. Jon was a successful stockbroker who retired from the Colorado Securities and Regulatory Agency in 2016. Jon understood right and wrong, and he was a fierce advocate for justice. For many years Jonny was the chair of our convention door prize operation and loved giving things away to our members. Reading posts on Colorado Talk about Jon reminded me of how many of our blind youth were inspired by him. He loved to tease and challenge our teens. Many of them have expressed their love and appreciation for Jon. He is survived by his amazing wife, Michelle Chacon who is a leader in her own right. He is also survived by his sister Julie Deden. Of course, our readers know Julie as the dynamic executive director of the Colorado Center for the Blind.
In recent weeks we also learned of the passing of Traci Jones. Dr. Jones was a deeply caring member of our affiliate. She was a guide dog user and a person of great conviction. I will always remember her virtual advocacy in recent years during our Washington Seminar calls with members of Congress. Traci was a hero of great spirit. She fought illness all of her life. In recent times she had become very active in the movement, bringing her indomitable spirit and quest for knowledge to our work. When health allowed, she attended our Northern Colorado Chapter. Traci was a very special person who will be missed by many, including your aggregator.
Note: in our next Blind Coloradan, we will post a beautiful tribute to Traci from her friend and the President of our Mountains and Planes Chapter, ReNae Anderson.
You know that on December 10, we lost Scott LaBarre. There have been many tributes paid to Scott. Undoubtedly there will be many more on these pages and elsewhere. We want to thank those of you that were able to attend Scott’s celebration of life on January 21st. Scott was truly my brother and my dear friend. His family, Anahit, Alex, and Karter are our family. This month’s Braille Monitor features many tributes to Scott and highlights his celebration of life. I recommend it to you. https://nfb.org/resources/publications-and-media/braille-monitor
Through the celebration of Scott’s contributions to his family, his federation, and the law, you will hear a personification of the philosophy and love of the National Federation of the Blind.
Note: We would like to thank the United States Senator Michael Bennett for his remarks about Scott placed in the congressional record. We also deeply appreciate the proclamation from the governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, declaring January 21st, 2023, to be Scott LaBarre day in the state of Colorado. Again, we warmly recommend that you read the March Braille Monitor. You may also wish to watch the January 21st event available on YouTube.
Let’s go to the Zoo! A FAST Activity
By Chaz Davis
“Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it. I do believe it’s true” (Paul Simon)
From the aggregator: Chaz Davis is the director of youth programs at our Colorado Center for the Blind. He continues our tradition of breaking down barriers and creating fun, educational, joy-filled, and interactive experiences for blind children and their families. We encourage you to become involved in our Fun Activities & Skills Training, FAST!
Until very recently, I have done everything I can to avoid trips to the zoo. When I was a child, I would go with my peers on field trips to the zoo. I would go, reluctantly, on family outings to the zoo. I abhorred it. It was walking and walking through the crowds. I did not have good cane skills. I would be forced to walk with a sighted guide everywhere. “Nothing to see here!” The smells and sounds of the animals, the oohs and ahhs of the children, left me bored. I think many blind children have experienced this isolation. Last spring, Papa Worley took the family, including 5-year-old grandbaby Finley to the zoo. It was a new and renewing experience. The joy of Finley and her playmates was especially profound. I found myself petting a giraffe. I had never petted a giraffe. The big old long, neck giraffe bent down and licked me in the eye. Grandbaby Finley squealed, “Papa Worley, it yicked you in the eye.”
Here is what Chaz Davis has to say about FAST at the zoo.
Ever wondered what it would be like to experience wildlife from different continents? Who says that you have to be in a coastal-tropical climate to interact up close with a sting ray?
That’s right, a stingray! Join the Colorado Center for the Blind for our March FAST trip to the Denver Zoo where you’ll have an immersive field trip visiting animals from climates near and far! Who knows, maybe you’ll get to touch some animals too! We are delighted to be working with the Denver Zoo to present this zoo experience designed for blind and visually impaired youth. Among other activities, our visit will include the Zoo’s newest exhibit, Stingray Cove, where we’ll be able to feed the rays! Come see how the Denver Zoo can be enjoyed non-visually!
Of course, the whole family is encouraged to take part in this fun, educational visit to the zoo as well!
