Meeting Minutes: August 1, 2023
The public meeting of the Board of Publications was commenced at approximately 8 p.m. Eastern tinem. BOP members present were Penny, Cachet, Jeff, Cheryl, as well as Sharon Lovering, Editor; Larry Gassman, who provided an ACB Media update; Katie as past chair; Cecily Nipper, Board Representative; Dan Spoone, Executive Director; and President Deb Cook Lewis, who streamed the meeting. Zelda was absent.
Welcome and Review of Agenda
Penny called the meeting to order. The agenda had been distributed to the BOP and ACB members prior to the meeting, and there were no additions or corrections.
Approval of June Minutes
Cachet made a motion to approve the minutes from the June BOP meeting, Cheryl seconded the motion, and the minutes were approved unanimously, without additions or corrections.
Penny states that she has spoken with Zelda about taking minutes for BOP meetings. Cachet agreed to capture the minutes for tonight’s meeting in Zelda’s absence. Penny will confirm with Zelda, after the next meeting's roll call, if she is in agreement to take minutes thereafter.
Penny states that she enjoys being the BOP representative at the Board of Director’s meeting, if we are in agreement, she would like to continue to do so. Noone Opposed
The BOP moderates the conversation list, Penny states this entails keeping up with what’s going on with the list to ensure that things don’t go awry that need to be addressed. Cachet volunteered and states that, because of the volume of traffic, it needs to be more than one person. Jeff volunteered and added that he would not want to be the primary person.
Deb states that she would still be assisting with the list.
Katie added that because of the workload it should be 2 or 3 persons.
Penny stated that she would start off the moderating, and if she needs help, she would reach out to us.
Penny suggested adjusting the meeting time to 9 p.m. Eastern to give Cheryl time to commute. Cheryl states that she can commit to being available at 830pm. Discussion was had on the various reasons that included allowing more time for members who attended Tuesday Topics to be present. It was agreed that we would try 8:30pm EST for the September meeting.
Public’s Point of View
1. Rev. Ray Raysor: Congratulated Penny on her appointment to Chair. Rev Ray inquired of the deadline for submitting articles to the Braille Forum. Penny explained that dates are published on both leadership and conversation list. Deb states that she uses the 22nd of the month as a benchmark date of the upcoming deadlines, which is generally 6 weeks out from publishing. Sharon covered deadlines for October E Forum- August 25; November, Hard Copy- September 25; December E-Forum- October 24; January 2024 Hard Copy- November 20th due to Thanksgiving.
2. Terry Pacheco- Congratulated those appointed and elected to the BOP. She is looking forward to seeing good things coming from the BOP this year and hearing about it at each of the Board of Directors meeting. She states good luck on the massive amount of work the Board has ahead of them.
3. Michael Babcock- He states that he wants to voice his desire to the BOP to explore what's possible and what it entails for ACB as a whole getting on Mastodon. Penny states that Kelly is exploring and Jonathan Mosen recommends it as the best and blind-friendly as an alternative to Twitter.
4. Jamaica Miller – She ask question about the "Member on the Mic" being on the Voices Blog and how to listen to it, accessing it from the computer. Penny instructed her on the steps of how to access when it comes out.
Sharon had provided the following report via the BOP e-mail list:
Editor’s Report August 2023
Issue type: hard copy
Page count: 48
Braille distributed: 502
Braille returned: 0
Braille return rate: 0%
Braille received: 502
Cartridge distributed: 334
Large print distributed: 2,151
Large print returned: 25
Large print return rate: 1.2%
Large print received: 2,126
Email distributed: 5,373
Email bounces: 25
Spam reports: 0
Return rate: 0.46%
Electronic received: 5,348
Issue type: electronic
Email to be distributed on 7/31: 5,362
Issue type: hard copy
Page count: 48
Braille to be distributed: 497
Cartridge to be distributed: TBA
Large print to be distributed: 2,114
Email to be distributed: TBA
Deadlines for the Next Issues
October (electronic): employment/training/voc rehab/white cane day; deadline: August 25, 2023
November (hard-copy): Audio Description Project; deadline: September 25, 2023
December (electronic): International Relations Committee; deadline: October 24, 2023
January 2024: theme TBA; deadline: November 20, 2023
If your affiliate or committee would like to stake a claim on one of 2024’s issues, please contact me via email, [email protected].
