Last Chance for “Let’s get it out there” Town Hall Tele Meeting

Hi everyone: This is our final reminder re our invitation to you to join us on March 04for a countrywide tele town hall “Let’s get it out there” a follow up to our previous town hall which was held on October 29 2016.
We want to thank those of you who have taken the time to register and we are looking forward to some very exciting and interesting interaction.
Please note: For those of you who have registered, you will be emailed the guidelines for the rules of engagement starting as of Feb 27. Registration closes at noon Eastern on Wednesday Mar 01.
We again thank you and now invite you to read on below.

In this announcement: You’ll find info about our tele town hall, bios of our team; panelists, sponsoring individuals, moderator, and finally some thought provoking questions to help you get started.

The beginning of each section is marked with 5 asterisks.
We thank you and take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

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Save the date!

On March 04 2017, a group of advocates from the blind and visually impaired community in collaboration with some organizations of the blind will be holding a tele town hall titled “let’s get it out there.”
A title that was derived through the creative imagination of one of our very own; Irene Lambert of Montreal.

Time: 1:00 pm Eastern
10:00 am Pacific
11:00 am Mountain
Noon Central
2:00 pm Atlantic
2:30 in Newfoundland

This town hall meeting is being jointly sponsored by the following:
Individuals – Richard Marion, Robin East, Anthony Tibbs, Donna Jodhan.
Organizations –
Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)/Get together with technology (GTT), Citizens with Disabilities of Ontario (CWDO).

The objective of this second tele town hall is to give participants an opportunity to voice their opinions and suggestions in a meaningful and constructive way on how we as a community can become a stronger voice for consumer advocacy. What can we do in order to move forward in a positive way.

This second tele town hall is not meant to be used as any sort of decision making mechanism but rather as an open forum for constructive discussion.

Meet our panelists!
Richard Marion, Anthony Tibbs, Melanie Marsden, Albert Ruel, Paul Edwards.
Our moderator is Jane Blaine.
You can read more about our team in the section following this one.

We have prepared a short list of questions which you can use to help you to spark and formulate your ideas and this is pasted at the end of this email.

If you wish to participate then you may send an email to us at LetUsGetItOutThere@gmail.com

You will receive a confirmation of receipt.
During the week of Feb 27 you will receive an email with details of the call in info along with the rules of engagement.
Registration will close at noon Eastern on Feb 28.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Signed
The “Let’s get it out there” tele town hall team

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Introducing our team!
Meet Richard Marion! (co-sponsor and panelist) Currently Richard Marion is living in Vancouver British Columbia.
Richard has been involved in advocacy for most of his adult life so far.
He first expressed interest in working on issues concerning people with disabilities as a student in college when he got involved with the provincial affiliate of National Educational Association of Disabled Students. From this point he was hooked and continued working on issues concerning people with disabilities until now. Over the years, he has taken a more specific interest in the blind consumer movement in Canada and has been an active member of Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians and served as the organization’s president in 1998 when it was still known as NFB:AE. Over the years Richard has also been involved in a number of advisory processes including sitting on CNIB advisory committees and currently chairing the TransLINK Access Transit User’s Advisory Committee.

Meet Robin East! (co-sponsor)
Robin East has a Bachelor Degree in Social Work, a Certificate In Rehabilitation Personal Development, and Professional International certificates in Adaptive Technologies and Accessibility Guidelines. He has worked as a Teacher Associate, a Behavioural Therapist, and finally, an Officer with the Federal Public Service. Add to this volunteer work with the Community, the Union, the Province of Saskatchewan, a number of national charitable advocacy organizations, as well as local accessibility and advocacy organizations.”An advocate is like a catalyst that mixes with an ally and inspires empowerment” is a coined phrase of Robin’s. He believes in working with ally’s to overcome barriers and address common issues. He has been involved in advocacy since the early 80’s and continues to be a strong leader in which ever role he takes on.

Meet Anthony Tibbs! (co-sponsor and panelist) Anthony Tibbs has more than six years of experience on the national board of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians as treasurer and then president, and has served on a number of other boards over the year as well (including Guide Dog Users of Canada). With a business and law background, Mr. Tibbs’ day to day job is as a litigation lawyer (civil, class action, human rights, administrative law), but he continues to support the charitable and not-for-profit organizations that play such an important role to the community.

Meet Donna Jodhan! (co-sponsor and coordinator) Donna is a past president and second vice president of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians. She is also a past communications director of Canadian Blind Sports Association and she is the founder of Barrier Free Canada – Canada sans Barrières.
Donna is an entrepreneur, blogger, author, audio mystery writer, ongoing advocate, and law student. She firmly believes that whatever we do today will affect our kids of the future and that they are the ones that we need to protect, assist, and nurture.

