ALEXANDRIA, Va. (April 11, 2023) — The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is pleased to share the announcement of the ScripTalk Talking Prescription Label pilot program at Wegmans Food Markets. Wegmans is offering the ScripTalk system that allows blind or low vision patients the ability to audibly hear important prescription label information, ensuring their medication independence and safety. The chain will offer the service across five of its New York locations. “At Wegmans, we are committed to providing incredible customer service to all our shoppers,” said Linda Lovejoy, community relations manager for Wegmans, in a statement released by the grocery store chain. To provide ScripTalk labels, the Wegmans pharmacy places a special RFID label on the bottom of a patient’s prescription bottle. The patient then places the bottle onto a small, battery-operated device called a ScripTalk Station, which is provided at no charge. The ScripTalk Station reads the prescription information out loud to the patient, including prescription number, drug name, dosage, instructions, warnings and more. Patients can also access the talking prescription labels by using the free Android or iOS apps. “The American Council of the Blind is excited about the rollout of the pilot program at Wegmans,” said Dan Spoone, interim executive director of the American Council of the Blind. “We appreciate the impact ScripTalk has on ensuring pharmacy patient safety and independence for people who are blind and have low vision.” The five Wegmans New York locations offering this service are in Fayetteville, Rochester, Buffalo, Depew, and Jamestown. About the American Council of the Blind The American Council of the Blind is a national member-driven organization representing Americans who are blind and visually impaired. For more than 60 years, ACB has become a leader in national, state, local, and even international advocacy efforts. With 68 affiliates, ACB strives to increase independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve the quality of life for all people who are blind and visually impaired. For more information, visit www.acb.org. Contact: Jenna Reed (941) 702-6708 [email protected]
As many website and application users with disabilities know, far too many websites are inaccessible for users with disabilities. This reality is disastrous for Americans with disabilities. We live in a world where so much is done online or through our smartphones. When these applications are inaccessible, people with disabilities are suddenly prevented from completing essential tasks such as banking or completing employment tasks. A group of national disability advocacy organizations are collecting personal anecdotes and stories to illustrate this ongoing and growing problem. We are asking that you please provide examples of when a website or application was inaccessible to a person with a disability, either you or a friend or family member. For instance, a voting website may be incompatible with screen reading software, or you cannot access a credit card or health care providers mobile app because of a disability. If you are comfortable, when submitting your story please be as specific as to company/business or government entity responsible for the website or application, and the city and state where the access issues occurred. For congressional advocacy purposes, if you are willing to provide the state, city, and zip code of where you live, this will be extremely helpful in targeting congressional offices to reach out to. If you are comfortable, please also provide your name and contact information. Your name and contact information will only be used if we have follow-up questions or if a Congressional office wishes to contact you directly. The story you submit may be published on social media, posted on websites, and provided to the press and Congressional offices. By voluntarily sending stories to us using the e-mail address provided in this request, you fully agree to allow the national organizations to share your stories in public, including posting on social media and websites, providing to the press, and sending to Congressional offices. We will not include your city or name in any post to social media or to the press unless you specifically tell us we can share. We will, however, make public the state where the accessibility problem occurred, and share your city, state and zip code with Congressional offices unless you specifically tell us not to share. You understand that you are submitting your story voluntarily and solely for the purpose to help us highlight a national problem, and that the national organizations will not provide you any legal advice and will not represent you in any legal matter because you are submitting a story to us. Please make the narrative as short or as long as you would like. By submitting a story, however, you agree and understand that the national organizations may edit and condense your story for use in social media posts. Additionally, the national organizations also reserve the right to edit the post for clarity purposes. These narratives will help to paint a picture of the nation-wide problem of access barriers faced by persons who use assistive technology on websites and applications. Please email your narratives to [email protected].
