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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Transforming Everyone's Dreams into Reality

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado logo including the words Live the Life you want

EVERYONE IS WELCOME: Embracing Diversity and Inclusion in the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado.

The other day, I read the banquet address delivered by President Mark Riccobono at the 2019 NFB National Convention in Las Vegas; Choice, Exploration, and Resistance: The Road to Freedom for the Blind. Early in his remarks he said, “… If we measure our freedom by comparing where we have been to where we are today, our current choices appear excellent. However, if our comparison uses where we want to be as our benchmark, our current choices are inadequate. If we believe equality is not yet ours, then we must make a conscious choice to continue our march to freedom. …” That is what he said, and I recommend this speech to you.

Preparing for the upcoming NFBCO state convention, I was doing a bit of research on the city of Fort Collins. I love history. I guess that is why I really enjoy our own Blind History Lady, Peggy Chong.
When researching Fort Collins, I saw that Hattie McDaniel lived in Fort Collins as a child prior to her family moving to Denver. Being a film buff, Hattie is someone I have always admired. She was the first African American actor to win an Academy Award. Her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Gone with the Wind was in 1939. One year later, 1940, the NFB was organized. In 1955, the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado was established. In 1989 our Colorado Center for the Blind was founded.

This weekend we will attend the 65th NFBCO State Convention. This is 80 years after Hattie McDaniel’s award-winning performance as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. Gone with the Wind is a movie loved by so many. It was a triumph in it’s time. It is also a movie that makes many uncomfortable due to its depiction of African Americans. If a movie had been made in 1939 about people who are blind, I am confident that the stereotypes portrayed would make us cringe. And yet, we know that’s the way it was. And frankly, for many people of color, disability, religious practice, gender or sexual orientation the struggle for true acceptance continues.

This weekend, we will gather to plan the work we must do on the road to real integration. I am inspired when our Federation family is able to model not just tolerance but authentic acceptance. I believe that all, ALL, are truly welcome in the NFB family. I also know that not all may feel like they are welcome. Seeking to understand and empathize with each and every human being is the approach we, people who are blind, wish from folks who are not. Striving for equality is more than resolutions and reports. It is more than a country dance on Thursday night. It is more than fundraising. It is more than legislation or registering outrage online, or demanding change on the picket line. It must begin and end in the heart. It is not always easy. All of us bring our own life experiences. It can sometimes seem as though every person on the bus, the radio talker, blogger, tweeter, Lyft driver, and coworker are caught up in a dangerous dance of judgement, anger, snarkiness, and outrage.

But think about this. We can lead the way through our actions. We can be models of true civil rights. I pledge to participate actively. To listen more closely. To seek to understand before trying to make others understand me. I must be more empathetic. It is more important that I find joy in others with different cultures and different backgrounds than I. We can take the time to treat others the way we as blind people wish to be treated. Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” My fondest hope is that we in the NFB will take up cane or dog harness and walk with graciousness, acceptance, and joy enough for all. In the NFB we often say that, “with love, hope, and determination we transform dreams into reality.” We mean the dreams for all blind people, whether or not they look like me or talk like me or have a creed or lifestyle like me.

One of the breakout seminars being held this weekend is EVERYONE IS WELCOME: Embracing Diversity and Inclusion in the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. I look forward to hearing the remarks of members Melissa Green, ReNae Anderson, Darian Smith, JJ Aragon, Scott LaBarre, and Norma Crosby. While there is no model Federationist, we in the NFB can be models of how society can do better, accepting everyone on terms of equality. As we in the NFB live the life we want as blind people our actions and spirit will speak more loudly and have greater impact than all of the policy statements, pickets, and legal actions combined. We can change the world and do it on terms of equality. Note. I am mindful that Hattie McDaniel was often criticized by many African Americans for not being active enough in the civil rights movement. As well as for taking on rolls that perpetuated stereotypes. Reading her story and the story of Margaret Mitchell may be a worthwhile endeavor for some.

Not Without Question: The Difference of the Federation Philosophy in our Lives by Jean Brown is a striking piece in the Braille Monitor from the wife of our National First Vice President. Jean Brown is an entrepreneur and a leader in her own right. She shares a story worth your read.

Intersectionality ·noun ·The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A whopdoleger of a Blind CO Blog!

