by Christopher Gray

The year 2006 will go down in the historic archives of blind Americans as a landmark year after the ruling in federal district court that the nation's currency needs to accommodate visually impaired and blind people. Advances in technology, general public expectations, and the fact that every other country manufacturing paper currency in the world has made such accommodations helped bring about this ruling. The vision of ACB in championing this case will be a major part of this historic event as well as will that of the forward-thinking attorney who has shepherded this case through the judicial process.

The year 2006 will also be remembered as the first year in which the online petition was used by blind and visually impaired people to effect change. First, a petition was launched to get the attention of a major corporation regarding practices it used that created inaccessibility for computer users. Next, an online petition was mounted to protest actions taken in the providing of braille materials by the Library of Congress. Each of these petitions was signed by thousands of blind Americans, their friends, and their supporters. Both petitions were created and made available by blind ACB members and/or blind people very active with ACB Radio.

Today, a petition is available through which ACB members, Braille Forum readers, and supporters of ACB can make their feelings publicly known regarding the need for accessible currency. As before, this petition has been created and made available by an ACB member, Michael Malver of Minnesota. His work and dedication in this project demonstrate once again the democratic values and traditions exemplified by ACB and its membership. The right to vote, the right to petition lawmakers and public servants, and the right to have our voices heard is an American and a truly democratic tradition. It is exemplified once again in the Currency for All petition.

If you are a computer user, you can sign this petition in a matter of minutes. Go to and follow the instructions there. You can also read the full text of the petition on the web site.

Countless people have asked me, both blind and sighted, how they might help ACB in its quest for a more accessible currency. Their desire seems completely genuine, and many have told me how much they or a family member can benefit from such a change. I always tell them about the petition, but it has often seemed as if we need to do more to help people remember the petition address. Recently, ACB's hard-working secretary, Donna Seliger, created a card that can be handed out to interested people. Copies were made available at the presidents' meeting and legislative seminar. More will be made available for general use shortly. The card says:

If you agree, please sign the petition at:

If you are not a computer user, the American Council of the Blind wishes to provide you with an opportunity to sign this petition as well. On Monday through Thursday, March 27-30, you can call a toll-free number between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m. Pacific time and a volunteer will assist you in the online signing process. The number to call is (866) 633-8638. Press 1 to be connected with a conference. When asked for the ID of the conference, enter PETITION or 73848466. I urge all non-computer users to take advantage of this service, and if it is popular enough, we may repeat the program in April.

The American Council of the Blind strives not only to create and promote innovative, positive and necessary change for the blind of America, but to find equally innovative ways of getting our message where it needs to go. So far, over 5,000 individuals have used this new petition mechanism to record their opinions. By the 2007 convention in Minneapolis, let's make that 50,000 participants. Please join us if you have not already done so and help secure a better future for us all.

Printer-Friendly Version

Next Article

Return to Table of Contents

Return to the Braille Forum Index