WHEREAS, State Services for the Blind (SSB) recently created a new contracting system for center-based and itinerant adjustment-to-blindness service providers, incorporating major elements of the Administrative Rule that the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota helped develop in the 1980’s; and
WHEREAS, the new training contracts require adherence to such requirements as the use of sleepshades in training, positive discussions about blindness, structured discovery learning, and referrals to successful blind consumers and organizations of the blind, things that the NFB of Minnesota has championed for years and which have formed the basis for training at Blindness: Learning in New Dimensions (BLIND), Inc.; and
WHEREAS, the new requirements, to be enforced by SSB monitoring, offer the promise that service providers who formerly shunned the use of sleepshades, used only rote learning, promoted restrictive and negative attitudes about blindness, and ignored the organized blind movement will be forced to "get with the picture" and start delivering more meaningful, consumer-focused services; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this twenty-eighth day of October, 2012, in the city of Duluth, Minnesota, that we commend SSB for making training contracts contingent on adherence to the Administrative Rule, and encourage its director and staff to work closely with the NFB of Minnesota to continue to improve services for the blind citizens of the state.
WHEREAS, Heritage for the Blind, an organization headquartered in Brooklyn New York, has been soliciting car and other property donations throughout the state of Minnesota, advertising over radio stations 93X FM, KROC in Rochester, and other stations, and giving the impression that such donations help blind Minnesotans; and
WHEREAS, Heritage for the Blind offers the donors of cars, boats, and similar property a two-night hotel stay in a city of their choice (subject to limitations), a scheme that may make donors ineligible for a deduction under IRS rules, or severely limit the value of any tax deduction allowed; and
WHEREAS, Heritage for the Blind has failed to provide information to the Better Business Bureau, is currently under investigation by the State of New York, and is not registered with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota has no knowledge of any blind Minnesotan having received services from Heritage for the Blind, leading to the conclusion that it may be just a scam, exploiting sighted individuals' compassion toward the blind; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this twenty-eighth day of October, 2012, in the city of Duluth, Minnesota, that we call upon Heritage for the Blind to cease all fundraising in Minnesota until it registers with the Minnesota Attorney General's office and demonstrates to this organization's satisfaction that it actually provides useful services to blind Minnesotans, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon Minnesota radio stations and other media outlets to cease advertising for Heritage for the Blind until it meets the above conditions.
WHEREAS, regular physical activity reduces the risk of many diseases and improves physical health and well-being; and
WHEREAS, research has shown that children in the United States generally do not engage in sufficient physical activity to maintain good health, and blind children tend to have even lower levels of physical fitness than their sighted peers; and
WHEREAS, participation in group activities such as competitive sports can often be a strong motivator for people to establish consistent habits of physical activity; and
WHEREAS, blind children in mainstreamed educational settings often experience barriers to full participation in physical education courses or other sports activities both because of low expectations of the physical capabilities of blind people and because of lack of knowledge about the options and techniques which exist; and
WHEREAS, experience has shown that blind students can participate along with their sighted peers in a variety of sports activities, including track, wrestling, martial arts, and swimming; and
WHEREAS, some sports and games have also been developed specifically to allow blind and sighted players to compete together such as Goalball, power showdown and the like; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind has worked hard to promote the integration of blind people of all ages into society by developing and raising awareness about nonvisual tools and techniques to allow our full and independent participation in all facets of life; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this twenty-eighth day of October, 2012, in the city of Duluth, Minnesota, that this organization urge Minnesota schools to ensure that sports activities are available to blind students, beyond adaptive PE, that promote their health, fitness, and integration with their peers.
WHEREAS, the Communication Center of Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB) has for many years been highly regarded in Minnesota and around the country as a leader in providing access to the printed word in alternate formats; and
WHEREAS, the Communication Center has employed a number of blind persons over the years demonstrating a willingness to work with individuals to develop alternative approaches to fulfilling job responsibilities as can be seen, for example, in braille proofreading positions; and
WHEREAS, It is less important how a job function is performed than the level of the results that are achieved; and
WHEREAS, It is often necessary for blind job-seekers to develop techniques to address specific aspects of a job in a manner that is different from how that same duty is performed by someone who is not blind; and
WHEREAS, two recent job openings at the Communication Center were defined specifically or by implication in such a way as to prevent otherwise qualified blind persons from competing for those positions because of not being able to read print directly; and
WHEREAS, this approach prevents qualified blind candidates from presenting alternative approaches to handling the duties associated with the position or even applying; and
WHEREAS, blind persons should not expect to be given preference for particular positions but should reasonably expect some flexibility in dealing with printed material from the agency having as its mission to provide blind persons with access to printed materials; now, Therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this twenty-eighth day of October, 2012, in the city of Duluth, Minnesota, that this organization call upon the Communication Center of Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB) to ensure that future postings for positions at the Communication Center are not defined in such a way as to prevent qualified blind candidates from competing for these positions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization express its willingness to work with SSB and the Communication Center to help develop flexible approaches to defining job responsibilities so that excellent potential blind employees are not excluded and so that SSB can serve as a model of successful employment of qualified blind persons to other employers.
WHEREAS, Tom Rukavina was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1987; and
WHEREAS, one of Representative Rukavina’s first official acts after his election was to meet with members of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota; and
WHEREAS, throughout his 26 years in the Minnesota legislature, Representative Rukavina never wavered in his commitment to making a better life for blind Minnesotans, lending his support to myriad issues of interest to blind Minnesotans including serving as chief author of the very first state braille literacy bill passed in the United States, advocating staunchly for a separate agency for providing rehabilitation services to the blind, helping to bring NFB-NEWSLINE® to the state of Minnesota and securing funding for it, and developing requirements for adjustment-to-blindness training for rehabilitation counselors at State Services for the Blind; and
WHEREAS, despite the controversial nature of some of these issues, Representative Rukavina's efforts were unflagging and stalwart; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this twenty-eighth day of October, 2012, in the city of Duluth, Minnesota, that this organization wholeheartedly commend Representative Tom Rukavina for his twenty-six outstanding years of service to all blind Minnesotans and thank him for his dedication to helping blind people become independent, productive members of society; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we wish Representative Rukavina well in his retirement and extend to him an open invitation to join the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota at any time.