THE
STYLUS

*** * ***

Fall Issue September 2006

The official publication of the American Council of the Blind of Oregon
Published Quarterly
Edited by John A. Fleming

ACB of Oregon’s PRESIDENT
Kae Madera
Phone: 503-282-0804 (home)
971-221-8260 (cell)

For more information about the American Council of the Blind of Oregon, you can go to our web page at: www.acboforegon.org

Note from the Editor:

Hi all

Are there any aspiring reporters, authors or editors out there? If there Are, the Stylus needs you. Ron Chance has resigned from the editorship of the Stylus and for the time being I am taking up the rains and editing “The Stylus.” I need your help. With out stories, articles, and or news tips there will not be much to edit. Help make my job easier by sending your stories and other items for your newsletter, the Stylus. It is your newsletter so please support it.

Do you have a story, or poem you want to have published? Maybe the Stylus is the place to start. Send them in and I will put them in the Stylus if I can.

How about you guide dog users out there, I know you have some great stories about working your dogs. Put them down on paper, or in a computer document and send them to me and I will show them to the membership via the Stylus.

Chapter presidents, please have someone from your chapter send in a chapter report. I know most chapters don't meet in the summer time so you might update us on your picnics and maybe send in the times and locations of your next meetings. I look forward to working with all of you to help make “The Stylus” the best it can be.

You can send items for the Stylus in print, on tape, via Email, on computer disk, or in good old fashion Braille.

If you think you might like to give editing a try let me know and you can help with “The Stylus.” I will continue to edit “The Stylus” but would like to hand over the editorship to someone else if I can. The job of editor is very important and requires a person who is dedicated to ACB of Oregon, and has two to three hours a week to put into “The Stylus.” If you would like to know more please contact me.

Thanks
Blue Skies

John “A. Fleming
Editor

Mailing address: 12820 NE Prescott Dr., Portland, OR 97230

Phone: 503-253-9543

Email: bj2kiowa@comcast.net

President’s Message
By Kae Madera

I have had a very busy summer, having the privilege of attending two conferences as well as working for Independent Living Resources in Portland. The first conference I attended was the American Council of the Blind’s convention in Jacksonville Florida, where I had the opportunity to be Oregon’s delegate to the convention. John and Darian Fleming served on the Bylaws and Resolutions Committees respectively, and I served on the nominating Committee.

As those of you know, who have attended the national convention, the exhibit hall is a busy place and special-interest affiliates have interesting afternoon and evening meetings to provide participants with all kinds of information.

We have a new Editor for the Stylus. Ron Chance who has served faithfully as our editor has resigned, and John Fleming will be taking the helm as Editor of our Newsletter. We know, that John will continue in the rich tradition of great editors and publish a great newsletter. Please feel free to contribute articles at your convenience.

On July 22, the ACBO Board met in Eugene. We spent the majority of our time hearing about the upcoming state convention which will be held in Salem during the third week of October, at the newly constructed Salem Conference Center. Our convention’s theme will focus on Advocacy. During this time of tight budgets, and shortfalls, there is nothing more important than learning how to advocate. Our presenters will teach us how to do this, and help us to move forward providing help to others in the blind community.

We were also informed that Sharon Lofting will be retiring from her position as treasurer, and, therefore, the Board will be appointing a new treasurer as the Bylaws state at our October Board Meeting. This job is a challenging one, and one that takes a person who is qualified to handle our financial affairs. If you are interested, please contact any of the Board members. You may call me at (503) 282-0804. Sharon has done an excellent job as our financial officer, and we look forward to her advice although she is unable to serve in this capacity at this time.

As I close this message, I want all of us to remember that we all have a part in this organization. We have a common interest, a common goal, and that is, to provide a helping hand to those individuals who are struggling with vision loss in Oregon. There is no better mentor than you or me. We can be a role model to children growing up who are blind; we can be a source of encouragement to an elder who is struggling with how to cope with macular degeneration; we don’t live in a world of “darkness”. As some suppose. We do all sorts of things, from dragon boating, skydiving, to gardening, making furniture, cooking, canning and teaching. Let’s look at what we can do, rather than what we cannot.

Let’s try to work together to stand united, to fight for things we care about, such as the Oregon State School for the Blind. One of our greatest hallmarks has been our unity, let’s not forget that.

