by Janet Dickelman
Due to the ever-changing restrictions involving the coronavirus and our concern for everyone’s health and safety, the American Council of the Blind has made the extremely difficult decision not to hold our 2020 conference and convention in Schaumburg, Illinois. Having a virtual convention is something new and different for all of us. As I write this, we are still working out the details.
Here is what we know thus far. We will hold our general sessions with all the great speakers including the talking book narrator, scholarship winners and presentations by blindness organizations and our sponsors. We will not be able to conduct any ACB business, including resolutions and elections.
Our special-interest affiliates and committees will hold many of their programs, as will our sponsors and business partners. We’ll have our banquet with speaker and awards presentation. We will have a virtual exhibit hall where our exhibitors will record information about their products and offer any specials. The only difference is instead of sitting in close proximity with others, you’ll be enjoying the convention practicing social distancing from the comfort of your home!
There will still be registration for the conference. By registering, you will receive some great perks!
As always, on the registration form you can become an individual sponsor, purchase a Braille Forum raffle ticket and buy your 2020 T-shirt or pin. As a convention registrant you will also be eligible for door prizes! Names will only be pulled from convention registrants; if your name is announced, you automatically win; you don’t have to call in to claim your prize.
With your convention registration there will be a way for you to ask questions during general session, receive your convention newspaper, and receive the latest information on how to access meetings. Registration will include a bidder number for the 2020 blowout auction, which will be held on ACB Radio similar to the holiday auction.
General sessions will be live streamed on ACB Radio, which you can access via your computer, your telephone, through ACB Link on your iPhone or via Alexa. Special-interest affiliates, committees and sponsor presentations will have their sessions broadcasted on ACB Radio and many of them will be held via Zoom meeting, which can be accessed on your computer or telephone.
Stay tuned; there will be much more information to come! Information will be posted to the convention announce list. If you aren’t already subscribed, just send a blank email to
We understand that a large part of the convention is the camaraderie, networking and tours. We look forward to seeing you in person next year in Phoenix.
I hope that once you get over the initial disappointment of not meeting in person, you will be as excited about our virtual convention as I am.
2020 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740, [email protected]
2020 advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625, [email protected]
For any other convention-related questions, please contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail, [email protected].