With the departure of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) Executive Director Eric Bridges, the following plan of action was established by ACB's Board of Directors on Thursday, March 9th to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. ACB will welcome Dan Spoone, the organization’s current president, as Interim Executive Director starting on Wednesday, March 22. Deb Cook Lewis, current first vice president, will become president. Ray Campbell will become first vice president. Dan Spoone hails from Orlando, Fla. He was elected president at ACB’s 2019 convention, held in Rochester, N.Y. Previously, he was the organization’s first vice president, and served as a member of the Board of Directors from 2012 to 2017. Dan holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and an MBA specializing in accounting from the University of Florida. He has a vast array of professional experience, and worked at Siemens Energy for 25 years. Starting as an entry-level computer programmer, he worked his way up to the position of senior project manager, with 40 direct reports. He retired in 2014. Deb Cook Lewis is from Clarkston, Wash. Deb previously served as Chair of the ACB Board of Publications before becoming ACB’s first vice president. Deb retired in 2018 after 38 years with the State of Washington. She worked for the Department of Services for the Blind, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and finally the University of Washington Center on Technology and Disability Studies. To contact Dan, email [email protected]. To contact Deb, email [email protected]. For our corporate and philanthropic partners, any existing relationships you have with ACB staff members will remain the same. We encourage you to reach out to your ACB contact with any questions you may have about this transition.
ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 14, 2023 — On March 10, Harriet Tubman Day, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and supporters rallied in front of the White House and marched to the U.S. Treasury to highlight the ongoing fight for accessible and inclusive currency for all. As a result of this rally, five members of the American Council of the Blind met with representatives of the U.S. Treasury and Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and for the first time, touched the certified tactile feature that will be included as part of the $10 bill redesign in 2026. The U.S. Treasury agreed to quarterly meetings with the American Council of the Blind to provide progress reports on the key milestones as they work toward completing the redesign of the $10 bill by 2026. “50 years of advocating and 20 years of litigation have brought us to this momentous occasion,” said ACB President Dan Spoone. “We are on the cusp of the United States joining the more than 100 nations whose currency is already accessible to people who are blind and low vision, and the American Council of the Blind remains resolute in our advocacy to help the Biden Administration and the U.S. Treasury finish the job.” During the rally, a coalition of disability, women’s, and civil rights organizations gathered together to demand a $20 bill redesign that features a portrait of Harriet Tubman and includes accessibility features for people who are blind and low vision. The American Council of the Blind greatly appreciates the support of its members and a diverse set of cross-organizational partners to bring greater awareness to this long-standing and important issue. Our collective voice calls on the United States to express its commitment to the equality of all people by ensuring U.S. paper currency is accessible and inclusive. “ACB is grateful for the enduring advocacy of our members and the broad support that we have received from the disability and civil rights communities on this issue, including from the Harriet Tubman family and Women on 20s, as we work to make our currency more accessible and inclusive for everyone,” said Clark Rachfal, ACB’s Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs. The American Council of the Blind is a national member-driven organization representing Americans who are blind and visually impaired. For more than 60 years, ACB has become a leader in national, state, local, and even international advocacy efforts. With 68 affiliates, ACB strives to increase independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve the quality of life for all people who are blind and visually impaired. For more information, visit www.acb.org.
Show Me the Money: Marching Together for Accessible and Inclusive Currency takes place on March 10, Harriet Tubman Day, at 1:30pm ET! The rally will be live streamed on ACB’s YouTube & Facebook channels. Location Details The rally will take place at Lafayette Square Park at Pennsylvania Ave NW &, 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20001. The paratransit drop off point is the Decatur House at 748 Jackson Pl NW, Washington, DC 20006, and volunteers will be present to assist rally participants to the event location. Please make sure to dress warmly and prepare for rain, as we are expected to experience cool, wet weather. Bus Transportation ACB Leadership Conference attendees who have registered for the rally will be provided transportation to and from the rally by bus. Rally participants leaving directly from the conference hotel will be provided transportation via Uber. After the rally speakers have completed their presentations, a bus will arrive to pick up any rally attendees who will not march to the Treasury building between 2:30pm-2:45pm. Those who attend the march to the Treasury building will be picked up after the bus returns at approximately 3:45pm. If you take the bus to the rally and decide to leave the rally on your own, please contact Rhonda Trott on-site or by phone at (256) 493-9137 to make us aware that you are finding alternate transportation. Spread the Word Please share ACB’s rally live stream on YouTube & Facebook, as well as the rally event pages on LinkedIn and Facebook. Additionally you may visit this page for resources to spread the word and bring awareness to the issue. Access our event announcement here. Boxed Lunches If you ordered a boxed lunch, you will receive the lunch you ordered when you are exiting the bus at the rally site.
