ACB Statement Concerning the Events of Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol Building

To all ACB members, friends, allied organizations, and our fellow Americans:

The women and men of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) condemn the lawless violence perpetrated by the seditious mob which stormed our nation’s Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. As an organization committed to freedom of speech, democratic values, the civil and human rights of every individual, we are heartbroken by the sounds, along with the sights, of criminal vandalism. We grieve the injury and loss of life, we reaffirm our organization’s founding principles, and we call upon all of our fellow Americans to stand with us in our relentless, yet peaceable, pursuit of liberty and justice for all.

Throughout our sixty-year history, ACB members have confidently climbed the Capitol steps, crowded the corridors of Congress and passionately made pilgrimages to play our part in ensuring the accessibility of the American dream for all, especially for those of us who are blind or who have low vision. For generations, we have willingly and warmly shaken the hands of lawmakers of all political persuasions, especially those with whom we have had the most intractable differences. With those same hands, we have touched and handled with reverence the historically rich artifacts of the Capitol complex itself. And our minds are full of the audible memories of the echo of our footsteps in those marbled halls. We have unwaveringly undertaken this sometimes frustrating and patience-testing work of citizenship, while holding in our hearts a clear vision of our Union, truly made more perfect with the addition of our voices, our hard work, our independence, and our commitment to community.

The ungoverned crowd that fell upon the shining citadel of our democratic republic—indeed, anyone who may live with real or perceived grievances or a pervading sense of disenfranchisement—can and should learn a great deal from us. While mob rule once again failed miserably, and a seemingly out of control pandemic of cynicism can be so pervasive, we know better. We, through our persistence, our competent care in crafting meaningful solutions, we have positively changed our nation and our world.

As always, we pledge ourselves to a nonpartisan posture of welcome toward the incoming Congress and Administration. We are eager to once again get to work to guarantee educational opportunities for children with vision loss, to unlock the doors of employment and economic self-sufficiency for working-age people who are blind or visually impaired, to honor our elders and assist them as they live out their lives in health, safety, dignity, and independence while experiencing loss of vision, and to promote community engagement and self-determination for all who are blind, who have low vision, or who may experience additional disabilities, no matter how else we may be different from one another.

Indeed, we both celebrate and resolve anew to embrace and embody our nation’s motto, “Y Pluribus Unum. Out of Many, One.”

For more information about the American Council of the Blind, visit www.acb.org.

2 comments

  1. As I watched the events of January 6, 2021 unfold in our nation’s capital, I was overcome first by anger, then by sadness. One of the best trips I ever took during high school was to Washington, DC where we got to tour the Capitol, including standing in the Rotunda. I remember being amazed at the shear size and awesomeness of being there, at the seat of Government, where decisions affecting all of our lives are made.

    For the past 20 years, I’ve had the awesome honor to walk the halls of Congress with my Brothers and Sisters who are blind or visually impaired as we have worked to educate members of Congress about the important issues we are concerned about. I remember the first and still biggest lesson I learned in my first year, schedule your House appointments together and your Senate appointments together, or you’ll be walking a lot. What a profound sense of responsibility it has been for me to be on Capitol Hill, working to improve the lives of so many.

    Watching the events of January 6 unfold, through my feelings of anger, my mind kept flashing to Capitol Hill as various areas where things were happening were pointed out. I kept thinking, I know where that is, or, I’ve walked through that area. As things continued, however, I was overcome by sadness, crying and saying, this isn’t my country.

    It’s my hope that the events of January 6 will wake all of us up and help us move towards a nation where, while we might not always agree, we can disagree without being disagreeable. All sides have good and bad ideas. Let’s hope that the Biden administration and the 117th Congress will remember that and work with each other to do what’s best as our nation works to end the global Pandemic, address social justice issues and yes, work through those issues impacting citizens who are blind or visually impaired. — Ray Campbell, ACB Second Vice President

    Like

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