Press Release

Who: The American Council of the Blind of Oregon

What: will hold its annual convention

Where: Salem Downtown Conference Center

When: Thursday-Saturday, October 19-21, 2006

Why: to conduct official business and to present informational and educational programs for attendees and members of the general community, both blind and sighted.

How: The convention will feature seminars, workshops and presentations designed to improve the lives of the blind and visually impaired. In addition, several Vendors and exhibitors will display some of the latest technological aids for the blind, as well as arts & crafts various appliances. Some of the subjects to be covered include:.Using the computer without sight. The pros (and cons) of getting a guide dog. Getting around without crashing--mobility aids and pedestrian safety. Becoming your own advocate. Protecting yourself from frauds and scams. How to look your best & dress for success without sight. Job search tactics and interview skills. Fitness and health programs for the blind.

For further information contact: Deb Marinos, Convention Chair. Phone: 503-873-6627. Email: deb@open.org

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND OF OREGON
CONVENTION 2006
SALEM CONFERENCE CENTER
200 COMMERCIAL ST. SE
SALEM, OREGON 97301
OCTOBER 19-21, 2006
Gold Sponsors:

SELCO
Colson & Colson Construction
Home Comfort, Inc.

Silver Sponsor:

Wisdom Ware

Convention Tours

Willamette Queen River Cruise.
October 19th, Thursday 2-3 PM.
$11 1-hour cruise
Meet in the Hotel Lobby at 1:15 PM for transportation to the dock, or meet at the river cruise dock. Make your reservations by October 10 th and Tell them you are with the “ACB” group. By Phone: 503-371-1103, Email: WQSternwheeler@aol.com By web: www.willamettequeen.com

Oregon State Blind School Tour
October 19th, 4-5 PM Thursday
$5 (Includes transportation)
Meet in the Hotel Lobby at 3:30 PM. Check the line on the registration form

Oregon State Capitol
Explore the layout of the building, find important key locations, and hear what goes on behind the scenes.
Friday, October 20th 4-5 PM
$5 (Includes transportation)
Meet in the Hotel Lobby at 3:30 PM

LODGING
Lodging is available at the connected Phoenix Grand Hotel 1-877-540-7800. A generous breakfast is included in the room cost. The rooms are very spacious with separate sitting rooms and couches. All have microwaves and refrigerators.

TRANSPORTATION
Transportation to Salem from Portland and surrounding areas can be done for $2 by using the SMART or CARTS bus system. Also Amtrak (bus or train 12 blocks) - or Greyhound (8 blocks) have stations in Salem. There is also airport limousine service through HUT 503-364-4444, round trip is $63.00 PDX to Red Lion in Salem. The suggestion was made to talk to your local Lions Club and see if someone there will volunteer to transport folks. Apparently there is some interest. If you are ADA eligible and can get to Salem, there is a Wheels/Cherry Lift transportation available 503-585-5187. They would like one week notice and rides are about $2 each way. The Phoenix Grand Hotel also has a complimentary shuttle service if you are staying with the hotel. I'm hoping that folks with transportation needs will email or call Deb deb@open.org, 503-871-5299 prior to the date of travel, so we can coordinate picking folks up at the same time when possible.

Some Local Area Restaurants
Bentley’s Grill is off of the hotel lobby opposite the elevators
(Outside of Hotel within 4 blocks)
MINGS CHINESE is located at: 440 State Street Has buffet lunch for $6.25 Has dinner special at $6.25 as well as other items to order from menu. Open 11:00A-9:00P Monday-Friday and until 9:30 on Saturday and Sunday. Phone: 588-2928 Staff will assist visually impaired guests with buffet line if requested.

CROISSANT CO. is located at 190 High Street, SE. is on the northeast corner of High and Ferry Streets. Open 6:00-5:00 Monday through Friday and 8:00-2:00 on Saturday. Closed on Sunday. Has delicious sandwiches - $5.75 and lunch specials of soup and sand. for $6.00 Also many salads and pastries. Phone: 503-362-7323. Call in orders to go if desired. They make box lunches, too.

TUDOR ROSE (480 Liberty St. SE) This is an English-style tea shop open for lunch only from 11:00 am to 4:15 pm. It offers sandwiches, soup salads and desserts, plus traditional British favorites such as shepherd's pie and banger on a bun. Prices run from four to ten dollars

MARCO POLO GLOBAL RESTAURANT (210 Liberty St. SE--directly across from the convention center). This place features a fine lunch buffet from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Friday--but not on Saturday. It offers Chinese, Italian and American selections and at $6.50 is a heck of a bargain. It is open for dinner until 9:30 pm on Thursday and 10:00 Friday and Saturday. It will prepare orders to go and has an extensive vegetarian menu as well as meat selections. Dinner entrees generally run in the eight to twelve dollar range.