Take part in the American Council of the Blind Leadership Conference! ACB’s 2023 Leadership Conference will feature both a virtual and an in-person component. ACB’s Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative Seminar will take place virtually from March 4-7, and will include a Fireside Chat on Sunday, March 5. The in-person portion of the Leadership Conference will take place at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town from March 9-12 in Alexandria Virginia. This event will take place in-person only. Conference Sponsors View ACB's 2023 Leadership Conference Sponsors Conference Registration The administrative registration fee for both the virtual and in-person portion of the Leadership Conference is $25. Registration for the in-person portion of the Leadership Conference is $175 and includes the $25 registration fee, attendance to the virtual Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative Seminar, multiple exciting and informative tours around the DC area from Thursday morning through Sunday afternoon, weekend luncheon meals, transportation to and from the Accessible Currency Rally, and a $10 Starbucks card. Attendees will be able to join as many tours as they wish at no additional cost. The deadline to register is February 28. To register, please visit members.acb.org. Log into your account, or create an account by clicking the "create an account" button. If you have an account but can't remember your username and/or password, please call our Virginia office at (202) 467-5081 or our Minnesota office at (612) 332-3242. Once you have logged in, visit the "DC Leadership Registration" link at the top of the page, read through the instructions and hit the "begin with preferences" button. To register by phone, please call our Virginia office at (202) 467-5081 or our Minnesota office at (612) 332-3242. Hotel Reservations The room rate for the Hilton Alexandria Old Town is $119 + tax. The Hilton Alexandria Old Town is located at 1767 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314. To make a reservation at the Hilton you may visit https://tinyurl.com/ACB-Hilton23, or call (703) 837-0440, press 1 for the reservation line, and make a reservation for the American Council of the Blind room block with the group code ACB23. The room block cutoff date is Thursday, February 16. If you experience any issues booking a room, please email Kelly Gasque at [email protected]. Conference Materials President's Meeting Agenda Legislative Seminar Agenda In-Person Conference Agenda 2023 Legislative Imperatives Hill Visit Feedback Form Scheduling Representative & Senator Meetings Hill Etiquette Panel with Claire Stanley and Swatha Nandhakumar Dear Provider Letter Presenter Materials STScI Extended Alt Text Descriptions FCC Accessibility Consumer Guides FCC Disability Rights Office FHIPs FHAPs Kim Forde-Mazrui Lecture Outline Virtual Schedule of Events Virtual programming will be broadcast in English on ACB Media 6, and in Spanish on ACB Media 7. Saturday, March 4: Presidents' Meeting – 12:30pm to 6:00pm ET Sunday, March 5: Presidents' Meeting – 12:30pm to 6:00pm ET, Fireside Chat 7:30pm ET Monday, March 6: Legislative Seminar – 12:30pm to 6:00pm ET Tuesday, March 7: Legislative Seminar – 12:30pm to 6:00pm ET In-Person Schedule of Events Thursday, March 9: Board Meeting (9am – 5pm) Friday, March 10: Rally for Accessible Currency in DC & Evening Reception Saturday, March 11: Guest Presenters & Luncheon (9am-1pm) & Evening Dine Around in Old Town Alexandria Sunday, March 12: Guest Presenters & Luncheon (9am-1pm) Monday March 13: Attendees may visit Capitol Hill to meet with their representatives Confirmed In-Person Presenters Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Mobile Voting Project National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) Tours Thursday, March 9: George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate (All Day) Visit Mount Vernon to learn about our first president; a horticulturist entertainer, statesman, businessman, and visionary. You'll visit the mansion which is one of the most iconic 18th century homes in America, explore one of a kind exhibits at the education center, stroll the beautiful estate grounds and visit the outstanding gift shop. This tour will be customized for ACB with lots of description and hands-on interaction. Learn more about Mount Vernon. Friday, March 10: White House Visitor Center (Morning) The White House Visitors Center has over 90 artifacts from the White House collection. There are interactive exhibits, many with audio description, and items available to touch. Attendees will view the 14-minute film, "White House: Reflections from Within" featuring presidents, first ladies, and children who lived in the White House describing their experiences. The White House Historical Association retail store also has an amazing array of items. Learn more about the White House Visitor Center. Friday, March 10: U.S. Botanic Gardens (Morning) Enjoy this hands-on exploration of the U.S. Botanical Gardens extensive plant collections with notable sensory and tactile elements. The tour includes verbal descriptions as well as opportunities for smell and touch. Learn more about the U.S. Botanic Gardens. Saturday, March 11: Jefferson Building & U.S. Capitol Building (Afternoon) Two historic sites in