by Dan Spoone
‘Tis the season to take a few minutes and reflect on all of our blessings. I’m so thankful for ACB. This community gives Leslie and me a place to belong. These last two years have been very challenging for us. We are very worried about the impacts from the pandemic. Just when we think things are getting better, we are confronted by another spike in the virus. We are tired, angry and worried. Our confidence in basic institutions is at a 100-year low. Our politics are polarized. It feels uncomfortable to have holiday meals with those you love. We try to have casual conversations, but politics are just under the surface, and you can always feel the tension. It’s exhausting and so uncomfortable. I don’t know how to have a civil conversation. The emotion is too high. It makes me feel so sad. In the middle of this despair, ACB has become my shining star for the future.
Our ACB family has risen above the politics to find the good in each of us. We have formed a community that fosters support for all blind and low vision people. Our members accepted the challenge of the pandemic with the same energy we use to advocate for our civil rights. We held two virtual conventions and proved our resilience. Both events featured eight days of amazing content with general sessions, prime time shows, 100-plus breakout sessions, fabulous banquets and wonderful audio description tours of parks and museums. Our members came together to modify our constitution to allow remote voting for all members.
ACB partnered with our fellow associations in the blindness field to hold a fireside chat and host a wonderful D.C. Leadership Conference. We partnered with AFB to offer over $90,000 in annual scholarships. The Inaugural Audio Description Awards Gala establishes ACB as the pre-eminent authority on Audio Description (AD) throughout the world. In a time of racial unrest, ACB has embraced diversity and inclusion. We passed a resolution to foster Spanish language materials within our organization and passed a code of conduct policy to insure safety for all members and provide a platform to report any misconduct. The Get Up and Get Moving Campaign has energized our members to embrace physical exercise, advocate for accessible health care and promote a lifestyle of healthy living.
I’m so thankful for ACB! It gives me a purpose. Leslie and I wish everyone a happy holiday, and we thank each of you for all of your gifts to our community. Please try to reach out to your family and friends and enjoy the holidays. Take time to tell those you live how much they mean to you. Hip, hip, hurray to ACB! You have truly made a difference in so many lives these past two years.