The official policies of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois are established every year with annual resolutions adopted at the state convention.
The resolutions committee meets early during the convention. Each proposed resolution is read, spoken for by the authoring member, considered, and then ultimately withdrawn or recommended for passage or disapproval by the Convention.
Resolution 2016-01: Commending Horizons for the Blind, for Its Ongoing Commitment to Braille Availability, Usage and Literacy
WHEREAS, for nearly forty years, Horizons for the Blind has improved nonvisual information access to blind persons by producing materials in Braille and “in raised formats; and
WHEREAS, examples include raised representations of animals, as part of making the museum experience more accessible, available and meaningful to blind patrons; and
WHEREAS, Horizons for the Blind continues producing many materials in Braille, including restaurant menus, newsletters for other organizations, cookbooks, materials of general interest, bank statements, utility bills and programs for performances at some of Chicago’s world-class fine arts institutions; and
WHEREAS, this ongoing work affirms the efficacy of communication in Braille and the importance of Braille literacy: Now, Therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois in convention assembled this twenty-ninth day of October, 2016, in the City of Naperville, Illinois, that this organization commend Horizons for the Blind for its ongoing commitment to Braille usage and literacy; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization continue promoting the importance and efficacy of Braille, and the literacy it affords blind people, generally.
Resolution 2016-02: Regarding the failure of the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services to facilitate informed choice and participation in alternative adjustment-to-blindness training programs
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind knows that low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams and, to that end, has established adjustment-to-blindness centers in Colorado, Louisiana and Minnesota which equip blind students for success through a combination of effective training in the use of alternative techniques that don’t require vision and positive messages and examples of the safety, reliability and efficiency of those techniques; and
WHEREAS, The Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services Bureau of Blind Services (BBS) operates a counselor-customer-based model through its “center for Rehabilitation and Education” which allows those seeking services to select from among classes and activities they believe will enhance their ability to live independently; and
WHEREAS, Applicable federal regulations and statements on the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation web site state that “ORS works in partnership with people with disabilities and their families to assist them in making informed choices to achieve full community participation through rehabilitation, employment, education, and independent living opportunities.”; and
WHEREAS, the BBS program, while convenient for Illinoisan’s who don’t wish to leave Illinois or their families for training and less challenging for those doubting their abilities as blind people, provides adjustment-to-blindness training that is much more limited in scope and effectiveness than that available outside Illinois; and
WHEREAS, Recognizing the effectiveness of training centers operated by the NFB in accord with our philosophy of high expectations, the confidence and success of those graduating from such centers, and the comparably limited scope and effectiveness of training available in Illinois, many blind Illinoisan’s have sought training through the above-mentioned NFB-operated centers; and
WHEREAS, Despite the diligence and timeliness of applications to participate in alternative training programs outside Illinois, BBS delays in rendering decisions have, in all known instances, extended beyond the program application deadlines and prevented their participation: Now, Therefore,
BEE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois this 30th day of October,2016 in the city of Naperville, Illinois, that this organization strongly insist the Bureau of Blind Services comply with the letter and spirit of regulations mandating that customers receive information regarding alternatives to the training available in Illinois and appropriately assist in the process of applying for such training, and that decisions on said applications be made in a timely manner; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization, through all available means, continue to assist customers in known instances where informed choice is denied or rendered ineffective through unreasonable delay; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization discuss with BBS any guidelines that may exist in its determinations as to when, or whether, a customer’s informed choice of training outside Illinois will be honored.
Resolution2016-03: Regarding AIM HE
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind endeavors always to achieve full inclusion of blind people in the experience, benefits, and opportunities to contribute through higher education; and
WHEREAS, we have sought legislation to that end by inclusive collaboration with
stakeholders (including the Association of American Publishers, the American Council on Education, EDUCAUSE®, the Software and Information Industry Association, and of course organizations who democratically represent the print disabled); and
WHEREAS, the solution to more fully realize the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act as applied to electronic accessibility has been arrived at, through input and negotiation of these stakeholders, along with the NFB, in the form of the Accessibility Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HE) or “Aim High” Act (authorizing a purpose based commission, having representation from stakeholders, in order to craft optional guidelines for Higher ed. institutions); and
WHEREAS,Congressman Phil Roe (TN), understanding the validity, necessity and justice of this act, has committed to introduce AIM HE to the US House of Representatives: Now, Therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED this 30th day of October 2016, that the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois in solidarity with our national organization further commend Congressman Roe’s commitment to introduce the AIM HE bill into Congress, and furthermore, to urge the Illinois members of Congress to consider and grant a floor vote to pass this bill, which would better afford the blind and print-disabled the equal right of access to higher education.