The INDIA PALACE is located at 377 Court St., just off Liberty about three blocks north of the convention hotel. It is open for lunch from 11:30 to 2:30 and serves a buffet featuring exotic Indian dishes, plus salads, soup, assorted fruits and tea for $6.95. A smaller take-out buffet is available for $3.95. Dinner served from 5-9. East Indian cuisine. Entrees range from $7 to $12. Many vegetarian entrees available

ALESSANDRO’S 120 is located at 120 Commercial St. NE Italian Dishes (503) 370-9951

MCGRATH’S FISH HOUSE is located at 350 Chemeketa St. NE (503) 362-0736

MACEDONIA GREEK RESTAURANT-Located in The Reed Opera House 189 Liberty St. NE, Ste. 111 (503) 316-9997

Description of the Phoenix Grand Hotel

The main entrance to the hotel is on Liberty St. This is a one way street with four lanes, traveling north. The hotel/ conference center is flanked by Ferry St. one way traveling West, S. Commercial St, one way traveling South, and Trade St which turns into the Pringle Parkway, is one way at this point traveling East. Trade St is a difficult crossing, the rest are straight forward.

Upon entering the hotel from the Liberty St. covered drive, the entrance to the hotel is on the left and two steps up. There are handrails to the left, in the middle, and to the right. The handrails to the left are in front of the wheelchair ramp to the entrance doors. After walking up the two steps, go forward 8 feet and you will hear two glass sliding doors automatically open for you. Continue forward 25 feet; turn right (Registration Hallway) towards the registration desk for 35 feet. There are usually two or more attendants at the desk. The desk is about 21 feet long. There is a 3 foot wide vertical 3 foot by 3 foot post/beam just after the registration desk on your right. The hotel lobby floor plan is a large rectangle, with each side being a walkway/hallway. Three of these four walkways have 6 feet width clearance, with some plants and posts bordering the edges of the walkway. The hallway to Bentley’s Grill and the breakfast room/restrooms has 9 feet of clearance, with potted plants, support beams, and a few cushioned benches bordering these 9 feet. Most of the inside area of the rectangle is a waiting area with numerous chairs and some low tables. There are four hallways. We will name each hallway according to their landmark in the rectangle. The Registration Desk Hallway -6 o’clock., the Elevator Hallway 3 o’clock, the Breakfast Room/ Bentley Grill Hallway 12 noon, and the Entrance Hallway 9 o’clock. Walking past the registration desk, 40 feet.to your right is the gift/convenience store. Following around to the left is the Business Center. The Business Center requires a hotel key/card to enter. If you continued to the left you would find the two guest room elevators. To get directly from the registration desk to elevators, continue past the desk 60 feet to the elevators -4 o’clock at an angle at 45 degrees to your right and find two elevators in front of you. There is one upward arrow button between the doors at waist level, leading to the hotel lodging rooms. This elevator does not travel to the parking garage. All the elevators in the Grand Phoenix Hotel and the Salem Conference Center are Brailled inside and outside. At chest level on the left and right side of the elevator frame is the floor level you are on. The control panel inside the elevator is on the right side. The alarm button is at the very bottom on the left. It is bell-shaped. There are five floors, two columns of buttons, even and odd. To get to the meeting rooms from the hotel: Leaving the elevators, turn right and walk about 115 feet to connect you to the Conference Center entrance. The hallway begins to slope gradually upwards to the entrance to the Conference Center. The last 20 feet or so of the hallway will darken somewhat because there are fewer lights in that section of the connecting hallway. Along this hallway, you will pass on your right, two Phoenix Grand Hotel Boardroom doors, and a Coffee Kiosk (69 feet from the elevators). You are now inside the Conference Center facing stairs to the second floor, and on your left, are stairs leading down to the Parking garage. Turn right to the Parking garage Elevator or Meeting rooms. We will not be using any of the Conference rooms on the second floor. Go 20 feet further and you will be in front of the Registration desk for the conference. The adjoining Santiam River Rooms 4, 5, and 6, and the Vendor/Gallery area are on the first floor. (Look under Description of the Salem Conference Center for further descriptions.)

