by Janet Dickelman
What an exciting time to be involved with the American Council of the Blind! Our 62nd annual conference and convention is fast approaching! Our convention theme this year is “ACB – Winds of Change,” the theme we had initially chosen for 2020 prior to COVID. At that time the theme represented Chicago being the windy city, and the winds on the prairie, which is Illinois’ state name. This theme definitely represents all the changes we’ve seen in the past three years.
In-person convention dates are June 30 through July 6 in Schaumburg Illinois. During the in-person portion of the conference, some of our sessions will be hybrid; they will be available via Zoom and broadcast on ACB Media. We will also hold Zoom-only sessions, and in-person only sessions that will be available as podcasts.
In addition to the in-person conference days, there is so much more that will be available via the Zoom platform and ACB Media. Don’t miss the ACB virtual summer auction on Saturday, June 17th at 6 p.m. Central time, preceded by two days of sneak-a-peek appetizer auction items.
The convention will officially open virtually on ACB Media and the Zoom platform on June 19th with the reading of the convention standing rules and the first credentials report. Beginning on June 23 we will offer three days of Zoom-only sessions for special-interest affiliates, ACB committees and our business partners. These sessions will be part of the convention and will be listed on the convention registration form, in the convention program and announced via telephone and on ACB Media. The Zoom-only sessions will also be broadcast on ACB Media.
ACB committees and special-interest affiliates have been submitting their program information. Here is a glimpse at what has been scheduled thus far. Please keep in mind that other sessions will be added to this list. All times listed are Central time. Note: many sessions are co-sponsored; to save space in this article, only the submitting affiliate or committee will be listed. Full information will be shown in the convention program and on the registration form.
Convention Host Committee: Friday, June 30, 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Come one, come all to the Welcome to Schaumburg party hosted by the Illinois Council of the Blind (ICB)! Soloist Jeff Trudell with his guitar is sure to entertain us for an interactive evening of singing, dancing and socializing. Purchase tickets on the convention registration form for $15, or $20 at the door.
Durward K. McDaniel First Timer (DKM): Welcome the 2023 DKM recipients on Wednesday evening, July 5
Employment Committee: The committee, with ACB Next Generation as co-host, is hosting a session entitled “You Got the Job. Now What?”
International Relations Committee: Anticipates holding a session on global accessibility best practices with the Zero Project from Vienna, Austria; an update on NLS’s foreign language efforts; a conversation with this year’s international speaker, Martine Abel-Williamson from New Zealand; our popular Voices from Around the World luncheon; and a meet and greet at an international restaurant in Schaumburg.
The Membership Seminar will be held on Wednesday, July 5 at 4 p.m. Topic: The Benefits of Partnerships to Membership. Keys to the Convention segment for virtual participants on Saturday, June 24, and Keys to the Convention in-person on Saturday, June 30.
The Rehab Issues Task Force will hold a program to advise individuals and affiliates about rehab coaches. They are not professionals, but they are there to encourage and assist job seekers when they are attempting to obtain rehabilitation services. The coach could do as little as be a cheerleader for a person needing encouragement, or as much as helping an individual pick and pursue a goal by example or research.
Walk Committee: Grab your water bottle and join us on Saturday, July 1 at 6 p.m. for our annual fund-raising walk. Walkers will enter our opening general session together — what a great way to show your support for ACB!
American Association of Blind Teachers: Have breakfast and a speaker with AABT on Saturday, July 1; also join them on Monday for a session about Hadley School.
American Association of Visually Impaired Attorneys: AAVIA programming will include:
- Professor Bill Piatt, St. Mary’s Law School, will discuss the significant decisions of the Supreme Court during the 2022-2023 term;
- Jeff Thom will present a panel of disability rights attorneys discussing current cases which may impact rights of the visually impaired;
- Ollie Cantos, who is a blind attorney, a newly elected city councilman in West Covina, Calif., and a Presidential appointee, will discuss his election campaign and experience as a city councilman as well as Presidential appointee in the federal government.
ACB Diabetics in Action: ACBDA is Proud to sponsor another informative educational program as we Continue to “Knuckle Down on Diabetes!”
- Demystifying Medicare
- Current best practices and latest changes/recommendations in managing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
- Taking Control of Your Diabetes “TCOYD” “Time in Range”
- A panel of ACBDA members representing the different types of diabetes, sharing their personal stories on how they are “knuckling down” and managing their disease every day
ACB Families: ACBF will hold their business meeting on Saturday, June 24 and later that that day will host Campfire Stories. On Monday the 3rd, ACBF will hold their breakfast and the ever-popular ACBF Bingo that evening.
ACB Radio Amateurs: ACBRA will hold a program on Wednesday, July 5.
Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss: AAVL will host a luncheon on Monday, July 3 with a presentation on Alzheimer’s and memory loss.
Friends-in-Art of ACB: FIA will host their in-person Showcase of the Performing Arts on Monday, July 3rd. FIA will also host a writer’s workshop, a music makers workshop and prose and poetry reading.
Guide Dog Users, Inc.: GDUI will hold their guide dog school updates during the virtual portion of the convention, and a session on traveling to Hawaii with your guide dog while we are in Schaumburg.
Independent Visually Impaired Entrepreneurs: Tuesday, July 4, is IVIE Day! Join them for their luncheon, a program including presentations by Richard Rueda discussing the APH Career Connect program, and representatives from Internal Revenue Service discussing sending out notices in your preferred format and language. Then attend IVIE’s Small Business Expo.
Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America: RSVA will hold programming on Saturday, July 1, a luncheon and program on Sunday, July 2 and that evening in-person only comic and karaoke night.
Visually Impaired Veterans of America: VIVA will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday, June 22nd.
The conference and convention announce list will be jam-packed with information. To subscribe to the list, send a blank e-mail to [email protected]. If you received updates for the 2022 convention, you do not need to subscribe to the list.
Room rates at the Renaissance are $98 per night double occupancy (with an additional $10 charge for up to four people), plus tax which is currently 15%. To make reservations online, visit
https://book.passkey.com/go/AmericanCounciloftheBlind2023. For telephone reservations, call 1-800-468-3571. This is a central reservations number, so please indicate you are with the American Council of the Blind 2023 conference and convention at the Renaissance Hotel in Schaumburg, Ill.
2023 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740, [email protected]
2023 sponsorships: [email protected], or contact Eric Bridges or Clark Rachfal at (202) 467-5081.
For any other convention-related questions, please contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail, [email protected].