July’s Table of Contents
President’s Message: New Year’s Resolutions, by Deb Cook Lewis
Last-Minute Convention Reminders, by Janet Dickelman
Summary of the April 25, 2023 Board Meeting, by Penny Reeder
The Importance of Chapter and Affiliate Membership, compiled by Ardis Bazyn
What Is Accessible Transportation?, by Daveed Mandell
A Tale of Two Ereaders: The Good News Launched by NLS, by Deborah Kendrick
Ten Books Each Blind Person Should Read, by Frank Strong
Here and There, edited by Cynthia G. Hawkins
High Tech Swap Shop
August’s Table of Contents
President’s Message: Memorable Travel, by Deb Cook Lewis
Thanks to You, the ACB Summer Auction Was a Success!, by Leslie Spoone
Disneyland, by Toni Eames
Mad Dogs, Bad Dogs, and a Tale of Two Booties, by Janet Di Nola Parmerter
Our Unforgettable France Experience, by Katie Frederick with Vicky Prahin
My Trip to Germany, by Jean Mann
An Anarchist’s Handi-Cassette, by Peter Heide
To Take Out or Not to Take Out, That Is the Question, by Janet Di Nola Parmerter
Accessibility and Video Games: All Ages Gaming for People with Disabilities
Here and There, edited by Cynthia G. Hawkins
September’s Table of Contents
President’s Message: Our Convention Is Really Back, by Deb Cook Lewis
Capitol Capsules: Update on Accessible Currency, by Dan Spoone
2023 Convention Elects New Officers, Board and BOP Members, and More, by Sharon Lovering, Penny Reeder, Katie Frederick, Cachet Wells, and Cheryl Cumings
2023 Conference and Convention Wrap-Up, by Janet Dickelman
Introducing the 2023 DKM First-Timers and JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows, by Kenneth Semien Sr.
Congratulations to the 2023 Scholarship Winners!, by Denise Colley
A Convention That Soared to New Heights, by Anthony Corona
Applause to Prose and Poetry, by Annie Chiappetta, FIA President
Let’s Get Ready for the Holiday Auction!, by Leslie Spoone
Nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies and the American Council of the Blind Announce Updated Initiative to Provide Accessible Credit Reports
Making My Own Luck, by Deborah Armstrong
How to Meet the Growing Challenge of an Increasing Population of Older Americans with Vision Loss, by Larry Johnson
My Unexpected Mentee, by Melody Holloway
Ski for Light Hunts for the Hodag in Rhinelander, by Melinda Hollands
Here and There, edited by Cynthia G. Hawkins
I continue to work with the communications team, the credentials committee (but I don’t know how much longer that will last; Minnesota plans to take over all membership duties beginning in January), the board of publications and the awards committee.
I continue to put together the Dots and Dashes newsletter. The most recent one went out yesterday. There will be another on August 14th.
I’m still working with the archives/history committee on preserving and digitizing old recordings and documents from ACB events, and identifying people in photos. Part of that work includes cleaning up and modernizing old issues of the Forum to current large print standards and organizing them on our Sharepoint drive. In the last year, I have finished 1990 through 1997, 1982, 1983, and 1985, and have November and December of 1984 yet to do. These are taking a little more time due to the binding of the hard-cover 1984 book.
I continue to record the Washington Connection, and some of the other boxes on our phone system, such as the national convention box, the scholarship information, and the state convention box. I updated the Washington Connection on July 25th with lots of hot off the press legislative items, including the reintroduction of the Communications, Video and Technology Accessibility Act, accessible credit reports, advocacy on accessible autonomous vehicles, and a DOJ proposed rule to strengthen web and mobile app access for people with disabilities, among many other items.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Sharon advises the following corrections:
1. August 2023- 5362 emails distributed
2. Cartridges- 334 distributed in July
3. Penny asked if there were any dramatic differences. Sharon states just a few deceased and a number of people with 3 or 4 cartridges out. Sharon reminded members to return cartridges to get the next issue.
4. Sharon states that the September issue is ready to go out the door to the producer tomorrow morning.
We currently have themes for every issue of the ACB Braille Forum through December 2023 which will feature International Relations. The following themes were decided for 2024: January – Looking ahead to 2024 Goals & Reflections, February – Civil Rights, Freedom & Voting; March – Potluck.
We want to encourage Committees and Affiliates to submit articles on their plans for 2024. Voting starts early per Dan, around January 15, 2024. Affiliates can share any voting initiatives that they have currently in progress or have worked out.
Deb suggest even included Clark Rachfal to provide an overview of where we are on ACB initiatives leading into the Leadership Conference.
