by Cheryl Cumings
Elizabeth “Beth” Fazio is a new member who has known about the American Council of the Blind since the 1970s. Beth is a member of Blind Information Technology Specialists (BITS), and is considering joining additional affiliates.
Beth described herself by saying, “I’m a military brat. My dad was a Sicilian from Brooklyn, and my mom’s family is from Spain and settled in the state long before it became New Mexico. I have a partner who is from Cuba, and we have three kids and several grandchildren.”
A few years ago, Beth reached out to ACB for help. Beth was experiencing health issues and was admitted to a rehab center/nursing home. She found that a prescribed one-month stay became six months, with the facility trying to get her to stay permanently. Beth felt that the facility tried to convince her and the state that she couldn’t take care of herself so that they could get Medicaid payments. Wanting to get back to the community, Beth contacted ACB and asked them to help her get out of the nursing home. Beth said, “Tony Stephens and Claire Stanley filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office on my behalf. It wasn’t until this happened that, within a week, I was out of the nursing home.”
Beth was very grateful for all of the assistance she received, and wanted to get involved with her local chapter. However, she lives 200 miles away from the local chapter and couldn’t participate in meetings.
Her opportunity to connect with ACB really arrived when ACB began to offer community calls. As a result of her participation with the calls, Beth was able to learn more about ACB, meet new people and increase her knowledge about a variety of issues affecting the lives of blind and low vision people. Beth would like to see ACB and her local chapter increase and diversify membership and to use technology that allows members with and without computers to attend meetings. Additionally, she would like ACB to figure out a way to continue building community by developing a forum which allows members with and without computers to directly connect with each other. She also hopes that her local chapter can advocate for audible pedestrian signals, accessible voting and affordable and accessible housing. Beth looks forward to opportunities to get more involved.