When: Saturday, March 25 from 10:00 AM to Noon
Where: Denver Zoo (2300 Steele St. Denver, CO 80205)
**Transportation from the Colorado Center for the Blind (2233 W Shepperd Ave. will be available and departing from the center at 9:00 AM. Please indicate if you will need transportation for that day during the registration process. Of course, families can meet us at the zoo before 10 AM, as well.
Register by March 24 for a Trip to the Zoo!
For more information contact Chaz Davis at 303-778-1130, ext. 212, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Message from the CCB Alumni Association
Dear CCB Alumni,
(We sent this out last week and are resending to an expanded alumni list. And we encourage you to share with other CCB alums that you may know of.)
We are launching an alumni association, and we invite you to join us! It's our privilege to invite you to the CCB Alumni launch party being organized on Saturday April 1st on zoom at 10 am MDT. We are hoping that alumni from all four decades will join us for this special kickoff event.
You can find us on April 1st at the following Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89959983674?pwd=NmNhdnk4U1BxdytmYndiOGRjcWdNZz09
Since many of you have been away from CCB for many years, it will be wonderful to see old friends after such a long time and foster new connections as well. It's a great opportunity to get to know our new alumni community, to relish & refresh your memories, and share what’s happened since your graduation.
To apprise you in brief, the event will begin with check-ins and introductions at 10 AM MDT and will be two hours long. After 12 PM, MDT the facilitated part of the event will end and the room will be left open for socializing and connecting with old friends or making new ones. Talk openly in the lobby or request to be put into a private room.
If you are interested in joining the alumni association and/or being a part of the organizing committee, we would love to hear from you, please fill out the CCB Graduate Survey at this survey link and we will be in contact. If you do not want to be a part of the alumni association, we still invite you to fill out the survey as your feedback is still important to us and there will be a place to indicate your preference on the survey. If you wish to opt out of receiving emails or calls from the alumni association, please respond to this email with your name and write, “Please do not contact me again”.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
We look forward to new adventures and opportunities to connect with our alumni community. Hope to see you at the Launch party!
Thanks & Regards,
Your Organizing Committee:
Jim Barbour (1988 Graduate)
Kevan Worley (1992 Graduate)
Maureen Nietfeld (2009 Graduate)
Peter Slatin (2016 Graduate)
Jamila Lane (2022 Graduate)
Laura Millar (2022 Graduate)
Dan Burke, Public Relations Specialist, and
Julie Deden Executive Director
Chili today, hot tamale
From the aggregator: I had the pleasure of cooking up a pot of chili to represent the Olympic City Chapter in the great Chilipalooza. Here is what Cody Bair, President Mile High City Chapter says about this tasty event.
On Saturday February 25, 2022, the Mile High Chapter held its first annual Chilipalooza at the Broadway Shot Spot in Englewood. The event was a smashing success and raised in excess of $1,700 for the Mile High Chapter. The main highlight of the event was the ten chilis that were entered the contest for people to taste and vote on which chilis they liked the best.
The placing chilis were as follows: 1st Place: Sol Betancur, 2nd Place: Ileen Gallegos, and 3rd Place: Dishon Spears.
Also, we would like to extend a huge thank you to are other cooks who are as follows: Jo Elizabeth Pinto, Kevan Worley, Pipi Adams, Nate Hecker, Alex Fowler, Stephanie Baldwin and Lisa Bonderson.
If the chili wasn’t exciting enough for everyone, we also had a live auction in which we auctioned off ten items. A couple of the items included a Blackhawk Trip and day at a shooting range. In addition, everyone got their fill of Jell-O Shots as the bar donated 50% of the proceeds to the Mile High Chapter on the sale of Jell-O Shots.
In conclusion, thanks to everyone who cooked, tasted, bought auction items and Jell-O shots and for making our first Chilipalooza a huge success. Also, we couldn’t have done the event without the help of Josh and Angel at Broadway Shot Spot for providing the location and for their outstanding hospitality. We look forward to our 2nd annual Chilipalooza the last weekend in February of 2024.
NFBCO 2023 Day at the Capitol
From the aggregator: Again, this year, the blind of Colorado took our case for equality of opportunity to the general assembly. This year more than 60 members and friends met with legislators or their legislative aids. Many of our students and staff from the Colorado Center for the Blind were on hand to educate and advocate for access, education, and jobs.
There was also a celebratory note. Senator Jesse Danielson presided over a Celebration of Life in honor of Scott LaBarre during the morning secession on Monday, February 13th. I heard a remark that Scott’s spirit and intention called us all to
action and unity.
