NABS Notes for the month of September

NABS Notes September 2016

The National Association of Blind Students
A proud division of the National Federation of the Blind.

Jump to sections

AIM HE Call to Action

The moment we, the students, have been waiting for is upon us. The Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act (AIM-HEA) has dropped! Now the responsibility of ensuring accessibility is on us, and we do not have a lot of time to delay!

Please call: (202) 224-2131

and ask to speak to your congressional representative (if you need assistance in locating your congressperson, please use this site
We should be requesting our congress people to cosponsor H.R. 6122. Remember, the sponsor is Congressmen Phil Roe (R. TN).
No organization moves legislation like we do; now, let us go and show them why accessibility is important to the National Federation of the Blind!

From your national Office

The National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of AIM HE Act: Law Will Promote Equal Access to Higher Education for People With Disabilities



Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

The National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of AIM HE Act:
Law Will Promote Equal Access to Higher Education for People With Disabilities

Washington, DC (September 23, 2016):
Today, the National Federation of the Blind commends Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) for introducing the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HE) Act (H.R. 6122). This act will promote instructional technology and content that are accessible to the blind and other students with print disabilities.

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The National Federation of the Blind
has worked for years toward the introduction of this much-needed legislation, which will give postsecondary institutions guidance to help them meet their legal obligations to students with disabilities, and also bring more accessible instructional materials to the higher education market. Blind students are adversely impacted daily by educational technologies that artificially limit students because they were designed without accessibility in mind. As a past member of the Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials, whose work identified this crucial need, and a father of three, including two daughters who are blind, I am pleased to see this goal come to fruition. We applaud Congressman Roe and Congressman Courtney for their introduction of this legislation and urge their colleagues to join them in supporting its swift passage."

Congressman Roe said:
"No student pursuing their education should be put at a disadvantage because they have a disability, and this bill simply encourages higher education institutions to provide equal access to all instructional materials. With more and more of a student's coursework requiring digital resources, it makes sense to encourage colleges and universities to make accessible material available to support all their students, including those who have a disability. I thank Rep. Courtney for partnering with me on this important issue and I look forward to moving this bill through the legislative process. I also thank all the stakeholders who have worked so hard to develop a commonsense solution that can be supported on a bipartisan basis."

Congressman Courtney said:
"As colleges and universities become more high-tech, it is only fitting that they find ways to improve learning opportunities for persons with disabilities. This is why I was pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation to help make educational materials more accessible to the disabilities community. I want to thank Rep. Roe for taking up this cause with me because there is nothing more important than making sure all Americans, including those with disabilities, have the opportunity to receive a great education."

The AIM HE Act will authorize a purpose-based commission comprised of persons with disabilities, developers, and manufacturers, as well as representatives from institutions of higher education. This commission will develop voluntary accessibility guidelines for instructional materials used in postsecondary educational programs. Additionally, the commission will be tasked with developing an annotated list of existing national and international information technology standards as an additional resource for institutions of higher education and companies that service the higher education market.

Institutions of higher education that only use technology that conforms with the guidelines will be deemed in compliance with the provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act that pertain to the use of electronic instructional materials, giving them a safe harbor protection from litigation. Colleges and universities will be permitted to use material that does not conform with the guidelines as long as equal access laws are still honored. Conformity with the AIM HE guidelines is only one path to compliance; schools can pursue a different path, but will forfeit the safe harbor legal protection.

The AIM HE Act is a collaborative legislative initiative of the National Federation of the Blind, the American Council on Education, the Association of American Publishers, Educause(r), and the Software and Information Industry Association.

Call to action for TIME Act

Dear Colleagues:

Congress will be in session just a little while longer to complete its business before members return home for the 2016 political campaign. While still at the Capitol, members of Congress are in a position to cosponsor the

TIME Act (H.R. 188 and S. 2001).

We are asking you to make three phone calls: one to your House member and one to each of your two senators. The only senators who have sponsored this bill are;

  • Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
  • Michael Bennett of Colorado

which means that those of you in New Hampshire or Colorado will only need to call one senator. Everyone else should still call both of their senators.

On the House side, there are already seventy-one supporters of this bill which are listed by state in the first attachment. You only need to call your representative if they do not appear on this list. If you are unsure of whom your members of Congress are, please contact Melissa Kroeger.

