by Katie Frederick
For the past two years, ACB conventions presented unique opportunities for the organization. Thanks to technology, and countless hours from volunteers, we hosted two outstanding virtual events. As planning began for the 2022 convention, the stage was set for a hybrid event — another first new opportunity for ACB.
The 2022 conference and convention activities officially began when President Dan Spoone called the convention to order on June 22. Many ACB special-interest affiliates held meetings or other virtual programming during the following three days. Those attending the in-person event began making their way to Omaha the last week of June as conference and convention hybrid activities began July 1.
Saturday, July 2
President Spoone called the opening session to order in Omaha Saturday evening, July 2. Mark Bulger, President, ACB of Nebraska, welcomed everyone to Omaha. Opening session traditions, included the president’s and executive director’s reports, awarding life memberships, recognizing DKM and JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows, hearing from Bob Ciminera, CEO of Vispero, for the diamond sponsor presentation, and an ACB Angels’ tribute (Yolanda Phelan and Vicki Johnson). The evening concluded with the roll call of affiliates.
Sunday, July 3
Sunday morning’s general session honored ACB scholarship winners, recognizing those in-person who won in 2020 and 2021 when the virtual conferences took place. A tribute to ACB Angel Bernice Kandarian (California), recognition of corporate and individual sponsors, updates from Marc Workman, president of the World Blind Union (WBU), and Jason Broughton, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), concluded the program for the morning. The session concluded with nominations and speeches of members running for the board of directors.
Monday, July 4
Highlights of Monday’s general session included scholarship presentations, honoring ACB Angel Josette Kernaghan, an Omaha historical presentation, and electing members to ACB’s board of directors and board of publications. The Audio Description Project (ADP) presented well-deserved awards, we heard from the 2022 class of ACB scholarship winners, and an update from Cindy Hollis, ACB’s Manager of Membership and Engagement.
Tuesday, July 5
For several years, a highlight of Tuesday’s general session has been the talking book narrator. This year’s narrator, Ray Foushee, did not disappoint. The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) presented scholarships, and we heard from more 2022 ACB scholarship winners. A tribute played honoring ACB Angel Rod Chard of Colorado. Clark Rachfal, ACB’s Director of Advocacy, and Swatha Nandhakumar, Advocacy and Outreach Specialist, provided updates on the 2021 resolutions, the 2022 legislative imperatives, and encouraged everyone to “keep advocating!”
Wednesday, July 6
Today’s general session highlighted many ACB activities. Members of the Resource Development Committee (RDC) thanked everyone for their support of the auction, walk, the angels program, the Braille Forum raffle, and more. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, these popular fundraisers are successful. Eric Bridges, ACB’s executive director, and Nancy Marks-Becker, Chief Financial Officer, presented on the growth of ACB. Day Al-Mohamed, Director of Disability Policy, Domestic Policy Council, addressed attendees.
Thursday, July 7
The final general session of the hybrid convention began Thursday morning. Traditionally, during the final general session, resolutions and constitutional amendments are read and voted on, and this year was no exception. After many hours of thoughtful contributions and debate from ACB members, the hybrid general session adjourned.
The 2022 conference and convention afforded in-person and virtual opportunities for ACB members and friends. Gathering in person was a treat for those of us who made it to Omaha, but thanks to technology, those who participated virtually had an enjoyable experience. I don’t know about you, but I’m already looking forward to connecting again in Schaumburg, Ill. next year.