by Eric Bridges
Far too often in the media, people who are blind or visually impaired are portrayed in two ways. Either we are shown as heroes who have overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers, or characterized as helpless victims who have been taken advantage of by scam artists and thieves. There seems to be very little middle ground in coverage. Do we lead regular lives? Of course, but the extremes appear to receive the lion’s share of coverage. Additionally, when the subject of employment is raised within the community, the tenor of the discussion often becomes emotional. Expressions of frustration and anxiety regarding the ongoing challenges that people who are blind or visually impaired continue to experience when seeking employment are quite prevalent. Many of these emotions may come from the misperceptions by employers and some in the general public regarding the capabilities of people who are blind.
In an effort to show a more complete depiction of who we are as a community, ACB embarked on a project. “BlindAbility: Willing, Able, and Seeking Opportunity” was created to highlight the abilities of blind individuals. This video can be used as an educational tool for hiring managers, HR professionals, or the general public.
At press time, the video has been viewed over 2,100 times. What is even more impressive is the list of corporations that have shown or agreed to utilize our video with their employees. Sprint, IBM, and JPMorgan Chase showed the BlindAbility video during ADA celebrations at their headquarters in July. Microsoft has incorporated the video in its HR toolkit for internal use. Both JPMorgan Chase and IBM have made the video available to their employees inside the company intranet and have blogged about its import. During October, JPMC also played the video in a loop in the lobby of their headquarters in New York City for two weeks.
Would your affiliate, company, school, organization or agency be interested in showing or viewing our video? If so, let us know! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To watch the video, go to www.acb.org/BlindAbility, then choose whether you want the described version or the closed-captioned version.