To get to the breakfast room and Bentley’s Grill: Leave the elevators, go straight past registration desk to end of hallway, turn right – entrance hallway go to end, turn left and then about 20 feet, turn left again for breakfast, straight ahead for Bentley’s. Hotel Lobby Restrooms: In the hotel lobby, just before the breakfast room and Bentley’s on your right there is a small hallway to the Men’s and Women’s restrooms. The Men’s restroom is on your left. The Women’s restroom is on your right.

Description of the Salem Conference Center There are two street entrances to the Conference center, one from the Commercial St/North West corner of the Salem Conference Center, and one from the Ferry St. North East corner of the Center. The ACB of O registration desk will be by the Ferry St entrance. There is also a hallway connecting to the Hotel. From this hallway turn left, go approximately 35 feet and you will be at the registration desk.

Each street entrance has several sets of doors. The Commercial St./North West street entrance has two main sets of 2 large, glass/metal doors, and has three steps down to that entrance. Further along the hallway on the Commercial St. side are 4 more double doors that give you access to a covered drop-off area and a temporary Exhibitor parking area. The Ferry St. entrance has two glass/metal doors at ground level. This entrance is closest to the ACB of O registration desk.

Important Note* Returning to Hotel Rooms from Conference Center. To arrive at the connecting hallway entrance to the Phoenix Grand Hotel and avoid the open stairwells, find the elevator wall, trail until hallway opening, turn left and you will go 115’ to the guest room elevators. If using a dog guide for travel, from the registration desk/or Ferry St entrance doors it is about 35 feet to the hotel elevator hallway on your left. The Salem Conference Center Hallways are a “U” shape. The elevator is the left leg of the U. The Salem Conference Center elevator connects you to the Second Floor and Parking Garage levels. The hallway to the hotel tees into this hallway. The bottom of the U is the Gallery. The Gallery/Exhibitor area is approximately 138 feet in length and 27 feet wide. Opposite the vendors exhibit area on the bottom of the U are several entrances to the Santiam River Conference Rooms The right leg of the U is the Commercial Street Entrance. The space inside the U is the meeting rooms. There are doors on two sides of this room, with movable dividers allowing for break out rooms. Between the two sets of doors on the Commercial St side, right leg of U are the restrooms. The Men’s Restroom will be to the left of Santiam River Room 3 and the Women’s Restroom will be to your right of Santiam River Room 4.

The area outside of the Commercial St. Entrance (NW) is the only green grass in this block for our doggy friends. Outside of all the entrances there are multiple bark dust patches with bushes/trees for relieving as well. Trash cans will be by the door and by the grass for your deposits.

Specific Directions for Commercial St. Grass Area - Daytime Dog Relief Area: During the evening hours, you would have to walk around the block on the outside to get to this spot. Outside this set of doors there will be an uncovered, cement courtyard. Thirty-six feet in front of you is a large patch of grass, approximately 18 feet wide and 36 feet in length. There is a sharp slope upwards just past the beginning of the grass patch. The grass patch is bordered by cement, with a 12 foot direct/grass opening in the center of its 40 foot length. Its width is 18 feet. The far/south side of the grass patch has an unprotected drop-off of several feet high. There are 4 wooden benches with no backs or sides, attached to the drop-off. There will be a trash can to deposit dog waste to the right of the beginning of the grass patch.

School for the Blind to join the Deaf…
By R. C. Johnson, Immediate past president ACB of Oregon

We need to stay aware of the legislature joining the Oregon School for the Blind (OSB) and the Oregon School for the Deaf (OSD) on the OSD campus. The sub committee, which has held meetings with both school officials, parents and the blind community, has now sent forward to the legislature a recommendation to join the two schools.

This is a win-win situation for the legislature and the school district because this allows the disabled to be dumped in a bad area of Salem and the district to sell the OSB campus for millions of dollars.

This is a lose-lose situation for the blind students. I am not knocking the OSD campus. It works well for people who are deaf. It has an unfenced railway through the campus, and students have to cross the tracks to reach public transportation. There are no walkways for travel training or wheelchairs, and there are constant trains crossing the campus daily.

If the two schools are combined, the education of the students will not be by regular teachers. The teaching program will be bid out to the lowest bidder, meaning the teachers will be paid sub-standard wages and will be those teachers who could not get a job anywhere else. What kind of an education will this be?

