DEDICATED TO IMPROVING THE LIVES OF BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE

Resources for Partners June 19,2020

Three Days to Celebrate – Juneteenth, Summer Solstice, Father’s Day

Day One – June 19th – Juneteenth

Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery, starts off our three days of celebration. Mainstream media is awash with formal explanations of its significance, but this personal account which came via email resonated. “This is a day that my grandmother taught me to honor as the beginning of a new life for the African diaspora,” wrote Jason-Maurice Forbes, a digital strategist. “She was very close to her African-American heritage and wanted to impart that to me.” So “..she would replace my Hooked on Phonics books with ones she felt were more suitable.”

Speaking of Children’s Books

Nancy Miller at Visions asked us to do a little research about books featuring black children who are also blind. This is what turned up.

Colours of Us, a United Kingdom website that is “all about multicultural children’s books” has lists not only of books, but also of multicultural toys and clothing. They include Vision to Dream, about Landon’s discovery of Beep Baseball and My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay about a blind girl who wants to race in her pink ballet slippers on field day – and does. A third book on the list, Knots on a Counting Rope, is also available from National Braille Press. All items can be order from Amazon directly from the Colours website.

Rainbow Joe and Me, a picture book about a young artist and her neighbor, and Listen for the Fig Tree, about how a sixteen-year-old girl’s first celebration of Kwanzaa gives her a sense of the past and strength to deal with her troubled mother and her own blindness, can also be found on Amazon.

We’re looking for additions to the list, so please write us

Social Justice and Disability

On Monday, WNYC public radio in New York City aired a segment titled “The Overlooked Reality of Police Violence Against Disabled Black Americans,” featuring Haben Girma, disability rights advocate, Harvard Law graduate, and woman who is deaf blind. Said Haben, “…when we don’t comply because we didn’t hear the command or we can’t move in a certain way, or we don’t see a physical gesture, or maybe there’s an invisible disability and like a psychiatric disability, then the noncompliance is interpreted as threatening.” To read the full transcript.

Last week we mentioned the conversations parents will need to have with their disabled children around civil unrest and dealing with authorities. Forbes magazine’s June 8 issue had an article titled For Mothers Of Black Children With Disabilities, Living With Twice The Fear. The article focused on children with autism, but parents of children who are blind may be asking similar questions.

Day Two June 20 – Celebrating the Solstice

For those of you who are on Facebook, try “Summer Solstice at Stonehenge: Live!” It runs 8:30 PM to 5:30 A.M. UTC +01. According to our research, UTC is four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time. The only downside is that the days will be getting shorter.

Day Three – June 21 – Father’s Day

In “How Did I Do As A Blind Dad,” Mike Lambert reflects on the trials and triumphs of bringing up his sighted daughter, now a university student. “Caitlin insists that being an occasional guide always felt natural, never a chore. ‘It’s like you’re an extension of me and I have a sense of the space we’re taking up,’ she explains. I remember when she was very young, those roles were in reverse. I protected her and it felt like it was she who could be described as a natural extension of me.

David Kosub, a biomedical researcher and Federal employee, wrote “Parenting While Legally Blind: Secrets of a Visually Impaired New Dad” on Fatherly.com. His hints for new dads who are blind are written with reverence and good humor. “I sense that my newborn’s love language is touch. She cannot get enough skin-to-skin contact with mom and dad. She calms down when grasping my finger. And she zonks out when I have her in my wearable carrier. To the visually impaired new dads out there: Please wear your baby!

Now Dance

Abilities Dance Boston artistic director Ellice Patterson creates dance classes for Our Space Our Place in Roxbury, Massachusetts, an afterschool program for blind children, where students perform original pieces and end the season with a recital. Patterson, who integrates her walker into her dances, wanted to join a professional company. “I decided that if there was not an institution for me and run by people like me then I would create it. Abilities Dance -Boston was born.” Company dancer Louisa Mann is teaching the class remotely from New York this year.

And Laugh

The Summit (NJ) Patch online paper reported that an occupational therapist created a colorful “sensory pathway” in chalk on the sidewalk in front of her home. The path encourages people to perform tasks as they walk along, including laughing and braying like a donkey. Entire families come and go through the pathway together. We bet there’s some creative person out there to make an accessible route.

And Listen to the Music

If you didn’t get the email about the FMDG Music School’s Spring concert, take a few minutes to listen here.

P.S.

Staff at VIA, in Buffalo, New York, will be using the King Finger UV-C Sanitizer Portable Wand to sterilize surface of all kinds.

Hint from a recipe site. To get only the edible parts of an asparagus spear, just grasp the spear on both ends and bend from the woody end. The spear will snap at just the right spot. No knives needed.

TMAP: Tactile Maps Automated Production, from the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco and Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, offers on-demand tactile street maps. Maps are $25.

Speaking of maps, ACB Radio is hosting Matt Vollbrecht, Certified Apple Teacher, for a session TODAY at 3 p.m. ET to have Apple Maps, “an app often associated with sighted users, made easy for you”.

We are unable to guarantee accessibility of the websites included, so please report any that are problematic. Thank you.