President's Message: Committees Are the Strength of ACB

by Kim Charlson

Much of the work of the American Council of the Blind is done by the hard-working members of our many committees and task forces. ACB's staff is small but determined, and there are only so many hours in the day for them to get the work of the organization finished. If not for the members of the dozens of working committees, the many tasks that need to continue moving forward every day all year long would be severely slowed down or not get completed at all.
 
As ACB's new president, one of the first tasks I tackled was the review and appointment of members to all of the ACB committees across the organization. It really takes quite a bit of time to review, evaluate, and determine who wishes to continue to serve, who wishes to step down or serve the organization in another capacity, and in some cases, reorganize or restructure the committees to ensure that they address the full scope of the organization's needs.
 
I wish to express my personal thanks to all members who have served on ACB committees, both in the past, present and now into our future. All have made a real contribution to the critical work of ACB. Now moving forward, everyone who will be serving on our new committees has much work and opportunity ahead to shape the direction of the organization and advocacy for the future.
 
Much more detailed information on each committee and task force can be found at www.acb.org where you will find mission statements outlining the scope of work for all committees. Below is a list of the many ACB committees that work so hard for this organization. I am hopeful that you will gain a better understanding of the diverse areas ACB committees cover and the scope of their work: ACB Store, ACB Radio management, ACB strategic planning groups, advocacy services, auction, Audio Description Project, awards, constitution and bylaws, convention coordinating, convention program, credentials, education task force, employment, environmental access, health issues task force, information access, Internet oversight, international relations, investment, Durward K. McDaniel committee, membership, Monthly Monetary Support, multicultural affairs, public relations, rehabilitation issues task force, resolutions, resource development, scholarship, sight and sound impaired committee, transportation, voting issues task force, walk, web task force, and women's concerns committee.
 
Often, our committees identify issues that we need the help of the membership to impact – whether that is a phone call to your Congressional representative, an e-mail to a technology company expressing your concern on the lack of accessibility of a new software product, or a letter to a governmental agency expressing your opinion about new access guidelines. Your help does make a difference. Don't feel that your one little phone call won't have an impact; it does. Letters, calls and e-mails from real citizens on the issues make a huge difference, and that is the true power and influence of ACB – each and every one of you and your strength as a citizen. Don't underestimate your influence in the advocacy process. You have a powerful message and strength and influence that will always be important to ACB. Through our collective membership strength, we can make so many things happen for people who are blind all across the country. Please join with me as the next vital call for action comes out asking for you to advocate through calls, letters or e-mails – take the five minutes to make a phone call. Don't forget to send off that e-mail or drop a short note with your personal story. It will make a priceless difference in our work! We need to continue to work together to make our issues rise to the level of importance to get action.
 
One of my favorite Helen Keller quotes says it best: "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."