There were meetings held across Oregon by the sub committee and I hope the others were better attended then the one in Salem. The educators and parents were there but not much attention by the rest of the blind community. We will have one more chance in January when the full legislature returns to Salem, and I hope the legislative chair, Deb Marinos, will be able to inform us in time to attend the hearings.

Make no mistake; OSB is our past, our present and our future. Without vigilance on our part, we will lose this precious inheritance. The OSD campus is not able to accommodate our students and we will lose them.

Commission Notes for the August 4th Meeting
By Commissioner Deb Marinos, ACB of Oregon representative

We had in attendance 17 Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) students at the meeting. Each spoke of their most favorite event and what was important to them through the program this summer. I was very impressed with the students. The camping trip and white-water Rafting were mentioned a lot for favorite activities. The most important things that were expressed were "knowing they could make it on their Own" and "having friends who understood them." Several shared how much they would miss their work cohorts. They are very capable blind teens. It’s a wonderful program for them to be able to live in the dorm at Reed College and go to work each day on their own. They cooked, cleaned and played together all summer. I attended the talent show given by the students after the meeting and it was very sweet and enjoyable. They showed great talent and a real sense of humor.

Under old business, the News line reported over 500 folks already signed up for the electronic new reading service available through the phone. Just call or email Talking Books and Braille Services to get started if you have not already.

Budget discussions for the next cycle 2007-09 are underway. We are requesting three more teachers, two in Portland one in Medford, due to increased caseloads. It is not expected to have significant cuts this time, due to a better economy.

Also reported was the significant value the CHIPS - Cardiac Health Improvement Program is having in blind folk’s lives. It seems we handle the stress of living with blindness better with a healthy body. Now there’s a nice thought. Come to the convention in October to hear the presentation Saturday morning on CHIPS given by Charlene Cook.

Plans are being made for the strategic planning meeting in the fall for the Commissioners to identify which of the many projects should have priority and to assess the progress made in the past year. It also gives the staff and commissioners a chance to connect with each other, which builds trust, and makes for good communications all year.

"Coronary Health Improvement Project" (CHIP)

For the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases such as Coronary Heart Disease, Angina, Hypertension, Stroke, Claudication, Impotence, Diabetes, Gout, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Obesity.

CHIP (Coronary Health Improvement Project) has demonstrated that people with Diabetes, Hypertension, and Heart disease can normalize and reverse their disease and become drug-free again within weeks by simplifying their customary lethal Western diet. Thousands have benefited by becoming motivated to change their diet and lifestyle and bring balance through education and experience. Join these healthy people and enroll in the next Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) CHIP class.

The OCB has certified CHIP instructors ready to teach you how to eat more and while doing so reverse disease, feel better, and best of all add years to your life. If you are blind or visually impaired and live in Oregon we welcome you to embrace good health the CHIP way. We are scheduled to begin our next 8-week class in January 2007. Currently CHIP is being offered in Portland at the headquarters office, 535 SE 12th.

Each session consists of a DVD lecture by Dr. Hans Diehl, founder of CHIP, interesting guest speakers from the community, new foods to try and much more. All CHIP materials will be provided in print, large print, Braille, MS-Word, or on tape.

Please call us at 971-673-1588 for more information.

Remember, health isn't everything, but without it everything is nothing.

Multnomah Chapter News
By Patty Bessant

Members of the Multnomah Chapter have banded together to form the Pedestrian Safety Alliance (PSA). Wee are very excited about this project. We are gathering information from various resources, and we still have a lot to learn about this issue. We are focusing on all pedestrians while realizing that motorists also have rights and responsibilities. Education and enforcement of laws are keys to success in our project.

We are planning a white cane recognition event on Friday October 13 in Portland's Pioneer Square. Details are being formulated, and information will be forthcoming.

We are on summer hiatus, but we had a picnic at the Olive Garden Restaurant in June. The fellowship and food were grand.

We have some sad news, and some good news. Fred Kennedy, long-time member of ACB of Oregon and the Multnomah Chapter, passed away this spring. His family is in our thoughts and prayers.

Darian Hartman and John Fleming were married on July 1, 2006. May they have many years of joyful togetherness-congratulations!

See you down the road.

