By Ray Campbell, ACB Second Vice President
Over the past few days, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) once again did itself proud by presenting its annual DC Leadership Conference, this year in a virtual format. The general and breakout sessions were all excellent and provided timely information on topics of interest to people who are blind or visually impaired.
Some highlights for me during the conference included:
- The panel of newer, under 45 ACB members who have come to our organization through our ACB Community. It has been said many times but bears repeating. We are providing a sense of belonging and helping people stay connected during this uncertain time we are all living through. It is inspiring to hear stories of these younger members. The enthusiasm they bring means great things for the future of ACB.
- What more can we say about the Fireside Chat! ACB President Dan Spoone was an excellent host and it was great to not only hear the professional aspirations of the leaders present, but also get a peak into their personal lives. In particular, I was so pleased to see the President of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) there. ACB and NFB have been adversaries for too long over these past sixty years, it is far past time for us to, where we can, work together for positive change for people who are blind or visually impaired.
- Hearing from representatives of the major airlines about their efforts to comply with the recently released DOT rules shows how sometimes, Government agencies put challenges in front of the airlines. Sarah and Sheila were excellent moderators for that panel, and they were firm but fair.
- Celebrating the first birthday for ACB Next Generation was terrific. Again, the enthusiasm and interest to get involved shown by these younger members means great things for ACB. These individuals are our future, and that future is bright!
- Both the Digital Inclusion and Health and Wellness panels held on Day 3 of the conference were excellent. It was so nice, in this virtual world, to be able to move from one to another without the usual headaches of being in a hotel, finding your way from one room to another and trying to find a seat quietly without stepping on one or more dogs. We have lots of work to do, but it is work that we need to do because all of us deserve to be included and to be able to manage our health just like anyone else.
ACB President Dan Spoone, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs Clark Rachfal and many others are to be congratulated for putting on such a great conference. Thank you hardly seems enough to say to the countless individuals working behind the scenes streaming the conference proceedings on ACB Radio, YouTube, Facebook, and other places. All the Zoom hosts did an excellent job. ACB can be proud of the talented staff and volunteers we have who worked tirelessly to put this conference together and showed their professionalism through and through. While next year, I want us to be back together in person, this year’s virtual leadership conference showed us there is more than one way to inform, educate and inspire our current and future leaders.
To learn more about ACB’s 2021 Leadership conference, visit: https://acb.org/2021-leadership-conference.
Leadership Conference Videos:
- To watch the President’s Meeting, visit: https://youtu.be/y29oXvptWUQ
- To watch the Fireside Chat, visit: https://youtu.be/CgFq6P2Xbio
- To watch Day 1, Part 1 of the Legislative Seminar, visit: https://youtu.be/6Q4s8saBm1Q
- To watch Day 1, Part 2 of the Legislative Seminar, visit: https://youtu.be/FHjsQq8y7pg
- To watch Day 2 of the Legislative Seminar, visit: https://youtu.be/v2zAZWtg_-o