She can be reached by phone at:

(410) 659-9314,
extension 2207
or by email at:

You can also reach your member of Congress by calling the Capitol Switchboard at:
(202) 224-3121.
When you call the Switchboard, you will be asked whether you are calling to speak to a House member or Senate member. When you select Senate, you will be asked your state and be provided with the names of your senators. When you select House of Representatives, you will be asked for your ZIP code and the system will then provide you with the name of your representative.

Once connected, I suggest you say something such as:
“Hi, my name is….and I am a constituent of Representative/Senator Last Name.
I am calling to urge Representative/Senator Last Name to cosponsor H.R. 188/S. 2001, the TIME Act.
This bill will help people like me and other people with disabilities compete equally in the workforce.”

If you have time, in addition to calling, it would also be useful to send an email to the legislative director of your senators and representative. You can obtain this person’s name and email address when making the call described above.

Attached are four sample emails. Two are directed towards senators and representatives from the Republican Party and two are directed towards senators and representatives from the Democratic Party. You will need to add the name of the legislative director and the last name of the representative or senator in the appropriate bracketed areas. Please be sure to review and customize the email template before sending it and CC Kimie Beverly on all correspondence. Kimie’s email is:

Fellow Federationists, I know we have been working on this issue for a long time, but the dialogue is clearly shifting in our favor. Let us continue the work until we enjoy the same protections under our nation's wage laws as all other Americans do.

Hashtag HowEyeSeeIt

Dear Federation Affiliate Leaders:

Some of you have brought to my attention the social media campaign using the
hashtag #HowEyeSeeIt. The people using this hashtag are making videos of
themselves attempting to do everyday tasks under blindfold with the
misguided view that this experience will help them know what it is like to
be blind. The motivation for the campaign is to raise funding to eliminate
blindness. We in the National Federation of the Blind know that blindness
doesn't hold us back. We also know that living with blindness requires
learning the techniques blind people use to do everyday tasks without
vision. We are not opposed to medical research, but the way to generate
interest in medical research is not by further spreading the fear of
blindness and strengthening misconceptions about the lived experience of
blind people.

The current videos being circulated with the #HowEyeSeeIt campaign are
perpetuating the idea that blindness is something to be feared and that
blind people adhere to low expectations. Some of the tasks people are
encouraged to do in this campaign are having a friend give them an
unidentified amount of cash and then, under blindfold, attempting to pay for
a meal with this money. Another particularly outrageous example is people
are asked to attempt to take care of your child for one minute while
blindfolded. At a time when we have launched new efforts for blind parents
who have their children take away because of misconceptions about blindness,
this is dangerous and offensive. These examples and the dozens of others
used in the campaign rely on the notion that vision is a requirement for
success, but we know the truth-blindness does not define us or our future.

It is critical that we now join together to combat this harmful campaign. I
urge all Federation leaders to lead by example and to encourage the members
of the Federation in your state to join with me in changing the perception
that blindness is something to be feared and that significantly limits our
lives. Now is the time to turn our fear into power and that power into
action. We have the opportunity to demonstrate how we live the lives we want
as blind people in a commanding way. All you have to do is:

  1. Make a video of yourself accomplishing an everyday task as a blind
    person. For example, show how you
    • dance
    • sing
    • exercise
    • care for your
    • go to school
    • work
    • play sports
    • manage your finances
    • travel
    • participate in social events
    • enjoy your hobbies
    • in short, take a video of
      yourself living the life you want.
  2. At the end of your video, say that you're a proud member of the
    National Federation of the Blind, and tag three friends or family members to
    keep the trend going. You can also urge your audience to make a donation to
    the NFB.
  3. Upload your video to social media using the hashtag #HowEyeSeeIt.
    Make sure to link to, our website
    and tag
    the NFB in your Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram post. If the people you
    mentioned in your video are on social media, be sure to tag them too.

Together, we can show the world that blindness is not what holds us back by
demonstrating how we live the lives we want. We've published a blog, "
Challenging The Fear of Blindness
that I encourage you to share. Please be sure to share
with me other ideas you have about how we take this opportunity to
demonstrate the truth about blindness. Send me an email with your ideas to

Please provide me with updates on how the effort is moving forward in your affiliate and how I can help.

Let us work together with love, hope, and determination to erase the fear of
blindness and raise expectations.

NABS Board Meeting Minutes

Board Meeting Minutes
, 2016

Meeting called to order at: 9:02 P.M

Members Present:.