one tour! On this personalized tour for ACB, we will visit the Capitol and Jefferson Buildings. The Capitol Building includes stops at the Crypt, Rotunda, Statuary Hall, and all key historic parts of the Capitol. It will feature the historic, architectural, and artistic features of the Capitol, and the role they still play in our political system. The Jefferson Building visit will emphasize the tactile features associated with the Great Hall, the Great Reading Room, historic and iconic artwork, and the statuary present throughout the incomparable structure. Access descriptions of the Jefferson Building First Floor, and Ground Floor. Sunday, March 12: Historic DC Monument Bus Tour (Afternoon) Our tour guide, a former history teacher, will present the history of Washington DC while enroute to the Capitol. We will travel to Lafayette Square in front of the White House, go up to the gate, walk down the east side to the World War I Memorial in Pershing Park, which has many tactile features. Then on to the Washington Monument. We will then drive to the World War II Memorial, walk to Constitution Gardens and the Signers Memorial where the names of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence are engraved in stones that you can touch. From there we will travel to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln monument, and the Korean War Memorial. Then we're off to the Jefferson Memorial and the George Mason Memorial, where you can touch the statue of George Mason and sit next to him on a bench. Finally, we'll visit the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Martin Luther King Memorials. This tour will have several stops and requires a fair amount of walking. Please stay tuned for more details about our Leadership Conference!
The 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards will be streamed Sunday, February 26, at 8pm ET / 5pm PT, with live audio description provided by Descriptive Video Works. Access the show with audio description through this link. The SAG Awards is the only show that exclusively honors actors. With a voting body of more than 122,600 members, the SAG Awards have the largest and most diverse group of voters in the awards circuit. Over the years, the SAG Awards have become a fan favorite, known for its fast-paced nature, sincerity, and sense of community. Join SAG live on Sunday, February 26, for a wonderful evening celebrating the best in acting achievement.
On July 7, 1972, ACB adopted a resolution calling for accessible currency. Similar resolutions were adopted by ACB in 1977, 1978 and 1980. In 1983, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (“BEP”) conducted a study to evaluate possible changes in the design of currency which could be useful to the visually disabled. The issue of currency identification by the visually disabled was addressed in a comprehensive 1995 study by the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS Panel recommended the adoption by the Department of the Treasury of several features which could be used by the visually disabled to differentiate between denominations. On May 6, 2002, ACB filed a complaint in the federal district court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief under the provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794. The Complaint alleged that the design of U.S. currency violated Section 504 because blind and low vision persons are unable to effectively distinguish between the various denominations of U.S. currency. On December 1, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a declaratory judgment finding that the design of U.S. currency violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. Am. Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 463 F. Supp. 2d 51 (D.D.C. 2006). On May 20, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the district court. Am. Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 525 F.3d 1256 (D.C. Cir. 2008). On October 3, 2008, the district court granted injunctive relief, directing the defendant to “take such steps as may be required to provide meaningful access to U.S. currency for blind and other visually impaired persons, which steps shall be completed” not later than the date of approval by the Secretary of the Treasury (hereinafter “Secretary”) of the next currency redesign. Am. Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 581 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2008). In July 2009, a comprehensive study conducted by ARINC Inc., as to the potential costs associated with various forms of accessible currency was released. Based on this study, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on May 20, 2010, published the recommendations it would propose to the Secretary as to how to provide meaningful access. 