Independence Day in a New and Unique Way – “Hip! Hip! Hooray!” #ACB #Blindness #Independence

Independence Day in a New and Unique Way – “Hip! Hip! Hooray!” #ACB #Blindness #Independence

Independence Day in a New and Unique Way – “Hip! Hip! Hooray!”

By Patty L. Fletcher a Registered Attendee of the ACB 2023 Hybrid Convention

July 2, 2023

Good morning, everyone, I hope you’re doing well.

As I type, I’m attending the ACB (American Council of the Blind) Hybrid convention.

There are so many events to attend, I’ll never do them all.

Of course, they will all be podcasted too, so whatever I miss now I can catch up on later.

I’m so immensely proud of ACB. We’re the first blindness organization to ever do a fully hybrid convention and let me tell you, this is a huge undertaking of which I know extraordinarily little. My experience is facilitating events within the community and some past hosting of Zoom rooms, which is to say, the running of a Zoom room. Which is a skill once learned can be transferred into a marketable skill, as many companies are doing more work from home programs and will need people experienced in managing a Zoom room for their virtual meetings. I’m starting to see more of those jobs popping up on LinkedIn job search each day. I’m applying for a few.

That having been said, I feel it is quite obvious how the American Council of the blind is assisting blind persons with becoming more marketable each day with all the working parts they’ve in action.

Sitting here, listening to the “Update on Legal Issues Impacting People who are Blind or have Low Vision on ACB Media 4” is quite enlightening. Just another way we’re becoming more informed which enables us to discuss in an educated manner the legal issues plaguing disabled persons.

I could go on forever, and ever in a day about all the ways the American Council of the Blind is Guiding its members, and advocating for equality of people who are blind and low vision.

As stated on their website,

“Fostering Voice, Choice, and Community

You’re not alone in your journey through vision loss and blindness. American Council of the Blind (ACB) welcomes and accepts you. Guided by its members, ACB advocates for equality of people who are blind and low vision, inspires community, and connects you with education, resources, and each other to support your independence.”

I came to the American Council of the Blind during the pandemic. Below is a story I wrote describing this experience. It is featured in the upcoming June July Writer’s Grapevine Summer Celebration edition.

A Laser of Love

By Patty L. Fletcher

In the year 2020, a plague such as had never been known had struck the planet and before anyone really knew what was afoot, the disease had begun to spread as a mighty wildfire takes the forest many deaths had occurred, and those in power were floundering to keep up and find ways to protect the people.

There were trials and triumphs, arguments, hostilities, and as the plague did spread so did much deceit.

Soon, a decree went out and the people were told they would need to shelter in place. Some had families to keep company with, some did not but all were seriously affected by the need to remain locked away from the world.

Events were canceled, vacations long planned for were no longer happening and soon a great gloom fell over the world.

Then, just when it seemed the people could stand not one more moment, a bright laser of love appeared. It cut through the darkness and hope broke through the gloom as a mighty sun.

Soon announcements began to circulate. There were communities forming online. But not just any community mind you, no indeed, these communities were made special for those who were blind or visually impaired, and it was said that even if you had no computer or Smart device still you could join in.

Before the people knew what was happening, special classes were being held to teach all who would learn how to attend, and by the end of that dank and dreary year of sadness, sickness, and death over 2000 community call events had taken place.

Who was this power which had overcome such incredible obstacles? It was a group called The American Council of the Blind. This group of men and women from all levels of society had built an alliance which no other could rival.

Now, as they continue, they’re growing larger and stronger with each passing day. There are community calls for chatting and playing games. Community calls for sharing recipes, health tips, exercising learning technology and sharing books. There are calls which allow people to share their talents with others. Calls for presenting blindness related books, products and services which may enhance the lives of all who but would come and hear. But most importantly, these community calls serve the purpose of keeping a community of thousands connected on a meaningfully personal level like nothing has ever been done before.

Though we’re all slowly returning to our lives in some way as we once did before this hideous plague struck, we know the ACB Community Call Events will live on. For they have shown us all a new and wonderous way to be with one another which is free and inclusive for all.

For me, these calls came into my life at a time when I felt quite at sea. My Seeing Eye Guide Dog Campbell had just passed away, I was totally isolated from family and friends and though I went along each day performing my routines for work and personal care I’d fallen into a pit of despair I felt I might never rise from again.

Not only did the community calls give me something to do during the long hours alone, I soon found I could contribute as well. First, I learned to host, and then I began facilitating events too and before long I was too busy connecting and being connected to be sad.

If you’re out there somewhere needing a friend, we want you to join us. Whether you’re a member of the American Council of the Blind or not, there’s a place waiting to be filled by you.

To learn more visit here.

To receive a list of daily events of which there are many email: community@acb.org

If you know someone without email have them phone: 1-800-424-8666.

All will be treated well for this community is Safe, Respectful and Welcoming.

Fast forward, three years later, I’m completely involved. Not only am I facilitating two calls of my own within our awe—inspiring virtual community but I’m also learning via way of our current convention how the organization works and what we’re doing to bridge that great chasm which separates the disAbled from the Non-disAbled.

Never did I believe I would find an organization created by blind people who were working toward this goal. For me, it is a miracle, After all, it is the mission statement on my website. I prayed for many years for such a thing to be so.

Now, I salute and celebrate Independence Day in a unique way., I’m truly on the journey to freedoms which are being made real.

In the words of our interim CEO Dan Spoone, “Hip! Hip! Hooray! For the American Council of the Blind.

May you live on forever!

 

About Patty L. Fletcher

Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is Also a Social Media Marketing Assistant.

Follow her in Patty’s Worlds here.

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