by Eric Bridges
Far too often in the media, people who are blind or visually impaired are portrayed in two ways. Either we are shown as heroes who have overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers, or characterized as helpless victims who have been taken advantage of by scam artists and thieves. There seems to be very little middle ground in coverage. Do we lead regular lives? Of course, but the extremes appear to receive the lion’s share of coverage. Additionally, when the subject of employment is raised within the community, the tenor of the discussion often becomes emotional. Expressions of frustration and anxiety regarding the ongoing challenges that people who are blind or visually impaired continue to experience when seeking employment are quite prevalent. Many of these emotions may come from the misperceptions by employers and some in the general public regarding the capabilities of people who are blind.
In an effort to show a more complete depiction of who we are as a community, ACB embarked on a project. “BlindAbility: Willing, Able, and Seeking Opportunity” was created to highlight the abilities of blind individuals. This video can be used as an educational tool for hiring managers, HR professionals, or the general public. While the video first premiered during the opening session of our national conference and convention in Dallas, we wanted to highlight it again, as October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. To watch the video, go to www.acb.org/BlindAbility! Feel free to share it with your employer, state vocational rehabilitation personnel, or others in the general public.
Featured in this video are ACB members Tony Stephens, National Industries for the Blind; Tiffany Jolliff, U.S. Department of Labor; Carl Richardson, the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Rebecca Bridges, Federal Management Partners, Inc. We are grateful for their participation!
This is the first of what ACB hopes is a series of videos that will attempt to explain who we as blind people are and confront anxiety or misperceptions that people who are not blind have of our community.