75 Fed. Reg. 28331 (May 20, 2010). The Bureau recommended that the Secretary adopt the following three steps to provide meaningful access to United States currency as required by the district court’s injunctive order: (1) adding a raised tactile feature (RTF) to each Federal Reserve note that the Bureau may lawfully redesign, (2) continuing the Bureau’s program of adding large, high-contrast numerals and different colors to each denomination, and (3) implementing a supplemental currency reader distribution program for blind and other visually impaired U.S. citizens and legal residents. On May 31, 2011, this three-pronged approach to providing meaningful access to U.S. currency was approved by the Secretary of the Treasury. On July 3, 2013, the Secretary filed with the district court a “White Paper Regarding Meaningful Access to U.S. Currency for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals,” which the Secretary had previously submitted to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The White Paper established a 2020 target date for production of the new $10 banknote with accessible features. On May 12, 2016, the Secretary filed a supplemental status report with the federal court establishing a new target date for accessible currency of 2026, beginning with the $10 note. On June 6, 2016, the Council filed a motion to modify the injunctive order dated October 3, 2008. The Council requested the injunctive order be modified to mandate that the $10 bill be made accessible not later than December 31, 2020, and the remaining denominations be made accessible not later than December 31, 2026. On January 6, 2017, the district court denied the Council’s motion. The district court’s ruling was appealed by the Council. In a ruling dated December 26, 2017, the Court of Appeals held that the district court's ruling was not supported by substantial evidence. On August 22, 2019, the district court again denied the Council’s motion to modify the injunctive decree to mandate that the $10 bill be made accessible not later than December 31, 2020, and the remaining denominations be made accessible not later than December 31, 2026. The ACB appealed the district court's ruling on October 21, 2019. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's ruling on October 9, 2020. As of today, the district court's injunctive order dated October 3, 2008, remains in effect. This order directed the defendant to “take such steps as may be required to provide meaningful access to U.S. currency for blind and other visually impaired persons, which steps shall be completed” not later than the date of approval by the Secretary of the Treasury of the next currency redesign. Am. Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 581 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2008). The current target date established by the Secretary for the next currency redesign is 2026.
Find more details about Show Me the Money: Marching Together for Accessible and Inclusive Currency here! Dear friends, Nearly 5 decades of broken promises to the blind and low vision community has left the United States an outlier in the developed world – the only country whose paper currency is inaccessible to those with disabilities. But together we can push the Biden Administration and US Treasury to put us on a course to accessible and inclusive currency for all. The US Treasury is currently redesigning the $20 bill to include a portrait of Harriet Tubman, and a 2008 Federal Court Order says that any new currency redesigns must include accommodations to individuals who are blind or low vision. The Administration is hoping to sneak through the redesign without making the bills accessible – they’re hoping we won’t notice or put up a fight. That’s why on March 10th – Harriet Tubman Day – we’re coming together for a rally in front of the White House with one clear demand: we need accessible and inclusive currency now! Join us at 1:30pm ET in Lafayette Square and let’s show the Administration we won’t let them kick the can down the road again! This isn’t rocket science. The solutions are clear – different size notes, braille, large print denominations, high color contrast – that’s why they’ve been implemented by over a hundred countries around the world. It’s time for the Biden Administration to step up to the plate and commit to currency that's both accessible and inclusive. Let’s show them we’re serious – Click here to RSVP and join us on March 10th in Washington, DC. Since 1961 the American Council of the Blind has been working to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve the quality of life of all individuals who are blind or experiencing vision loss – see you on March 10th to keep up the fight. With determination, Dan Spoone, ACB President
ACB, along with legal counsel, has created a Dear Provider Letter for blind and low vision individuals to use in health care settings like doctor’s offices and hospitals. The letter was created in response to the challenges experienced by our members and the broader community that were brought to the fore-front during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter reminds health care professionals of their legal obligations to provide reasonable accommodations, including alternative formats for documents, and accessible patient communication devices like online patient portals and kiosks. Blind and low vision individuals may share this letter with their doctors and other members of their care team to clearly communicate their rights as patients with disabilities. The text of the Dear Provider Letter may be downloaded in Word format or accessed online. If you are encountering inaccessible healthcare technology, patient information, or have had a negative patient experience related to being blind or low vision, please share it with ACB’s advocacy team by emailing: [email protected].