“Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories” marks the theme of March, Women’s History Month 2023. The National Women’s History Alliance will be encouraging the recognition of women today and throughout history who have been active in “all forms of media and storytelling,” such as print, radio, stage, film, blogs, podcasts, and other forms of communication. As the month unfolds, this Bulletin will highlight the messages and individuals who exemplify the theme.
A Celebration of Black Women Leaders in the Blindness Field
To begin the recognition of Women’s History Month, and as we mark the conclusion of Black History Month, following are descriptions of a few of the African American women who have been leaders in the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). These descriptions are excerpted from an article in the Braille Monitor by Denise Avant, a member of the NFB Board, on Women’s History Month: A Celebration of Black Women Leaders in the National Federation of the Blind. Avant is also a member of the Black Leaders Serving for Advancement (BLSA), a subcommittee of NFB’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. In recent years, BLSA has held events to “highlight the leadership and potential leadership of Black members…” These leaders shared their stories in a BLSA program saluting Women’s History Month and moderated by Avant.
– Dorothy Griffin, current president of both NFB of Georgia and of the Metro Atlanta Chapter, “loves helping people, frequently taking calls from blind people…’to help them move to the next level, where they want to be…’” Among her many activities, she works in the media for NFB-NEWSLINE®.
– Barbara Manuel, president of NFB of Alabama, “loves to bring people together to work in the affiliate,” while serving as an advocate for members who call upon her when they have been “mistreated or discriminated against.” She balances her service with NFB with her work as a blind merchant.
– Suzanne Turner, first vice president of NFB of Ohio, shared her story about growing into her leadership position. In her early NFB career, she served as president of the Cleveland Chapter, stepping down after one year because “it was difficult for her to lead effectively…” After completing national leadership seminars, she again became president of the Chapter. “Telling her story shows her honesty and demonstrates her shared experiences with others.”
– Sabrina Simmons, second vice president of NFB of Michigan and chapter president of the Detroit Chapter, takes a “person-to-person” approach to communicate with members so that she can understand “’where they are coming from and help them move forward in their talents.’”
All four of these individuals credit the many women in their lives who served as mentors and role models, from family members to elected representatives to other NFB members, helping to “shape them into the leaders they are today.”