August 3, 2010

In this Issue:

Moving Beyond

  • Announcement from the AADB Board of Directors
  • Interim Executive Director's Blog

AADB In Action

  • ADA 20th Anniversary Celebration
  • 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009
  • Deaf-Blind Awareness Conference in Texas

Symposium Note

  • Sponsor / Exhibit / Advertisement Package Will Be Available in August!

Some Thoughts

  • From Randall Pope

Moving Beyond

Announcement from the AADB Board of Directors

The AADB Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Randall (Randy) Pope as the Interim Executive Director of AADB. Randy will be taking over the responsibilities of managing the day-to-day affairs of the office with all programs and services staying intact. He has graciously agreed to do this on a voluntary basis. Also, some changes on the Board of Directors has occurred. Some new committees will be added, and the Board will be assisting with the day-to-day office duties.

Interim Executive Director's Blog

I hope that you all are enjoying your summer so far. For me, these last few weeks have been an interesting and challenging experience.

I'm Randall Pope, the Interim Executive Director of the American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB). On July 17, the AADB Board appointed me to this position as an unpaid volunteer after the entire staff was laid off. I am responsible for AADB's day to day operations, while the board is overseeing AADB itself.

It is unfortunate that the paid staff had to leave. However, I'm very thankful for the AADB former staff: Chad Metcalf, Elizabeth Spiers and, of course, Jamie Pope, for volunteering some of their time during this transition. I'm equally thankful for the many people who have stepped up and asked me on Facebook and via private emails how they can help AADB. This tells me that there are many who still have faith in AADB. At the same time, I can understand the feelings of those who felt that AADB has disappointed or betrayed them. This news was indeed very hard to accept.

To gain your faith in AADB, I'm here to reassure you that the AADB office is still open and in business to carry out its mission on serving the deaf-blind community. I'm also pleased to announce that AADB will still continue with the following programs:

  1. 2011 AADB National Symposium in Fort Mitchell, KY (across the river from Cincinnati, OH), which will be held on June 19 - 23, 2011;
  2. 2013 AADB Symposium in Seattle, Washington (still in planning stages);
  3. "AADB Symposium News", the monthly newsletter focusing on the latest updates of our upcoming Symposium (postponed until next month);
  4. "AADB Today", our monthly e-newsletter, which will keep you all well informed about what's happening with AADB and the national deaf-blind community;
  5. Nationwide Support Service Provider (SSP) Program (still under development);
  6. Technology Program (still under development) 7. Advocacy and awareness related to SSPs, technology and other issues affecting deaf-blind people; and
  7. "The Deaf-Blind American" (DBA) magazine's summer issue will go out this month. Unfortunately the publication of the DBA will be on hold after this edition.

As you can see, AADB has a lot to do in the upcoming months. In my next blog, I will give you some more updates when the dust settles down after AADB's darkest hours on July 16th.

Again I would like to thank you for your faith and trust in AADB. Until then, be of good cheer! With your faithful support, AADB will rise once again to serve the deaf-blind community. Take care, and see you on the next blog.

With Warm Regards,
Randall Pope
Interim Executive Director

PS: While writing this blog, I just received word that the House of Representatives just passed the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 with funding up to ten million dollars to help deaf-blind people to purchase expensive technology and equipment. This is a very important victory for the deaf-blind community. I would like to thank everyone who contacted their representatives through the petition, phone calls and meeting them in person. Great job and my hat is off to you!

AADB In Action

ADA 20th Anniversary Celebration

On his first day as the Interim Executive Director, Randall Pope was invited to attend two big events in honor of ADA 20th anniversary on July 19th.

At the invitation of Mr. Kareem Dale, Mr. Pope attended a special program celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which focused on empowering Americans with disabilities through technology. Mr. Dale is the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. The event was held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is across the street from the White House. It was well represented by people with various disabilities.

During the first part of the program, there were two discussion panels where the panelists talked about the advancement of technology for people with disabilities of today and the expectations of more improvements to make our lives easier. After the panel discussions, three companies gave their product demonstrations. Interestingly enough, one of the companies who gave a presentation on captioned radio has met with me a few weeks before in regards to developing a way for deaf-blind people to access captioned radio through refreshable Braille and in large captions.

Afterwards, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Department of Commerce and the White House hosted the FCC's Technology Showcase. Over 40 exhibits were on display to give the public a general idea of what the future holds on new technology.

21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009

Anindya Bhattacharyya, a member of AADB, and Elizabeth Spiers visited several Representatives' offices in July to request them to put Section 105 b back into H.R. 3101. They visited the offices of Representatives Griffith (AL), Radamovich (CA), Shimkus (IL) and Blunt (MO). They also met with several staffers from the House, Energy and Commerce Committee, including the offices of Rep. Markey and Rep. Boucher.

Mr. Bhattacharyya demonstrated several pieces of equipment used by deaf-blind people, including the Deaf-Blind Communicator, which helps deaf-blind people have access to telecommunications and have face to face communication with others who don't know sign language or Braille.

Randy Pope and Art Roehrig, another member of AADB, visited the office of Rep. Latta (OH) to also explain the importance of adding back Section 105 b to H.R. 3101.

Randy Pope also attended a Senate mark-up hearing on the Senate version of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, S 3304.

Deaf-Blind Awareness Conference in Texas

Jamie Pope gave the keynote address at the Deaf-Blind Awareness conference in San Marcos, TX last month, sponsored by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services. Her presentation title was "What's Happening in the National Deaf-Blind Community." She talked about Support Service Providers (SSPs) and technology for deaf-blind people. Approximately 35 people from all over Texas attended, along with many great interpreters and SSPs. This first-ever statewide deaf-blind conference for all deaf-blind people in Texas was a big success!

Symposium Note

Sponsor / Exhibit / Advertisement Package Will Be Available in August!

Businesses and non-profits interested in sponsoring, exhibiting, placing an ad in our program book, and/or stuffer for insertion in our conference registration bags are encouraged to contact Chad Metcalf, our Sponsor and Exhibit Chair for the 2011 AADB Symposium. People can contact Mr. Metcalf at chadmea@aol.com to request the package when it becomes available in August.

Some Thoughts

From Randall Pope

As you all see, AADB is still moving forward in spite of the recent setback. Please take the time to keep AADB in your thoughts. If you would like to help or to learn more about AADB, feel free to contact the AADB Office at my personal email address: randy.pope@aadb.org. Be sure to visit us at:

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