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado logo including the words live the life you want

Writer, aggregator Kevan Worley. Contributing editor Dan Burke.Here is what you need to know

Howdy partner. Live the life you want. Play the character you want. Silly, sublime, or scary. We kickoff next week’s convention with the Boot Scoot Boogie Halloween Western Ball.

Learn line dancing. Do the two-step. Enjoy some BBQ vittles. And dress for the West. All for only $5! Thursday evening, October 31st from 6 p.m. til 10 p.m. Fort Collins Hilton, 425 West Prospect Road.

I reckon Marshall Dylan is coming, the ghost of Chick TenBroeck, look out for the zombie cowboy. 

Say howdy to Lorretta and Dollene the bar queen.
Who is this fella Rooster Jinx? Billy the Kid? And the guy in the tennis shoes, Hawaiian shirt, and cowboy hat? We don’t know what that’s about. 

I heard tell, someone was comin’ as a cactus. That can’t be good for your Braille readin’ fingers.

Don’t have $5? Pay with your NFB membership coin. Check your weapons at the door boys. Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses. Note, the real sheriff of Larimer County is Justin E. Smith. We thought you ought to know.

NFBCO Convention agenda is out now!

You can find it on NFB Newsline®. You can get it emailed to you. You can get it from Read the agenda for our 65th State Convention and plan to attend your favorite activities. As Dr. Kenneth Jernigan would have said, “this will be a whopdoleger of a convention.” He also would have said, “don’t forget to register.”

Outreach to Steamboat Springs community October 25th.

We received this note from Mountains and Plains chapter President, ReNae Anderson:

October is blindness awareness month!
Karen Anderson, a representative from the National Federation of the Blind, will be coming to Steamboat to discuss resources with the low vision community: October 25th, 1pm. This meeting will be held over lunch at Rex's (3190 South Lincoln Ave), at no cost to attendees.
Please pass this info along to blind or low vision people who could benefit from this opportunity.
RSVP with Collette at 970-620-1195 or

Saturday, November 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. come and shop for yourself or get your holiday shopping started early!!!

Shop small businesses and local crafters with items like essential oils, homemade soaps, Color Street Nails, 31, Mary Kay and much more!! While you’re shopping don’t forget to grab something yummy to eat with us!!

The location is The Colorado Center for the Blind 2233 West Shepperd ave. in Littleton.

NFBCO receives great press coverage for accessible vote by mail initiative.

Youtube of CBS 4 Story on Accessible Voting:

Historic election around the corner for Colorado voters who are visually impaired | FOX31 Denver:

Resolutions deadline October 25, by Dan Burke.

In the past week you've read about Colorado's online accessible voting option for voters with disabilities, or maybe you caught the CBS Denver story on it Tuesday night. How did something so great come to pass? Well, it started with an idea of something that would benefit us all as blind Coloradans, something that, in this case, would give us more equal access to voting privately and independently.

That idea turned into a resolution, and we passed that resolution less than a year ago. Today, that idea is reality for blind voters in Colorado because the NFB of Colorado took that resolution and turned it into action, finding a sponsor for a bill in the legislature, negotiations, hearings, votes, and the Governor's signature.

And there was a lot of work that followed that signing, but that's a general outline. Now, not every resolution turns into what we want so quickly, most take longer, some we're still working on. But to get things rolling you need to take up your keyboard, slate & stylus, etc., and write a resolution. Send that resolution to Brent Batron or me, and do it by next Friday, October 25.

If you have an idea, but find the format of the resolutions, with all those whereases and therefores and Romeo where art thous confusing, Brent and I will be happy to work with you. Just call us at the Center at 303-778-1130.

Please let us know who will serve on the committee from your chapter or division. Resolutions is an open meeting and begins at 8:30 Friday morning at the convention.

Resolvedly yours,

Intersectionality, Diversity, Inclusion, and the making of a real Federationist.

Join Darian Smith, Founder NFB in Community Service; and ReNae Anderson, President Mountains and Plains Chapter, for a special break out session at State Convention Saturday afternoon. This appears to be a thought provoking seminar. NFBCO president Scott LaBarre will discuss our NFB Code of Conduct. National Board Member Norma Crosby will share her perspective on “who is a federationist.”

Cambiando Vidas en la Frontera de Tejas, by Norma Crosby, Daniel Martinez, Raul Gallegos, and Hilda Hernandez.

Prepare for State Convention. Enjoy this read from this month’s Braille Monitor. Read the October Monitor, and, remember, the Braille Monitor is available on NFB Newsline®.