  • Kathryn Webster (President)
  • Bre Brown (1st Vice President)
  • Syed Rizvi (2nd Vice President)
  • Luke Schwinck (Treasurer)
  • Michael Ausbun (Secretary)
  • Vee Gaspa (Board Member 1)
  • Tarik Williams (Board Member 2)
  • Chris Nusbaum (Board member 3)
  • Bryan Duarte (Board Member 4)

Treasurer’s Report:

Checking account balance: 5727.02

Committee Reports


  1. There has been a formulation of a variety of subcommittees.
  2. The Fantasy Football Extravaganza has gotten off without a hitch.
  3. There has been some complications with the Greek Blitz fundraiser.
  4. We are expecting the Meet the Blind Month fundraisers to be more successful; stay tuned.
  5. Fundraising efforts for Washington Seminar is beginning to gear up; donations, auction items and door prizes, oh my.
  6. Schwink will be getting in touch with each board member to discuss meet the blind month events.


  1. Communication with people on the committee has been difficult.
  2. There has only been one additional letter received thus far; we need all we can get!
  3. We have three university president meetings coming shortly–University of Nevada, Tousen University, and George Washington.
  4. A sample president meeting recording will be forth coming in the near future.


  1. Modification to the resource section of the webpage.
  2. September Membership call: community service; how to get involved on your campus and in your macro and micro communities.
  3. November membership call: to be announced
  4. A twitter chat is under construction; a very real possibility. Stay tuned!


li>First meeting was a booming success!

  • The NABS notes have been converted to HTML.
  • Seven potential updates are ready for blog posts; we are always looking for more!
  • New structure to the blogs:
    • Technology: information pertaining to assistive technology, which will give students equitable opportunities to succeed.
    • Testimonials: the standard, old style of blog posts.
    • Trivia: answer the questions, and you have the potential to win some prizes…good luck!
  • Individual committee updates will now be included in the NABS notes!
  • It has been stressed, in order for each committee to succeed; communication needs to be at its best. Nesma (Maryland Association of Blind Students) will be in contact.

  • State Updates

    Board member Gaspa:

    WI: Excited to work with their student liaison, and will be having a request for a student rep
    NH: starting a student division hopefully
    DE: Gaspa will be heading to Delaware
    NM: Eric Gordan is no longer the president; Gaspa says she is having difficulty getting contact information

    Board member Williams:

    Having some difficulties getting in contact with the students
    ME: there is no student contact in Maine.

    Board member Nusbaum:

    MN/WA: student contacts are silent.

    Board Member Duarte:

    AZ: The state convention was amazing.
    OH: Duarte will be attending the Ohio convention; he has five different contacts for students. Anil Lewis is the national Rep.
    ND: there are a lot of questions; not very many solutions
    AR: may be requesting a NABS rep, but the Affiliate president has become silent.
    CA: Duarte will be attending the California convention; it is going to be awesome! Dr. Mauer is the rep

    New Business:

    1. Washington Seminar
    • Schwink, Ausbun, and Webster will be serving on the funding committee
  • Fiftieth Anniversary committee:
    • Rizvi and Webster will be serving on this committee
  • Expectations
    • We need to ensure that our goals are steadily being completed, and our communication with one another is on its best game. We got off to a great start, let us not falter now!

    Meeting adjourned at: 9:58 P.M. or Kathryn Webster (, so we can get AIM-HEA passed when it drops. In the past month, we have only received one student letter. Washington Seminar is coming up soon, stay tuned for future updates!

    Membership Committee

    1. We discussed membership calls for September and November. We will
      be collaborating with the community service division for September
    2. We discussed the possibility of having a twitter chat in late October.
    3. we are beginning the process of redesigning the resources section
      on our webpage.
    4. Our next call will be on October 2nd at 8:00 pm eastern.

    August Blog Post

    This months blog is featuring Holly Scott-Gardner, a 22 year old federationist from the UK. Read along with us to find out how Holly went from an outgoing confident girl to someone who was afraid to be herself in public. They say love can walk through fire without blinking, and for Holly love allowed her to achieve her dreams.