This session’s legislative agenda will empower thousands of blind and low-vision Coloradans. We will continue to work throughout the session to make these proposals a reality. If you have contacts in the general assembly, please work closely with your chapter president or our state legislative chair Dan Burke. Below, find our 2023 legislative agenda.
2023 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
1. NFBCO calls upon the Colorado General Assembly to adopt legislation which would require pharmacies in Colorado to provide accessible prescription labels for blind and/or print-disabled users, thereby enabling them to accurately and independently identify the medications they use.
2. We ask the Colorado General Assembly to pass the legislation embodied in HB23-1032 which seeks to correct Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) by Restoring the legislature’s original intent that administrative exhaustion should not be required before a person with a disability may file a disability discrimination lawsuit.
3. Provide $500,000 in state funding for Colorado’s Business Enterprise Program so that the program can recover from the disastrous effects of the pandemic and expand opportunities for blind entrepreneurs.
4. We urge this Assembly to at least maintain funding for NFB-NEWSLINE® which gives blind and print-disabled Coloradans timely and independent access to newspapers and other periodicals.
For further information contact:
Jessica Beecham, President, National Federation of the Blind of Colorado
Phone: 615-497-0435 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can We Change the World
by Jo Elizabeth Pinto
From the aggregator: Readers of this blog are probably familiar with author Jo Elizabeth Pinto. She is a frequent contributor. We have also enjoyed her poetry at NFBCO state convention banquets. Here is what she offers up for this Blind Coloradan.
Sometimes I get frustrated because the world isn’t changing fast enough. It angers and saddens me when prejudice and ignorance happen, especially in front of impressionable young people.
I need to get blood drawn regularly because of my autoimmune issues. During one of my visits to the local hospital, the woman who checked me into the lab was nearly young enough to be my daughter. During her long list of routine questions, she inquired about my insurance. I told her I have Medicare.
She saw the guide dog sitting placidly beside me and asked, "You're disabled, right?"
I affirmed that I'm blind.
She said, "So you don't work."
Irritated, I started to ask her what my disability had to do with not working. But before I got my mouth open, my teenage daughter spoke up. "My mom edits books."
The woman turned to my kid and asked, "She edits books? But she does it for free, doesn't she?"
"Why would my mom work for free?" My daughter laughed in that condescending way only a teenager can. "No one does that."
"Oh ... um ... she's disabled, and she works for money?" the woman stammered.
"Sure she does. Lots of disabled people work for money," my daughter replied as if the woman had just sprouted an extra head.
"I'm self-employed," I broke in. "I draw Social Security Disability and freelance as a braille proofreader. Let's move on with the relevant questions, please."
This is the New Millennium, people. Our kids understand equality as naturally as breathing when they grow up with it, but we're still explaining the basics to professionals.
Thirty years ago, I thought we could change the world in
sweeping waves. These days,
I'm older and wiser, and I’ve learned that change comes one hard-won inch at a time. When I speak up for myself at the hospital, or when my daughter laughs because an uninformed lab tech suggests I must work for free because I’m blind, that’s an inch. When members of the NFB gather at the Capitol to speak to their elected officials or demand textured pavers on the Sixteenth Street Mall, that’s an inch.
The answer is yes. We can change the world, inch by precious inch!
Aira Services Launched for the State of Colorado
We received the following from Karen Pellegrin, Senior Manager, Technology Accessibility Program, state of Colorado. Aira is a service well-known by most blind people. Some find it extremely useful, and some find it of little or no value in their lives. This announcement from the state of Colorado has certainly been grist for discussion on Colorado Talk and at chapter meetings. Full disclosure your aggregator served as a consultant for the company from 2017 until late 2019, and I use the service extensively. Here is what we received.
Every Coloradan deserves equal access to essential state services.
Which is why the State of Colorado is excited to now offer a new service for blind and low-vision Coloradans through a partnership with Aira, an app that provides live, on-demand visual interpreting through human-to-human assistance. Coloradans will get free access for up to 30 minutes per session while navigating state locations and digital services, reducing barriers to services, and creating a more welcoming Colorado for all.
Please use our Aira Media Kit to help get the word out to your community and organization. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q4FCtCj4-3DEvDFtk5XhHTKXyoJQUN-EFfKaPfIOD3Q/edit
To learn more about Aira, including frequently asked questions about the service, visit our OIT Aira webpage. https://oit.colorado.gov/accessibility/aira
For additional questions, please feel free to reach out at OIT_Accessibility@state.co.us.