Norma Crosby will deliver the keynote address at our upcoming State Convention Banquet. She will also address Saturday afternoon’s inclusion and diversity seminar.

The article is a transcript of a presentation delivered at our NFB National Convention last July.

Mark Riccobono introduced this exciting presentation with these words: “Here to lead us in this panel is a woman who does not need much introduction because she has been a mentor to many in this movement. Her leadership is invaluable in our organization, and I’m always inspired by what she’s trying to do to build connections within our organization. In her state she’s been empowering others to explore ways to bring and build connections to people in the state of Texas who need our philosophy but who have not always been well-connected to us. So I’m really thankful this morning that we have her and the other team of presenters to talk about bringing hope, opportunity, and the family of the National Federation of the Blind to so many, and I hope that it’s an example of what we can do in all of our affiliates. As you know, what we do often bubbles up, is tested, and refined on the local level. Here to talk to us about changing lives on the Texas border is Norma Crosby.”


Meet the sighted month.

From our Facebook Federation family: We saw this the other day and thought it was Blind CO Blog worthy. We hope you do too. Post a comment and let us know what you think. This comes from one of our Federation leaders in California.

Angela Fowler is a totally blind woman living with her 13-year-old son, her dog, and her cat. Aside from a wicked sense of humor, she has a talent for making beef jerky, which she sells on a small scale and plans to sell commercially in the very near future, Gliding Eagle Jerky. (Note, your aggregator has tasted this amazing jerky.) Here is what Angela posted:

October is meet the sighted month. Throughout the month, sighted people will hold events where we can mix and mingle and learn about the special equipment and techniques they use to cope with the presence of eyesight. Also, many sighted people will post invitations on Facebook encouraging us to ask them questions, any questions we want, about their sightedness. To kick off meet the sighted month, I have put together this list of things to keep in mind when interacting with the sighted.

1. Sighted people are often incapable of traveling, cooking, or doing much of anything without the aid of light. While we use our other senses to enable us to function perfectly well in the dark, sighted people have great difficulty developing these skills. When you welcome the sighted into your home, don't forget to turn on the lights.

2. Sighted people often cannot understand synthesized speech, and the text on a Braille display is almost always unreadable to them. They must depend on special equipment such as computer monitors and phone and tablet screens to use their electronic devices. If you let a sighted person use your phone or computer and forget to turn the screen on, they will be very confused.

3. Sighted people have difficulty learning from textual and verbal explanations or tactile models. They often must be presented with pictures. A good rule of thumb, when writing instructions for the sighted, is to include a picture with each step.

4. Sighted people have great difficulty distinguishing auditory cues in their environment. While we can tell when to cross a street by the sound of traffic or where an entrance is by the sounds of people entering and exiting, sighted people often must rely on visual information alone.

5. Sighted people rely heavily on an inaudible code called color. They use color to safely navigate by car and perform countless other tasks we can perform using auditory and tactile cues. Also, they are often quick to judge us based on what colors we present to the world. It is important to gain at least a working knowledge of color, so they don’t think we’re weird.

And 6. Sighted people often communicate displeasure using a secret signal called a dirty look. I’ll admit, I’m not exactly sure what this entails, except that it sometimes causes sighted people to behave in ways which seem inappropriate to the situation I.E. telling someone off for no apparent reason. As blind people immune to the effects of the dirty look, we can only try to teach the sighted to use their words when communicating displeasure with us.

So, there you have it. Keep these points in mind, and your next encounter with a sighted person should be as smooth as a brand new NFB cane tip.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ready For October 16th Blind CO Blog? You Know You Are

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado logo including the words Live the life you want

Writer, aggregator: Kevan Worley.
Contributing editor: Dan Burke.

Here is what you need to know

Look out! Mountains and Plains chapter is at large!

Remember that our At Large chapter will have their regular monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, October 17. All are welcome. Call 641-715-0866, access code 405276#. This chapter always has great stuff for sale at the convention. Your favorite aggregator hopes they have cutting boards for sale.

Get your questions answered at upcoming NFBCO State Convention. Register now to take advantage of preregistration and lower meal rates.

Can a blind person serve on the city council? Yolanda Avila does. 
Can a person who is blind start a coffee roasting business and profitably operate it for almost 2 decades? Gerry Leary has.
Can someone who is blind work on the floor of a marijuana processing warehouse? Zachary Parks does.

Hear their stories at the upcoming state convention during our Saturday morning session.

