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Monday, March 16, 2020

Coronavirus COVID19 and the Blind of Colorado

National Federation of the Blind of Colorado logo including the tagline Life the Life you Want

Greetings Blind Coloradan readers,

We know you have much to do to manage your lives during some very challenging times for our nation and planet. This is a special Blind Coloradan update from the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. We will keep it brief for you.

Of course, blindness and catching Coronavirus COVID19 have no correlation whatsoever. However, the fact is many blind folks are unemployed or significantly unemployed. Many of our elderly and others in our family may find themselves isolated and/or face discrimination as it relates to shopping, accessible and affordable transportation, and appropriate medical services. Thus NFBCO will remain ever vigilant and advocate for our needs.

Breaking News! Breaking News! The 2020 NFBCO 6 Dot Dash will be postponed. Understanding that by May 31st the Nation will have returned or be returning to a level of normalcy, We know, however,  that the next two months will be a turbulent time for many. It is probably not the time for sponsors, volunteers, exhibitors, and racers to make our NFBCO a priority. So your race committee has decided to seek a Fall date for our 3rd Annual community extravaganza. We appreciate your understanding. If we are back to a more normal set of circumstances by May 31st maybe we will get together for a big blow-out picnic or BBQ on Sunday the 31st of May. Wouldn’t that be a joy!

Please see the below notes:

  1. We have an NFBCO hotline for any individuals who are blind and needing some extra support, guidance, advocacy as the nation deals with the ever expanding outbreak of COVID19. We are using our NFBCO extension at the Colorado Center for the Blind to gather questions, reports of difficulties accessing services, or any other special circumstances arising out of the pandemic . Please call 303-778-1130 ext. 219. We will do the best we can to coordinate some volunteer assistance if someone is isolated and in need of groceries or supplies or facing other difficulties.  Please remember that above all else, we truly are a Federation family. Feel free to reach out to our state president, members of our state board of directors, and local leaders if you are in emotional or physical need. We know that some blind folks have been turned away from grocery stores. They were told that the stores were unwilling to assist. We are also working with authorities to make sure people with disabilities have equal access to test sites and health care facilities. If you reach out to your medical professionals and then encouraged to get tested and you find the process inaccessible please let us know. The NFB will continue to serve as advocates.
  2. As you know, NFBCO is following all of the guidance from our national office to limit exposure to the virus. The Federation will sponsor no official seminars, chapter meetings, or division meetings for at least the next 30 days. However, we are strongly encouraging chapters to hold chapter meetings via conference call, Zoom, or other appropriate platforms. It is important that we keep our united effort and spirit of philosophy and advocacy in action.
  3. Over this next month, members of our executive board have been charged with developing some conference call and webinar training. Over the next week or so you will hear about some training seminars we will be providing. I know that one of these trainings will deal with chapter and division financial management. So, chapter treasurers and presidents, in particular, should stay tuned for more info. If you have ideas for training content you would like all of us to pursue together let us know. From philosophy to community relations to how to have the best chapter meetings possible. We can use this time to continue our work.
  4. Of course, our eagerly anticipated Poudre Valley organizing planned for the 31st of this month is cancelled. But we will continue our work by phone and email in that area of the state. There is much we can do electronically to help build the Federation and bring opportunities to our brothers and sisters no matter where they live in Colorado.
  5. We know that many of our colleagues who manage businesses under the Business Enterprise Program will be closing their operations or their sales will be significantly curtailed. Our Colorado Association of Blind Merchants, under the leadership of Brad Basta, is working with Program Manager Dan Whalen and his team to do everything possible to minimize the impact. We already know that our colleague Nate Hecker’s business at the Capitol has been closed. Many of you may know that our General Assembly is taking a two week hiatus due to the Coronavirus outbreak. NFBCO applauds Colorado BEP staff for the extra effort they are making. Thank you.
  6. The Colorado Center for the Blind will release a statement about its operations later today. We will post and distribute as appropriate.
  7. With CSDB and other schools serving blind students closed, we stand ready to help when possible. If you know of blind kiddos who could use some mentoring of some kind during this break please be in touch. We would love to help where we can. We say to parents of blind kids, “keep those kids active, keep them reading, and, of course, keep them safe.”
  8. Remember that NFB Newsline carries local Colorado papers, breaking news, news from the Federation, TV listings, and weather bulletins. Call our new Coronavirus COVID19 hotline if you do not have your Newsline codes or need to apply and we will get right back to you.

Thank you for taking the time to read the above. Never has it been more appropriate to say, “together with love, hope, and determination we transform dreams into reality” and we work as a family to support all blind people in need as best we are able.

That’s all for now.
Forward, always forward.

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