    Follow this link to read the full story.
    Read more

    Thank you and enjoy

    Student division updates by state


    Greetings from the Arizona student division!
    The Arizona affiliate is growing rapidly and with this growth we are working to grow our student involvement as well. We just held our state convention where we welcomed our national rep. along with her husband Pam & Roland Allen. Only at an Arizona convention would you have remixed version of the Ghostbusters song sang with NFB lyrics, swimming in September, and samurai sord training! Along with all the fun we held elections for the 2016 - 2017 student association board. We are excited to welcome the new board consisting of:
    Bryan Duarte (President), Brittany Bomboy (1st Vice), McDaniel Murrieta (2nd Vice), Isaac Zwinger (Treasurer), Christian Able (Secratary), Jessica Rojas (Board 1), and Zeynep Yilmaz (Board 2). The new board has lots of goals and plans in store for the student division this year and is excited to get started. With Hope, Love, and Determination we will build the federation in Arizona! Thanks


    We are gearing up for convention in sunny Southern California. The California student division is abuzz with excitement. We will be putting on a 50/50 plus fundraiser raffle. The winner will get half the "loot" and a bonus of a $25 Amazon gift card. Also, during our annual meeting, all attendees who register at the door, will be entered into a drawing for a $40 Starbuck's gift card (this should help with those late night study binges) not to mention help ensure that the CABS annual meeting will be "the place to be" on Friday October 21, 2016. We will be having an audience participation portion where our students and attendees can pick the brains of our panel, that includes a technology trainer and current chapter president, a recent grad of the esteemed Louisianna Center for the Blind, and a current CABS board member who has great advice on college survival skills. It's going to be a fabulous weekend at the Embassy Suites in El Segundo, CA. October 20-23, 2016.


    Finally it's football season again! So once again we are having our NFL survivor pool fundraiser. In addition we are selling energy shots at our local chapters and other events and will continue to do so into our state convention coming up in October. Of course, with the upcoming convention, we are planning our business meeting and hoping to reach out to students, teachers, parents and others.
    We are also looking forward to our student luncheon on September 24. We will be gathering at a restaurant in downtown Denver to meet, socialize, and network with fellow blind students. We are still working closely with the Colorado Center for the Blind and the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind in mentoring activities. Additionally, we are connecting with AER and other professionals to reach out to teachers and those who work with blind students.


    The Maryland Association of Blind Students is hard at work planning an unforgettable program of student activities befitting our afiliate’s golden anniversary convention. Even in this early stage of planning, our business meeting agenda is already shaping up to be one of the most informative and empowering we have ever had. Much of this commendable work can be attributed to our talented Convention Planning Committee Chair, Erin Daring, and her team of student leaders from on and off the MDABS Board. If you’re in the area, plan to join us October 28-30 at the beautiful Baltimore Marriot Inner Harbor at Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore for what is sure to be a memorable convention experience!


    The Massachusetts Association of Blind Students has had a wonderfully busy start to the school year. We are looking forward to our chapter walks, with the Cambridge Chapter Walk happening September 25th and the Springfield Chapter Walk on October 2nd. As we approach the month of October, MASSABS is gearing up to participate in Meet the Blind Month by working with out state and chapter leadership to introduce the community to seeing us live the lives we want. The MASSABS board is also getting ready to host our annual OCotober Student Social, where we gather students from all over the state to discuss what we're working on at the state and national level. Happy start to the semester!


    The Nevada Association of Blind students is changing what it means to be blind! We are holding a White Cane Safety day event at the University of Nevada, in order to promote awareness and education concerning the white cane and blindness. Additionally, you can join us at our state convention November 11, from 3:00-4:45 P.M. We have a dynamic group of speakers, including President Mark Riccobono, first Lady Melissa Riccobono, Nevada Affiliate President, and TenBroek fellow, Kimmie Beverly, National Organization of Parents of Blind Children board member Terri Rup, First Vice President of NABS Bre Brown, a paraolimpian, and AT Guys. Do not miss out!

    North Carolina

    The North Carolina Association of Blind Students (NCABS) just returned
    from a great convention in Charlotte, NC. We have a new board of
    leaders and are excited for the upcoming year. Our board is as
    President: Kenia Flores
    1st Vice President: Adia Barry
    2nd Vice President: Crystal Plemmons
    Treasurer: Alan Chase
    Secretary: Cassidy Hooper


    Howdy all, we are gearing up for a busy time here in Texas. We are in
    the process of planning a meet the blind month/fund raising event that
    will be held in Austin at the end of October. We will be partnering
    with the Austin chapter to put on the event.
    Secondly, we will be having our state convention on November 4-6 in
    McAllen, Texas. Our national representative is Ron Brown, and we are
    looking forward to having him here in the Lone Star state. The student
    division will have a table at the at the exhibit hall, our annual
    business meeting, and will help with other aspects of the convention.
    Lastly, I hope everyone is having a great semester, and texs will be
    sure to keep everyone in the loop about our events.