Dear Members and Friends,
During this special time of year, I want to extend my personal thanks to each and every one of you for your membership and commitment to the American Council of the Blind. Each of you are important to ACB’s success and, as president, I appreciate the time, talent, and energy you have given to our critical work over the past year. If you have supported ACB financially, I thank you for your past generosity. If you are able to do so, I would appreciate any additional financial assistance you can provide. It is only through the support of people like you that our important work can continue and flourish.
Let me highlight a few of this year’s achievements that your support helped to make possible.
Last April, Netflix announced enhanced access for customers who are blind. In a first-of-its-kind settlement, ACB and other advocates reached an agreement with Netflix to make accessible the movies and videos offered through the Netflix video streaming and DVD rental subscriptions.
In June, ACB took further action on currency delays, filing a motion in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia to require the U.S. Department of the Treasury to act judiciously and expeditiously in order to release accessible currency by Dec. 31, 2020. The petition to the court was prompted by a recent Treasury update that it would not have accessible currency until as late as 2026, 13 years past the initial timeline set forth by the court in ACB v. Paulson and, as such, is completely unacceptable to the leadership of ACB.
ACB launched ACB Link, an iOS app that connects members and friends of the American Council of the Blind. With ACB Link, you can:
- Access valuable resources offered by ACB;
- Get push notifications designed to keep you in the know;
- Easily and conveniently connect to state and special-interest affiliates;
- Be informed and entertained by ACB Radio’s various channels;
- Play ACB podcasts on demand; and
- Gain valuable information that focuses on dealing with sight loss.
ACB Link is intuitive, easy to use, and fully accessible.
Over the summer, executive director Eric Bridges and ACB reached an agreement with four D.C. taxi companies: Yellow Cab Company of D.C., Inc., Grand Cab Company, Elite Cab Association, and Pleasant Taxi Club LLC, to carry out an Accessibility Initiative to ensure that blind and visually impaired individuals accompanied by guide dogs have full and equal access to taxi services in the District of Columbia, including street-hailed taxicab services. The accessibility initiative, pioneered by these four companies, is available for any D.C. taxicab company or driver wishing to voluntarily promote equal access for all of their customers. ACB will monitor training, education effectiveness, and compliance by associated drivers with their legal obligations to provide street-hail taxicab services in D.C. Additionally, in a joint letter, all four companies recommended needed changes to D.C. Taxi Commission policies and rules to promote and safely provide street-hail taxi services in Washington, D.C. to the visually impaired.
Finally, JPMorgan Chase sponsored the production of a short, informational public service announcement called Spotlight On, which is about ACB and our work that will be airing over the next year on over 350 public television affiliates across the country. Check it out on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSAYiPiYouU&feature=youtu.be. Maybe if you watch it, you’ll be inspired!
Our work continues daily, and is performed by tens of thousands of members, the majority of whom are volunteers. Their activities help ACB live its mission: to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and improved quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people.
These important accomplishments in 2016 represent only a few of the achievements we have all worked hard to see to fruition. With your financial support, we will continue to build on these successes. Please help us continue our efforts with a gift today, at whatever level you can manage. Remember, no contribution is too small — every dollar we receive will make a difference. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Kim Charlson, President