Reminder: Convention Survey Closes August 31
Thank you to all who participated or engaged in this year’s 2021 ACB 60th Anniversary Conference and Convention. It was truly a packed event with over 166 breakout sessions and multiple ways to participate which included: Zoom, ACB Media Network, YouTube, Facebook, Clubhouse, and our community events. If you attended convention this year, please take a moment to answer the ACB Convention Survey by visiting https://tinyurl.com/fd39vuy9. The survey will remain open until Tuesday, August 31.
Paralympic Games Audio Description
The Tokyo Paralympic Games begin on August 24th. For information on how to access audio description, as well as other important details about the Paralympics, visit: https://acb.org/tokyo-paralympic-games. For more information about the Paralympics, including a programing schedule, visit: https://tinyurl.com/6sd5pjez.
60 for 60 Campaign
We are incredibly thankful to Vispero for providing the first corporate contributions of our year-long ACB 60 for 60 campaign, and for launching a matching challenge to our ACB members and our partners. Vispero will double every contribution made to the 60 for 60 campaign up to $10,000 over the month. Their matching challenge began on July 26th in honor of the ADA's 31st Anniversary and will extend until August 31st 2021. To join the challenge, donate to our 60 for 60 campaign by visiting www.acb.org/donate.
Celebrate ACB Community’s 5,000th Event
Can you believe it? Our ACB community began on March 17 with two calls that week. On Saturday, August 28th we celebrate our five thousandth event. Please join us to share what Community means to you, email your thoughts, or do both. Here are some questions to ponder:
- How did you learn about our community events and when did you attend your first one?
- How often are you able to participate in ACB community events and if you had to pick your top three, which would they be?
- How have ACB Community events impacted your life during the Covid-19 pandemic and what does the ACB Community mean to you?
For details on how to join this call, please join our Community Event list by sending an email to [email protected].
Newly Elected ACB Officer and Board Members
On the ACB Advocacy Update, Swatha and Clark spoke with the ACB officer and board members who were newly elected in ACB’s first-ever virtual elections this July. Joining them for the conversation are ACB First Vice President Deb Cook Lewis, and Board Members Koni Sims, Kenneth Semien, and Chris Bell. Our guests share what drew them to ACB, their personal advocacy experience, and why they are excited to take on their new roles. Listen by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/hxbvwrnm.
We are pleased to share that the Audio Description, Technology and Health & Wellness track content from our 2021 Convention is now available as podcasts on www.ACBMedia.org. Visit https://www.acbmedia.org/podcasts to access each podcast track and subscribe.
During our 2021 virtual convention, ACB hosted our annual walk. Funds raised from our walk help ACB to continue providing vital services to help blind and visually impaired Americans participate fully in all aspects of society. ACB would like to raise $95,000 from the Virtual Walk this year and we need your help. There are still two weeks left to make a donation to our virtual walk! Help us meet our goal and make a donation by August 31 by visiting https://secure.qgiv.com/event/acbwalk2021.
ACB Supports the Exercise and Fitness for All Act
On last week’s episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, Clark and Swatha discussed the reintroduction of the Exercise and Fitness for All Act (H.R. 4756/S. 2504) with guest Sheila Styron, ACB’s Transportation Committee Chair. They shared the details of this important legislation, how it relates to ACB’s Get Up and Get Moving campaign, and urged all ACB members and friends to contact their members of Congress in support of the Exercise and Fitness for All Act. Listen by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/vdxkx4py.
DEI Reading List Materials
A group of ACB members got together and decided that one way we can begin understanding all that is happening in today’s society is to begin learning more about each other. Members of the Multicultural Affairs Committee, Blind Pride International, and ACB Women developed a reading list that they would like to share with ACB members. They also sought guidance and input from Asian-American members, librarians, and Native American academicians. This is not a definitive list of books. Instead, these are books which they have read or were recommended to them. They invite you to read and to learn about each other. Click the links below to download the files of each book list:
Book List: African American
Book List: Asian American and Pacific Islander
Book List: Blindness and People with Disabilities
Book List: LGBTQ+
Book List: Native American
Book List: Women and Feminism
Book List: Latinx/Latino Culture
Feedback Requested: Remote Learning Platforms
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a rapid shift to digital and remote learning platforms for both young and adult students alike. We are very concerned about continued reports of remote education platforms being inaccessible to students and parents who are blind or visually impaired, over a year into this unprecedented pandemic and as the new school year rapidly approaches. In order to determine how best to address the issue, we are turning to our members for their experiences with remote learning platforms. If you have faced accessibility barriers with you or your child's remote learning platform, we encourage you to contact us so that we can try to address these issues with the companies designing these platforms. Please share your feedback on this important issue by responding to this message or by emailing: [email protected]. Your responses to this survey will not be shared with others except as required by law.
Audio Game Developed for Blind Players
The Vale: Shadow of the Crown, an audio-based adventure game by indie studio Falling Squirrel, is now available on Xbox and PC. The game was developed in collaboration with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and made for and tested by blind and low-vision players. Without visual information, the player has to listen to the sounds of the environment when moving around. The gameplay relies on 3D audio, so headphones are required. Learn more by visiting: https://www.theverge.com/22631651/the-vale-shadow-of-the-crown-blind-audio-xbox-pc.
FCC Grants Warner Media a Limited Waiver From Audio Description Rules
On August 18, 2021, the FCC granted a limited waiver of the Commission’s audio description rules to Warner Media and its subsidiary, TBS. The waiver is conditioned on the TBS network airing at least 1,000 hours of audio described programming (and more than 1,400 hours of audio described programming on average) during any quarter in which it is unable to meet the minimum hour threshold in the Commission’s rules, without regard to the number of repeats. Additionally, Warner Media asserts that it will provide audio description for 100 percent of newly produced, non-live programming aired during certain core hours on TBS, TNT, and TruTV. This commitment exceeds the Commission’s audio description requirements, and the waiver petition is unopposed by consumer groups.
More Than 323K Disabled Borrowers to Receive Automatic Student Loan Forgiveness
Over 323,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability (TPD) will receive more than $5.8 billion in automatic student loan discharges due to a new regulation announced today by the U.S. Department of Education. The change will apply to borrowers who are identified through an existing data match with the Social Security Administration (SSA). It will begin with the September quarterly match with SSA. Learn more by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/5mawvf7t.
Disability Access to Transportation Act, H.R. 1697
One of ACB’s legislative imperatives this year is the Disability Access to Transportation Act (DATA) (H.R. 1697/S. 2038). Among other things, this legislation will create a one-stop para transit pilot program, require the completion of the Public Rights of Way Accessibility Guidelines, provide greater funding for transportation grants, and improve the DOT complaint process. The bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1697, was included in the House-passed Invest in America Act, however the version of the bill introduced in the Senate (S. 2038) was not included in the Senate-passed infrastructure package. To raise the profile of DATA, original sponsors, Reps. Langevin (D-RI-02) and Titus (D-NV-01) are circulating a Dear Colleague letter. The purpose of the letter is to encourage other members of the House of Representatives to cosponsor DATA, H.R. 1697. For more information about DATA, H.R. 1697, and to access the Dear Colleague letter visit https://acb.org/call-to-action-HR1697. Please share the letter with your members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the Disability Access to Transportation Act, H.R. 1697!
Barilla on Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is expanding its specialized help offering this year – and have announced that this summer they are adding food and beverage support to the app, starting with the iconic Italian staple on everyone’s shelf: Barilla pasta and sauce. Barilla is now on Be My Eyes to provide support for home cooks, including help with pasta, sauce and shopping for the perfect meal. Learn more by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/njsyn862.