Thanks to the ACB of Oregon Pioneer Chapter
By Wesley Smith

Thanks to the Pioneer chapter of ACB of Oregon, I can go to the Oral Hull adult summer camp for blind adults. This was a result of several successful Crispy Cream partnership card sales. I wish to thank the chapter for their generous gift.

Willamette chapter news
By R. C. Johnson

We have no meetings during the summer months but continue to have fun and stay involved anyway. We had no garage sale this year and substituted an Izzy's promotion instead. Izzy's will give booklets with $60.00 worth of coupons to any non-profit and let the non-profit sell these booklets for $5.00 each. We keep the money and Izzy's, hopefully, will gain new customers. We have, so far, made approximately $400.00 on this.

We had our picnic and penny auction in July and, after paying for the chicken, made about $140.00 on this.

We were in the midst of trying to pass a money issue for our local transit and lost on that one, but are still in battle to save the School for the Blind. We do not even want to think of losing this one.

We hope every other chapter has had as good a time as we have. We are looking forward to seeing all our friends at the convention in October.

Whereas Resolutions Are an Advocacy Tool, Now Therefore Be It Resolved That We Discuss Resolutions
By Darian Slayton Fleming

Kae Madera has chosen the theme of “Adventures in Advocacy” for the American Council of the Blind (ACB of Oregon’s 2006 state convention. Therefore, I have resolved to write about a particular form of advocacy, that of writing resolutions.

Many consumer advocacy organizations write resolutions, which are really recommendations or directives to their governing organizations to take stances or participate in policy change. These directives might even involve suggested legislative action that might be advocated for on the state or national levels. The important activities of writing and passing resolutions on the convention floor are integral to growth and progress within consumer advocacy groups, in our communities and in our nation.

For the past five years I have participated in the process of fashioning resolutions that are read on the floor and acted upon at ACB conventions. Each year at our national convention, individual members, special interest groups and state affiliates of ACB submit suggestions for action on issues that directly affect people who are blind or visually impaired. These compositions must be submitted by the end of the night on Tuesday of convention week. Up to ten ACB members, chosen by the ACB President, “wordsmith” these statements, a process of reviewing and editing, that eventually renders the finished product or the resolution.

This is serious business. So we meet beginning at 8 P.M. most nights. On election eve we meet early, by 6 P.M. We order dinner in and take a break to attend the candidates’ Forum. Did I mention that we might stay up until 1 or 2 every morning? Did I say we do this every night (with one permitted night off) Saturday through Thursday nights of convention week? Our finished products are read and referred back to committee, voted down or passed by the end of the day on Friday. On Friday morning during the 2006 convention, I did not get to bed until 4 A.M. We had twelve resolutions to finish when we began that previous Thursday evening. I had to get up at 6:30 A.M. I have to say that by 1 A.M. we are all pretty goofy. And the comedians in the group like Michael Buyington from Kansas, keep the humor going and the giggling happening. This makes the lateness of the hour bearable, especially by the end of the week.

This year, resolutions of interest included One resolution that passed on the floor dealt with the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) testing, Reporting that the testing administration is unreceptive to the needs of students who are blind and asking that tests be made available via accessible Internet formats in order to level the playing field between students who are sighted and those who are blind or visually impaired. A resolution called for equal service provision to veterans who live in state-operated residential facilities as compared to those services provided to outpatient recipients. Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries are calling for elimination of the earnings limits for people with disabilities arguing that it is impossible to rise to a comfortable standard of living unless earnings limits are abolished. Another resolution addressed advancing video description to DVD’s in order to keep pace with the progressive market.

We write whereas clauses documenting the history of and need for the action item. These are followed by resolve clauses that are dated and detailed, outlining the action prescribed. They also note the place and action steps. The finished resolution contains language that is very specific and precise. All of the parties who are directed to take action know who they are and what work is needed. Results of this advocacy work are reported to people who are blind in ACB’s “Braille Forum” magazine, on ACB’s Washington Connection (after hours) at 1-800-424-8666, and on the web at acb.org or on acbradio.org.

You and/or your chapter could write resolutions for which you might want the ACB of Oregon to advocate. Include statistics, facts about the issue and information about what is needed or what works best. Follow that with one or two clauses of “resolve” language that spell out what needs to be done (such as research and letters and who is to be responsible. The ACB of Oregon website acboforegon provides guidance as to appropriate deadlines for submitting resolutions at the state convention and when these must be read on the floor. You may also contact Darian Fleming at (503) 522-3272 for technical support in writing a resolution.