The Giving of the Thanks.

A special reception for race ambassadors and NFBCO 2019 6 Dot Dash sponsors was held at CCB Monday, October 14. We were honored to gather up those who gave significant time and money. CCB students worked with staff to prepare a nice spread of hors d’oeuvres. Jessica Beecham observed, “so many of our great NFBCO staff and wonderful volunteers have to do the work every time we have an event. It was great that people like Lisa, neighbor Karen, Shawn, Marlene, and many others were there only to enjoy the evening and receive our thanks and appreciation.”
Special thanks to Garth Braun and Associates and FirstBank.


NFBCO Aurora chapter celebrates White Cane Awareness Day.

The Aurora chapter of the NFB of Colorado held a white cane luncheon at the Rendezvous restaurant on Saturday, October 12. We had more than 65 people in attendance. Speakers included President Scott Labarre, Aurora Chapter President Dale Holden, and Peggy Chong the Blind History Lady. Curtis Chong MC’ed the event.

Scott LaBarre addresses Aurora chapter’s White Cane luncheon

Now therefore be it resolved! Setting the policy, planning the lives we want.

WHEREAS, NFBCO sets policy at state convention for the work we wish to accomplish in the weeks and months ahead; and
WHEREAS, we set policy through the resolution process; and
WHEREAS, members who want to influence the direction of our movement should consider drafting a resolution for the convention to consider; and
WHEREAS, the resolutions committee will convene at 8:30 Friday morning, November 1st, at the convention; and
WHEREAS, it is an open committee comprised of one delegate appointed by each chapter and division; and
WHEREAS, members who require any information about the process or wish to have assistance in drafting a resolution should feel free to contact Brent Batron, Dan Burke, or myself: Now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED by the Blind CO Blog staff that we urge those resolution drafts to be submitted to Misters Batron or Burke no later than Friday, October 25.

Note, learn about policies enacted through resolution at our National Conventions here.
NFBCO resolutions passed at conventions have inspired our efforts resulting in; protections for blind parents, equal access to the ballot, strengthening Business Enterprise Program, expanding blindness and low vision services, and much more.

16th Street Pedestrian Mall conversation continues.

In the Blind CO Blog of October 9, we directed you, dear reader, to the press accounts of more than 30 Federationists and others from the community of people with disabilities who met with Brian Pinkerton and other officials to discuss changes being planned for a 16th Street Pedestrian Mall. Mr. Pinkerton is the Principal Project Manager, Public Works, City and County of Denver. He will be speaking and conducting some Q&A at the NFBCO State Convention, Friday November 1, during the General Session at 12:50. So, join us for lunch as we talk about transforming a Colorado treasure into a 21st Century gathering place.


Pedro and the Octopus.

Parents, teachers, grandmas, grandpas, uncles, and big brothers and sisters will want to know about Pedro and the Octopus.

“When his big sister, Lena, warns him that octopuses have lots of sticky arms for catching kids, Pedro isn't too sure that a family trip to the beach will be much fun. Pretty soon, though, he gets caught up in the excitement of walking in the sand with his long white cane, finding shells and stones to put into his pail, and playing in the waves.”

With its print and Braille text, written by Deborah Kent, and the creative, colorful, and captivating tactile illustrations by Ann Cunningham, this book can be enjoyed through vision and touch. It is a great way to give young children, both blind and sighted a unique reading experience.

To find out more, contact the American Action Fund at 410-659-9315.

Kevan Worley reads from the Braille/print book Oskar & Klaus: The Mission to Cataria to Gabby (9) and Brooklyn (7)
Kevan Worley reads from the Braille/print book Oskar & Klaus: The Mission to Cataria to Gabby (9) and Brooklyn (7).


Successful meet up in Fort Collins.

As we prepare for Fort Collins State Convention, we think back on the successful Fort Collins meet up on September 24th. We hope each of you from the meet up will join us at the convention. Many of the meeter-uppers wanted to establish a NFBCO Poudre Valley chapter. Let’s talk about it at the convention and schedule our next Poudre Valley event! For more information contact Ileen Gallegos.

Meet me at Springs Orleans.

Colorado Springs NFBCO chapter continues their monthly meet up events. Join the crowd Tuesday evening, October 22nd, Springs Orleans. 123 East Pikes Peak Ave. They will be in the back, right corner waiting for you anytime between 5ish and 7ish. 2-for-1 happy hour appetizers. Meet there or be square.