WASHINGTON (Oct. 7, 2020) — The American Council of the Blind celebrates on this day the advocates, industry, and congressional leaders who participated in the passage and signing of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The CVAA, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 8, 2010, remains one of the greatest legislative achievements for Americans who are blind and visually impaired in the digital age.
“Over the past decade, virtually every aspect of life has been impacted by the explosion of smart mobile communications,” said ACB president Dan Spoone. “Thanks to the CVAA, access to this smartphone revolution has been guaranteed for millions of Americans with disabilities.”
In addition to requiring smartphones be made accessible to consumers who are blind and visually impaired, the CVAA also created, for the first time, regulations that provide audio-described content on major broadcast and cable networks. As a further result of the law, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established a Disability Advisory Committee (DAC), which continues to advise the FCC on measures intended to secure greater access across our nation’s telecommunications infrastructure.
“We commend ACB leaders such as our executive director Eric Bridges, Audio Description Project director Joel Snyder, project co-chairs Kim Charlson and Carl Richardson, and the countless number of advocates who collectively helped garner major support from industry and Congress in order to create a truly bipartisan legislative victory,” Spoone added. “Together, they embraced ACB’s core value of collaboration, which has resulted in some of ACB’s strongest relationships over the past decade.”
The CVAA stands as a testament to the power that comes when industry and advocates join together in a collaborative spirit. ACB looks forward to working with industry over the next decade to identify additional ways we can enhance the quality of life and inclusion for Americans with disabilities in this digital age.
On Facebook Live, we welcomed leaders from our community, Congress and the private sector who were instrumental in the passage of this landmark legislation. Our special guests included Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), his former chief of staff and President of Bayer Strategic Consulting Mark Bayer, Apple’s Director of Federal Government Affairs Tim Powderly, AERBVI’s acting executive director and ACB first vice president Mark Richert, Executive Director of Perkins Library and ACB past president Kim Charlson, Bay State Council of the Blind president Brian Charlson, and ACB’s executive director Eric Bridges. Acclaimed musician Stevie Wonder created an exclusive video for our event, which you can access by visiting https://youtu.be/DiaoBxu-FrA. We shared this video over Twitter, which was then retweeted by Apple CEO Tim Cook. To view his tweet, visit https://tinyurl.com/y442vjyb. During the Facebook Live event, our guests reflected on the power of collaboration, the progress made over the past 10 years, and what opportunities rest just over the horizon. To access the full video of our CVAA celebration, visit https://youtu.be/ZH7wQ_yn6mY.