Why Should I go to an ACB National Convention?
By Darian Slayton Fleming

How many of us actually attend ACB national conventions? The answer is, only a handful of ACB of Oregon members attend the ACB national conventions. Two reasons I have often heard for not attending are that the conventions are always in hot and humid cities and that it costs too much money to attend one. Here are some reasons for attending national ACB conventions.

First of all, even though our state Council affiliate no longer offers a scholarship for individual members to attend national conventions, the ACB organization does provide such an award. ACB realizes the value of introducing state members to the benefits of being part of the larger organization. These benefits not only add to individual members’ knowledge and sense of personal empowerment, but they yield members with strengths and skills who become involved in important action on the national level, thus improving the outlook for all of us as individuals who are blind. There is strength in numbers.

If you read “The Braille Forum,” ACB’s newsletter or visit the ACB website (acb.org), you will learn about the effects of our efforts to bring about empowerment of people who are blind. Your participation can and does matter. Individual state affiliate members who attend the ACB national conventions have opportunities to travel to new places and attend tours where they can learn more about the history and importance of the cities and states in which the conventions are held. Traveling and learning contribute to our overall sense of accomplishment and personal empowerment.

State members meet new people who are blind from all over the United States and the world. Members are invited to attend cultural diversity meetings with professionals and individuals who are blind from places such as China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Canada. People learn about how people who are blind in these countries cope with being blind, and we also have opportunities to share with them our insights and coping strategies.

Members may attend meetings of special interest affiliates that encourage individuals and groups of people who are blind to learn more about their special interest or skill and work together to educate themselves and the general public about cutting-edge techniques and technologies that lead to greater independence. Some examples of special interest groups that might appeal to individuals include Aging and Vision Loss, Visually Impaired Veterans of America, Guide Dog Users, Inc., the Council of Citizens with Low Vision (CCLVI), Diabetics in Action (ADA), readers of “Newsreelers” newsletter, Independent Visually Impaired Entrepreneurs, Friends in Art, Library Users of America, citizens concerned about Braille literacy (Braille Revival League), Randolph Shepherd Vendors, Human Service Professionals and many, many more. Members who join special interest affiliates learn about ideas that benefit them, and they are free to come home and share their newfound knowledge with fellow-members.

The exhibits are awesome! An entire hall is filled with vendors, from established technology companies, to special interest affiliates sharing their wares to state affiliate groups or individuals promoting their products and existence. Attendees come home with new devices and products that increase independence and provide just plain fun including descriptive videos, Braille jewelry, talking scales and liquid levelers just to name a few.

Individuals learn the value of being part of policy change by participating in general sessions where speakers share their knowledge, legislative seminars where discussions occur about current proposed changes to laws that affect the lives of people who are blind are discussed, and being appointed to the Resolutions Committee where members fashion the language of statements that the ACB National Office uses to advocate for policy change when lobbying on Capitol Hill.

What we think and do on a local level really does make a difference. We are urged to bring our ideas and concerns to the national advocates who are in positions to affect change and improvement in the lives of people who are blind. What we do and say does trickle down to the local level through our involvement in the national arena.

So, as you attend ACB of Oregon’s state conventions, visit the websites and read the state and national newsletters, try asking yourselves: What do I know about this that might help someone else if I share it? What else would I like to know about this subject? What needs to be done about this issue? The answers to these questions may motivate you to get more involved on the state and national levels to improve life for yourself and for others who are blind. What we do and say does make a difference. This is even more evident to us when we sit through national convention sessions. Be an advocate for change. Join us at next year’s ACB National Convention in Minneapolis, MN. It will be fun and empowering! Stay tuned for more.

ACB National Convention, 2007

I hope the following information is helpful to those of you who plan to attend the 2007 convention in Minneapolis.

Convention dates are June 30 to July 7. Convention hotels are the Hyatt Regency ($81.00 single and double, $91.00 triple and quad) and the Millennium ($84.00 single and double, $94.00 triple and quad), plus tax.

You may now make individual reservations for the 2007 convention. To make individual reservations at the Hyatt, call (800(233-1234. For reservations at the Millennium, call (612(332-6000 or (800(522-8856. Be sure to say you are with the American Council of the Blind.

End of the Stylus

Edited by John A. Fleming





Copyright © 2000 by The ACB of Oregon/Oregon Council Of The Blind