Article submission is continuous and can be submitted on any topic or idea regardless of the theme with a wordcount maximum of 800 words. Articles received will be published, after final editing, as space allows in any given issue. Affiliates and committees that are featured are encouraged to submit a maximum of 6 articles for that issue.
Zelda absent; no available update, the next editors’ workshop meeting will take place on the 8th of September.
ACB Voices Blog
Penny confirmed with Katie if the Member on the Mic feature of Sheila Young had been posted to which Katie was working on then. Penny suggests that because Anthony has a lot of inventory completed that we return to posting once a month with an introduction to another type blog posting.
Anthony states that he has just completed one for Jamaica Miller and has 3 more pending completion by the 15th. Anthony explained that he is handling all communications and recordings, Tim is doing the editing and Lisa is doing the transcriptions currently. He has already reached out to Denise and started working on another spinoff to the MOM (Member on the Mic) which is Scholarship Spotlight. Anthony later stated that he will put in writing, all his steps and the editing timelines in a document for the BOP to review in the Dropbox. Cheryl and Cachet agreed to walk through the editing process with Anthony to get understanding of his system from beginning to end.
Cachet states that although they both are good ideas, that BOP needs to adhere to what was previously agreed upon, which was to review it after 3 months, solidify procedural guidelines and make sure there is a working team in place to continue the process of the work long term. This ensures that its not one or two persons making all the decisions and that there is a collective effort with BOP and the Member on the Mic project. Now we’re hearing that there have been more segments done, after being told not to continue, until those things have been further discussed. This clearly shows disregard to what was decided and that we are not all on the same page. To thrust into another project without clear and concise guidelines of MOM doesn’t make for wise decision.
Cheryl asked for clarification from Anthony of what the training for MOM, will include. To which he replied the processes that have been taken to capture the recording, editing and transcriptions. She added that anyone can submit names of persons who are candidates to be featured with MOM.
Dan expressed caution to Cachet’s point that it seems to look like repeatable work to organize and put together another project when there is no committee supporting this project. There could be value in thinking of putting a workable plan in place first, creating a schedule and making sure that we have volunteer support to assist long term. Learning what we are asking others to do is a good first step.
Further discussion was had on how we could increase writers and subscribers to the Voices Blog. This included repurposing articles from Dots and Dashes, Braille Forum article summaries with link to the completed article, encouraging Committees and Affiliates to write or share planned events and advertising in other areas.
Cachet emphasized the purpose of a blog is to showcase to an external community what is happening internally within ACB. Therefore the goal is to have content that is available that causes others to inquire of ACB.
Jeff encouraged BOP to think about Who do we want to reach? Who is our audience? Are we communicating with ourselves and using other platforms. He suggest ACB Media look at what it would take to add content using Eleven Labs to add to media channels 1, 10 and Podcasts feeds to extend our reach.
Deb added the Braille Forum feed. Larry, Jeff and Rick will continue the conversation to work out details.
Penny suggested that someone reach out to VisionServe Alliance. The plan is to talk about the blog at the next editor’s workshop as we continue to keep the conversation on the table.
Penny explains the responsibility of BOP to present to the Board of Directors its recommendations as it pertains to the cost of providing 12 issues of Braille Forum. Sharon will share to the list, all the specifics to consider, for further discussion and recommendations by October.
ACB Media Report
Larry states that the communications team is developing survey which will soon come out for convention feedback. The goal is to have the survey out about 2- 3 weeks, with results presented at the fall Board meeting on September 29th.
He also states that Rick has been working on stat work to include hourly looks on streaming with feed break down. Looking at numbers of how many persons were listening in various areas. Larry mentioned that they are working on podcasts with several editors and anticipate being completed by the end of August, maybe mid-September. He encouraged members to be patient as state conventions are ramping up as they balance workload. The support committee will be getting back together in August. Larry recognized and thanked the work of team members: Brynn, Joyce, Dennis and Cecily who did a great job at convention, as we are happy with the outcome because of what they had improved. In addition, he thanked Jeff for his work with ACB Link.
Penny complimented Brynn for working in individual rooms at convention.
Dan advises that the general selections have been released by Dennis for Rick to review.
Cachet mentioned remarks about audio feedback from post-convention calls that many persons were please with audio quality and improvements.
Penny advised that she and Jeff heard from Lori Scharff with SASI about including additional ways of accessing podcast content for their members.
Deb explained that she’s spoken with Lori concerning issue and they've already moved on this matter. We actually can't transmit ASL feeds because they are reasonable accommodations tailored to the individual receiving services, which require a lot of permissions. We can include captioning transcript to podcast as podcast notes on sessions like SASI events, general sessions and MCAC which is the best way for us, since we don’t do video/YouTube feed, because our method of distribution is podcast.