Greeley Chapter on the Go!
Thanks to chapter president JJ Aragon for the following chapter update. If you know folks in the Greeley area, let them know about opportunities for service and camaraderie in our Greeley group. Here is what JJ says:
We've got some exciting things coming up in the next three months. In March, we will be celebrating 23 years as a chapter, holding elections, and beginning planning for our 2023 Vision Fair. On April 15th, we are going to have an iPhone/Android seminar. And for May we *might* be doing a spring picnic together with the NoCo Chapter. The May plans are still in the works, but we are beginning to work with NoCo and are very excited.
The Stars Come Out to Meet Aftersight Podcast Host Penn Street
NoCo NFB Chapter member Penn Street is the host of the Podcast, Aftersight, which is sponsored by Audio Information Network of Colorado. Penn interviews people who are blind and visually impaired from around the world.
Some of her guests are Sven, a master gamer from the Netherlands, Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to summit Mt. Everest; Lex Gillette, a multi-medal winner in the Paralympics; Diane Schuur, a multi-Grammy Winner; and so many more. Penn strives to create a space for people who are blind and visually impaired to share their stories, celebrations, skills, and struggles.
If you would like to be a guest on Aftersight, contact Penn’s Podcast Producer, Jonathan Price, at email@example.com. You can listen, follow, and rate Aftersight every week anywhere you listen to your favorite podcast. Apple, Google, Spotify, or your smart speaker. Ask your Alexa or Google Nest to play Aftersight Podcast. To contact Penn, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find Penn at https://aincolorado.org/audio-publications/aftersight/
Colorado Senator Michael Bennett Pays Tribute to Scott LaBarre in the Congressional Record
From the aggregator: Scott’s loss has been felt by many here in Colorado, but also around the world. Many of us take some comfort in the accolades and tributes paid to our dear friend and longtime leader. We thought you would enjoy reading remarks from senator Bennett in the congressional record.
Mr. Bennet. Mr. President, I rise to honor the life and career of my dear friend Scott LaBarre on the sad occasion of his death after a battle with cancer. Scott passed away surrounded by his family on Saturday, December 10, 2022. From his days as a college student until a few months before his death, Scott, who went blind as a youth, fought tirelessly for the rights of blind people and other people with disabilities. Born and raised in Minnesota, Scott attended the Colorado Center for the Blind, a world-renowned rehabilitation training program for blind people, and ultimately established his law practice and his family in the Denver area. His legal work focused in the areas of employment law, disability rights, and international copyright policy. He held several leadership positions within the American Bar Association and the National Federation of the Blind--NFB--most recently as NFB's general counsel. He served as chair of the board of the Colorado Center for the Blind, led the National Association of Blind Lawyers, and helped establish and guide the Jacobus tenBroek Law Symposium, the premier conference for practitioners and students of disability law. His impact will continue to ripple across the world because of his leadership in securing the Marrakesh Treaty, an international agreement permitting the cross-border sharing of books in Braille and other accessible formats, which was ratified by this body. Scott conducted all of his work with confidence, humor, and a joyful spirit. Going forward, I will miss his presence in the halls of the Senate when the National Federation of the Blind visits Washington each year, as well as my many other interactions with him. I am sure that many of you also encountered Scott, and I know you will join me in lifting up his wife Anahit and their children, Alex and Karter, as they cope with this devastating loss.
I take comfort in the knowledge that Scott leaves a legacy encompassing not only his many accomplishments, but his impact on the hundreds of blind people whom he personally mentored and the millions who will benefit from his efforts for generations to come.
National Convention in Houston
Reminders: don’t forget to reserve your hotel room for the National Convention, don’t forget to register for the National Convention online by May 31. One way to get geared up for National Convention is to listen to the March Presidential release. There was at least one Coloradan in the audience on Wednesday, March 1st. Joanne Franklin, the Olympic City Chapter Vice President, was attending a leadership seminar. The question-and-answer portion of the March presidential release was particularly informative.
Click the following link to listen to Presidential Release number 525.
Mark your calendars for the great guide dog seminar Saturday, May 13th, from 9 am until 2 pm. To help or register for the seminar, email email@example.com.
Don’t forget that scholarship applications for national and state scholarships are available at nfbco.org and nfb.org. For further information, contact Cody Bair, scholarship chairperson firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s all she wrote. Forward always forward!