Blind Americans Protest Refusal of Entertainment Industry to Cast Them

Baltimore, Maryland (March 12, 2019): The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, issued the following statement today from its President, Mark Riccobono, regarding the portrayal of blind characters and specifically the forthcoming CW television series “In the Dark”:

“The entertainment industry has produced dozens of movies and TV shows portraying blind characters, usually offensively or inaccurately, and not even one of them has featured a blind actor in a recurring lead role. If blind people are included, they play supporting roles, and sometimes there is a single blind writer or consultant. If organizations like the National Federation of the Blind are consulted at all, the consultation occurs after production, and the producers seek validation rather than collaboration. The forthcoming midseason replacement series ‘In the Dark’ is no different. Its producers sought to justify their exclusion of a blind actor from the leading role in a session full of excuses at a recent conference.

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It’s Louis Braille Birthday Today!

Louis Braille Birthday
Louis Braille Birthday

HAPPY JANUARY 4th! Today represents the birth of one of the most amazing and monumental inventors in modern history. The invention of this individual single-handedly has made a positive difference in the lives of tens of millions of people around the world.

You are probably wondering, who is this guy talking about? I can’t think of anybody famous born this day. Whether you know who I’m talking about or not, today really is an important, life-changing day for many people.

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Do More Foundation

Do More Foundation Logo

A Further Way Aira is beginning to work to address the issue of the cost of its service comes through the formation of a nonprofit organization called the Do More foundation. Recently I have been asked to accept the position of donor relations within the foundation to help it secure funding. Our initial effort will be to secure funds to help cities and other public facilities establish Aira access within their borders. It would be great, for example, if any blind person could go visit any city public building and travel independently to any office with Aira and not have to pay for the service because the service was subsidized by the city with the help of the Do More foundation. How about visiting public libraries? How about visiting city parks or even going to the county fair and having full access to Aira? These are all the immediate kinds of things we will be working to make happen with the help of the foundation. You can learn more about the foundation by visiting http://domore.io. Continue reading

Aira & Aira Access

Aira
 
I am saving the best new open window for last. In March 2015 I received an email from Larry Bock, a gentleman who said that he was representing a company called Aira tech Corp. As he explained it, Aira was a new company that had developed a unique and innovative product for blind people. The product consisted of smart glasses with a high resolution live streaming camera built into them, an app that would run on any smart phone and live agents around the country. Continue reading

We’re Back!

It has been a few years since I have corresponded with all of you through my newsletter from the Michael Hingson Group. There is a lot of truth to Alexander Graham Bell’s adage that “when a door closes a window opens”. Even when a door doesn’t close more than one window can open. The cross ventilation can stir up all sorts of challenges which one must address in one way or another. Let me take a moment to catch you up. 

2014 my wife, Karen, became critically ill. We posted on Facebook about this and in one of my last newsletters we also discussed it. Karen recovered. At the urgings of our family we relocated from northern California to the Southland and rented an apartment in Victorville California. We never thought that we would be back so close to the areas where both of us grew up. However, sometimes things just happen, but usually for the right reasons.  Continue reading

Help Me Assist Students Who Are Blind, Low Vision or Deaf-Blind

Hello! Back to school season is nearly upon us. For many, the phrase back to school conjures thoughts of new experiences, making new friends, buying new school supplies, and maybe even working with new technology. For thousands of students who are blind, low vision, or deaf-blind, and entering college, the phrase also conjures thoughts of navigating a new and exciting campus environment. To support these students we are launching a new campaign – the Back to School Fundraising Campaign – and we would love for you to be a part of it!  Continue reading

Express Employment Professionals Makes Testing Accessible to Blind Job Seekers

Baltimore, Maryland (July 11, 2018): Express Employment Professionals, a leading national staffing company, has committed to ensuring that its employee testing solutions can be used by blind and low-vision job seekers and employees. The decision was made after consultation with the National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people in the United States and a leading advocate for equal employment and digital accessibility. The commitment means that Express’ testing solutions will be usable by blind applicants who access computers and digital information with technologies like text-to-speech screen readers and/or Braille displays. Continue reading

United States Senate Greenlights Marrakesh Treaty and Implementing Legislation

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Senate Vote

Washington, DC (June 28, 2018): The United States Senate today provided its advice and consent for ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. The chamber also approved the treaty’s implementing legislation (S. 2559), which will make modest adjustments to US copyright law to fully comply with the treaty.

 “For more than six years, the National Federation of the Blind has worked tirelessly toward this historic day for the blind of America and the world,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We applaud the United States Senate for providing its advice and consent for ratification of the treaty, as well as for passing S. 2559, the ‘Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act’. We urge the US House of Representatives to join their Senate colleagues in swiftly passing S. 2559, so that the door to expanded literacy and access to the world’s knowledge will be unlocked for millions of blind Americans.”

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 About the National Federation of the Blind

 The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.