by Janet Dickelman
We’re getting set for the 2021 virtual conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind. Our first ever virtual convention last year was amazing, and this year looks to be even better. All sessions, with the exception of affiliate mixers and business meetings, will be streamed live on ACB Radio. This means we will have 8 consecutive streams, including audio- described tours, exhibitor channel and up to 6 sessions for our special-interest affiliates, committees and business partners. All times listed are Eastern time.
Our opening general session will be Sunday evening, July 18 at 7 p.m. Daily sessions will run Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the Friday session will run until 4 p.m. If needed to complete our elections, we will have a session on Saturday, July 24.
An Evening with ACB
Each evening there will be special programming.
Friday, July 16
You’ll get back-to-back entertainment on July 16th. First is ACB Film Night, which features a showing of the 2021 Academy Award-winning best picture with audio description. Afterward, enjoy the Friends-in-Art Showcase of the Performing Arts.
Saturday, July 17: Get Up and Get Moving Campaign Kick-Off
Join ACB leaders and our Health Hero partners as we officially kick off the Get Up and Get Moving Campaign. The campaign raises awareness of the critical issues for people who are blind and visually impaired seeking to take back their health as we all come out of the pandemic. Learn how you can be a part of this three-year campaign and take the Get Up and Get Moving Challenge.
Sunday, July 18: Opening general session
Monday, July 19: Audio Description and Streaming Services
Industry panel featuring representatives from major streaming services to discuss their products, programming, services, and offerings.
Tuesday, July 20: ACB Diamond Jubilee Auction
Over 60 items with exciting vacations, scrumptious treats, latest technology and unique crafts. Request a bidder number when you register for the convention. Be a part of the fun and join us via Zoom, or listen on ACB Radio. Can’t wait for the auction to begin? Watch your email on Thursday, July 15th and Friday the 16th for the Appetizer Auctions, where a handful of items will be up for bid several times a day.
Wednesday, July 21: Increasing Financial Literacy
Financial issues touch every aspect of our lives. The more we can learn about successfully navigating this whole area of interest, the more successful we can become in handling various financial matters that contribute to our independence. Although we could never hope to fully handle this subject in one panel session, we are presenting a sampling of topics we believe will be of interest and assistance to convention attendees: credit report accessibility, making bank deposits using your iPhone, and using Excel for pivot tables and data types.
Thursday, July 22: ACB Banquet
Will feature presentations of ACB awards and keynote speaker Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!”
Friday, July 23: Audio Description and Olympic Opening Ceremony Extravaganza
Pre-show Olympic coverage spotlighting the process of providing audio description for the Olympics through interviews with NBC personnel responsible for delivering television coverage of the event, profiles of the audio describers, interviews with present and past Paralympians, the members of the U.S. Goalball team, and much more. Then join ACB at 8 p.m. for the Olympic Opening Ceremony with audio description, carried on all ACB media outlets, making for one huge audio-described watch party.
Our Business Partners
On Friday, July 16 the following sessions have been scheduled:
11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
- Vispero Interactive Discussion - Software, Hardware, and Training.
- GDB Virtual Bowwow Brunch for GDB alumni and anyone interested in learning more about Guide Dogs for the Blind!
2:30 - 3:45 p.m.: Bookshare Office Hours at ACB!
At 4 p.m. join En-Vision America for “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, WILL: Why Asking for Help is So Difficult.” En-Vision America will briefly address the psychology of why it’s so hard to ask for help, offer hints on overcoming hesitations and crafting more effective requests.
5:30 - 6:45 p.m.: HumanWare, “Discover the new X Series braille displays and upcoming enhancements for the BrailleNote Touch Plus and Victor Reader!”
There will also be three sessions hosted by Microsoft on the 16th.
On Tuesday, July 20th, join HumanWare from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. to explore HumanWare’s low vision portfolio, starting with the Reveal 16 product line and its easy-to-use interface. Experiment with the very versatile and portable Explore handheld magnifiers and be excited with a sneak preview of its soon to be released new family member.
What else are we planning?
Yes, we will have a virtual exhibit hall with all your favorite companies and some new ones, too. You can access the hall on ACB Radio from your computer, smart device or your telephone. There will be a calendar each day to let you know the presentation schedule. New this year: if an exhibitor wishes to have a Zoom room, we will publish their link and hours so you can visit directly with the vendor.
Our audio-described tour channel was a favorite stop for everyone in 2020. This year we will have some return tours from last year plus many new additions.
2021 Audio Tours for ACB National Conference & Convention
- Flight 93 Visitor Center, Shanksville, PA
- Guggenheim Museum, New York City
- The White House, Washington, D.C.
- Star-Spangled Banner-Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.
- Oklahoma City Memorial, Oklahoma City, OK
- U.S. Channel Islands, Ventura, CA (from a U.K. source)
- Air & Space Museum Planetarium Show “And A Star to Steer Her By”-Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.
- U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum, Washington, D.C.
- FDR Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, NY
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
- Getty Museum-selected items, Los Angeles, CA
- The Franklin House, Philadelphia, PA
- Walt Disney Family Museum
- Horseshoe Bend National Battlefield Park, National Park Service
- Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
- Castle Williams, National Park Service
By popular request, the following 2020 tours will also be a part of our tour channel:
- Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Mount Rushmore Society
- Klondike Gold Rush Museum, National Park Service
- Holocaust Museum Houston (NOT APPROVED FOR SUBSEQUENT REBROADCAST)
- Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, National Park Service
- The Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota
Convention registration is still open!
Do you want to win door prizes, support ACB special-interest affiliates, receive recognition as an ACB sponsor, select the conference program in the format of your choice, receive Zoom links to participate in sessions or receive our convention newspaper “The Digital Daily, Second Edition?” Your $25 registration fee ($40 for non-ACB members) includes all these benefits and more.
Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 20. To register online, visit
acbconvention.org, or call (651) 428-5059. Your phone call will be returned as quickly as possible; leave your name, telephone number and time zone.
Staying in Touch
The convention announce list will be filled with information. To subscribe to the list, send a blank e-mail to [email protected]. If you received updates for the 2020 convention, you do not need to subscribe to the list.
2021 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740, [email protected]
2021 advertising and sponsorships: Anthony Stephens, (202) 559-2045, [email protected]
For any other convention-related questions, please contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail, [email protected].