by B. E. Lewis, RDPFS Intern
This summer marked the 83rd Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), held July 1 to 7, 2023 in Houston, Texas. The program underscored the importance for blind people to remain at the center of advocacy for technology, legislation, and services. As NFB President, Mark A. Riccobono, affirmed in his speech at the banquet on July 6, 2023: “With the strength of one collective heartbeat, tonight we invite all of humanity to join our blind-centered people’s movement—we are the National Federation of the Blind.” Riccobono also provided a report that reviewed priorities. These ranged from efforts to improve outreach and effective communication with the Spanish-speaking blind, to advancing legislation related to equal access to websites, to addressing the persistent problem of the denial by rideshare drivers who refuse to transport blind passengers with guide dogs, to name a few. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who supports legislation for online accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired, spoke during the convention as well. She appears at two hours and 24 minutes into the YouTube video of General Session VI. Daily discussion sessions were recorded and are available online. Jonathan Mosen of the podcast, “Living Blindfully,” presented a notable discussion, highlighted by President Riccobano, based on the story of “The Little Red Hen.” It begins at about 56 minutes into the YouTube video of General Session V. Other sessions covered such topics as “Leveraging Personal AI to Build the Organized Blind Movement,” “Full Participation of the Disabled in America…,” and “A Report on the Federation’s Research, Training and Partnership Programs,” and much more. The convention also featured an extensive exhibit hall, including innovative products and services, foldable large screens, and much, much more. For more information and a list of exhibitors, check out the NFB Exhibit Hall webpage. The transcript of Riccobano’s report highlighting recent accomplishments and priorities can be found on the webpage on the 2023 Presidential Report. His banquet speech is also available on the page entitled “Belief, Courage, and Wisdom: Centering on the Blind People’s Movement.” For more audio and video of the other sessions as well as text of additional speeches, visit the NFB webpage on the 2023 National Convention, which includes links to and recaps of individual sessions.