The contents of this column reflect the letters we had received by the time we went to press, May 4, 2012. Letters are limited to 300 words or fewer. All submissions must include the author's name and location. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
In Response to Two Recent President's Messages
I had a chance to read the two articles by Mitch Pomerantz regarding employment of the blind. I strongly agree with the idea that a no-nonsense video with study materials has to be developed for employers to heighten their awareness about what blind people can do on the job. It is about time someone came up with this idea. I thought about this years ago. Society has to start feeling more comfortable around blind people. They have to raise their expectations of us.
So many times we don't get hired because of people's biases. We give up because we get tired of hitting our heads against the wall. It hurts after a while.
Yes, I would rather work and I am looking into possibilities for myself to get ahead, which isn't easy. Employers have to start seeing us as an asset rather than a liability. They have to learn that we can do the job for them and break down those outdated stereotypes regarding blindness.
-- P. William Meinecke, Virginia Beach, Va.
I'm writing this letter after Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday celebration. I am concerned that we blind citizens are losing our civil rights! Last Monday stood for all of us, not just African-American citizens.
I'll give a few examples. I went to the doctor one time when I was still teaching. After the receptionist took our home phone number, we asked if she wanted my work number. The receptionist asked, "Oh, you work?" Recently my wife Paula heard the nurse tell her that she didn't think Paula should be out of the house alone because she was legally blind!
Other Florida friends were refused the return of their enlarged checks for financial purposes. With our member being very insistent, the bank finally agreed to provide enlarged copies of the cancelled checks.
Another couple made doctor's appointments with a new primary care physician. The office of this primary care physician actually called up the couple's adopted daughter and asked if they could take care of themselves. Her answer was that they had been living on their own for at least 30 years.
Folks, we ACB members need to step up to the plate and continue to insist on our rights! Think of this example. Anybody can take a single sheet of paper and rip it up. However, a whole bunch of pages such as those in a phone book can't be ripped in two pieces!
-- Dan Marshall, Baton Rouge, La.
Concerns about Verizon
For those of you who thought that the Verizon Center for Persons with Disabilities would help a blind consumer with a major computer issue, think again. I've been having problems sending out my magazine because my Verizon server decided to tag it as spam. When I called the Verizon office, a very nice woman answered the phone, and as I explained my problem to her, she tried to refer me back to tech support. I told her that being blind, I wasn't able to work well with tech support, and furthermore, neither tech support nor their supervisor admits any responsibility on behalf of Verizon for the problem. Despite what I told her, the woman could not help me any further because she didn't have the resources.
If Verizon has an office exclusively to assist consumers with disabilities, shouldn't they have some kind of accommodation process? Tech support people who work for Verizon do not know how to help blind people with computer issues because they aren't trained in adaptive methods. I feel that this office needs to be a bit more progressive if it's going to live up to its title.
-- Bob Branco, New Bedford, Mass.