Penny asked how is adding ASL different than adding audio description?
Deb replied that ASL is an individual request and it’s also visual. Whereas audio description is not tailored to individual needs, it’s just like captioning, it’s generic and when it’s provided it's for everyone.
Penny questioned that if SASI's committee requested their activity have ASL next year, could that happen? Deb responded no, because it’s a very individualized request between interpreter and the person requiring services. We absolutely do ASL as an individual service when requested. In general, the rules are you can't share it back, it belongs to the interpreter and the person receiving the specific service. Which may not be useful to other people, whose ASL personal requirements may be different. It's not a practice to provide that as a public feed, but the captioning can. Typically, at conventions or events, it’s generally only requested by presenters. Most members identified as deaf or hard of hearing are English users. SASI agreed totally and are good with this as an accessible solution, which is to add the transcript. Most SASI participants are actually using ALD’s and voicing plus captioning.
Cheryl asked if at some point we decided that we wanted an ASL presenter at the general session, is it still an individual request?
Deb responded that If it’s part of a video, we'd have to get permissions in advanced to be generically used. She states that SASI agreed that their members are not ASL users, but what they do need is ALD’s and tactile sign which is individualized accommodations. We should stay open to the conversation in the event we need to figure it out differently later.
Penny expands conversation by asking whether we could link to the transcription that Zoom provides. Deb responded yes, we could; when we do have captioning, we have to turn that off. We don't always know far ahead if we have a captioning request. It is not on for most sessions, and we can put up the Zoom transcripts. They are not as good as captioning, and they are pretty hard to read.
Jeff states that the podcast service we use offers AI transcriptions which are quite good. I encourage the ACB Media Support Committee take a look at that and come back to BOP with a proposal, because it will need budget to do this. It needs to be investigated, tested and determined viability with some of our sample content. We have a good rapport with the Pinecast team, who works closely with ACB Media team already. The developer of Pinecast have access to our site to assist on occasion. They can automate this process and make the transcripts appear automatically in podcast feed. As soon as podcast episode is uploaded, it gets transcribed and the content automatically appears in RSS feed. If someone is subscribed to the podcasts feed, they automatically get the transcription.
Penny expresses to the ACB Media Support Committee members present: Larry, Jeff, Deb, Cheryl to review along with Rick that as we continue to make things accessible for Spanish, low vision or total that our deaf community needs are just as important too.
Dan reminds everyone that all of the General Sessions, Banquets, Resolutions, Constitution and Bylaws are already captioned. We currently provide CART service along with all SASI events.
Penny replies that this is something those of us who can't see wouldn’t know and it should be advertised. Dan and Deb agreed it has been advertised and it's been approved by the Board and is in everything we do.
Deb cautions that we need to respond to things that we are actually being asked to do and not create a lot of extra work or expense. When we look at those participating in this organization, most are well served by Zoom because they can connect to their hearing aids. We don't appeal culturally to people who are not English-speaking deaf people right now. In general, with a few exceptions, most of SASI people are not using captioning; they are using ALD’s in the room and Zoom directly in their hearing aids.
As we think about budget impacting issues, let's think about the things we are being asked for. Right now our commitment is that any sessions that have asked to have captioned specifically or asked for an interpreter, we have been doing it for some time. We produce a lot of accessible material and we’re making sure it's available after convention. What we need to do is link captions paid for to the podcast. That is what is being asked and we can do that. If we have a resource to get more captionable material, it may probably be less than CART, but it doesn't happen in real time, only after the fact. If we are paying for both, we need to look at that doubling.
We really need to look at what is being asked for by members. What puts us in a proactive place? Are we prepared readily to accommodate request received from members and guests who participate? The people who are our hearing impaired are not from the absolutely not hearing community, but the hard of hearing community. If we can do better to provide tandem experience so they have captioning and audio, we can serve them well. If we can get them linked better that is part of the move forward.
Penny asked Deb about Cindy’s group doing the survey.
Deb explained that they have been asked to wait until after the convention survey period. They will use Survey Monkey to poll Braille and large print users and subscribers first, then they will follow-up with calls. They are looking to do it in September, with the hope of completing before budget cycle for the board meeting. A notice will be sent out that members can scan an answer in the Braille Forum.
The August 1, 2023 meeting of the Board of Publications adjourned at 9:35 p.m. Eastern time. The next BOP meeting is scheduled for September 1, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
August 14, 2023