According to the CDC’s Vision Health Initiative, over 4.2 million Americans experience blindness and significant vision loss. Each one has unique experiences; each one her or his own story of life in the United States as a person who is legally blind. Yet despite these differences, we are all drawn together by the shared experience of being American, wrapped in the shared complexities of dreams, desires, and identity connected together like the intersecting web of streets that span our country from coast to coast.
The American Council of the Blind wants to celebrate your unique voice, which is why we have launched the ACBVoices blog. Sharing our voice is not only a pathway toward empowering our collective voices, but it serves as a marker in the chronicles of American life, which is rooted in its own complex narrative.
On August 31, 1837, the American author Ralph Waldo Emerson presented his renowned speech American Scholar before the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Cambridge, MA. It was there that he called on Americans to create and embrace their own identity, stepping away from the shadow of Europe and into the light of the American experience. His speech laid the ground for what would become the American voice that has defined generations and influenced cultures around the world for almost two centuries.
American life has been significantly shaped by this narrative that Emerson helped set into motion. Like any narrative, it has its ups and downs, its photo-finish victories and agony of defeat. But at the end of the story, there is always an overwhelming positive note of hope and opportunity.
The ACB Voices Blog is intended to showcase these stories, to present them in a way that celebrates our individuality while listening to the harmonies that echo through shared experiences.
From broadway to Burbank, storytellers have woven a unique narrative rooted in values of independence, opportunity, mobility, and community. The American story is constantly on the move, always changing. Yet there are parts that resonate in each one of us.
So, what is your story? What is life like for you as a person who is blind or visually impaired living in 21st century America? What are your hopes and dreams? Where did you come from, and where do you want to go? And most importantly, what unique experiences have you had along the way?
Our goal is to reach 1,000 stories in one year. It’s a lofty goal. But, it’s not impossible.
Stories can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. We request that submissions carry a tone of respect to readers. We will work with those providing submissions to help craft their story in a manner that is both authentic and adheres to form. It can be a written narrative, a poem, an audio or video file, or an artistic creation that captures your own unique experiences.
Let’s take time in September to celebrate and share our stories!