Meet Albert A. Ruel! (panelist)
Albert has found his passion in the field of access technology for people who are blind or partially sighted. He has enjoyed a 22 year career in the not-for-profit rehabilitation, technology training and advocacy sectors for people with vision impairments. He holds a Social Service Worker Certificate and is passionate about helping people connect with their needs.
Most importantly, Albert is solution-focused, flexible, has a positive attitude and has a great sense of humour.

Meet Melanie Marsden! (panelist)
Melanie Marsden has been an advocate for over 30 plus years.
Part of this journey started while working on her social work degree at
Carleton University in 1989 While rasing two boys she completed her degree
in 1998.
Personally and professionally Melanie advocates for safe effective parenting.
Any events that are planned are planned from a best practices cross disability antiopression framework.
“When we all work together ecknowledging each person has a voice we accomplish more.”
Melanie enjoys assisting others whenever she can and connecting folks to one another when appropriate.

MeetPaul Edwards! (panelist)
And in his own words:
I was born in San Francisco California and was one of the early users of an incubator after being very premature. I was left with a little light perception which soon went away. At the age of seven I moved to Calgary Alberta Canada and went to school in Vancouver, British Columbia. At thirteen, my mother decided we were moving to Jamaica and I stayed there till I was 21. I graduated from high school sort of and completed my Bachelor’s SPECIAL Honors degree in History at the Mona Jamaica campus of the University of the West Indies. I was the first blind student to go there and ended up in Trinidad because I wanted to do a graduate degree in international relations which I successfully completed.
I met my first wife there and married during my degree and so was faced with the need to find a way to support her and my first daughter who was pretty quickly on the way after our marriage. I taught at a small school in the rural area of Trinidad partly because there was no other job and partly because I was not sure if I could really teach. I really enjoyed that first year because all the girls I taught really wanted to learn. Yes, it was a girls’ school. I was not making disparaging remarks about boys!
After one year I became the senior history master at Trinity College, the leading Anglican School for Boys in Trinidad and Tobago. Near the end of my teaching career, I got a graduate degree in Education from the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad.
When I left Trinidad ten years later I had three children: two girls and a boy. I moved to Florida where I went to work for the Division of Blind Services as a rehabilitation teacher. In this job, I went to people’s homes and taught them skills that would enable them to adjust to visual impairment. After three years of this, I became a Rehabilitation Counselor and worked mostly with high school and college students. In 1983, I moved to Jacksonville to take over as Executive Director of an agency serving blind people there. In 1986, I moved to Miami as Director of Services to Students with Disabilities on the North Campus of Miami Dade College, the largest two year college in the United States. On my campus we served over seven hundred disabled students a year. I retired from that job in May of 2012.
While I certainly regard my working life as rich and varied, I have derived much more pleasure from the work I have done as a volunteer and advocate. I have worked at the local level, at the state level and at the national level to try to make things better for people who are blind. I currently serve on the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, the National Accreditation Council Board and hold several positions within the American Council and its Florida Affiliate. I have worked particularly on library issues, promoting braille and changing laws.
I absolutely believe that I have been given as much by the people I have tried to help as I have given them. Until I became associated with ACB, I saw myself as an inferior creature desperately trying to compete in a world where I could never do quite enough to be accepted. What the blindness movement taught me is that the only person I have to satisfy is me. That may sound arrogant and overbearing but that is not how it is intended. I set high standards for myself and if I can meet them I am likely to meet the standards of others. I no longer worry about being accepted by society. I have rights and I will fight to see they are protected. Society does not need to accept me but they do need to include me. I am proud to be a person who is blind. I am proud of what I accomplish every day in spite of the barriers that are there. More than that, I am proud of what every blind person everywhere accomplishes every day. It isn’t easy to be blind and anybody who says it is or who suggests that it’s a walk in the park does not live in the same world I do!
I enjoy modern folk music, fantassy and science fiction and hope that, in due course, I will find some time to write. The one thing you can be sure I will not write is an autobiography. My three children are now grown up and I have ten grand children which is quite enough to keep me occupied and young.
I still have a lot to do and many places where I think I can help. I have had a good life and only wish I had not been quite so busy. When you don’t make time to smell the roses, they have often faded before you can enjoy them!

Meet Jane Blaine! (moderator)
Jane has been involved in programming and administration of blind sport and para sport for over 30 years. Professionally she is the Executive Director of BC Blind Sports and Recreation Association and also acts as the CEO of Canadian Blind Sports. Current interests of Jane’s include the development of a long term athlete/participant pathway showing how individuals who are blind or visually impaired enter physical activity and become physically literate, and move through the stages of long term athlete and participant development, as well as supporting the research into development of sport specific classification systems for athletes who are blind. Jane is also interested in the progress on development of a Canadians with a Disability Act.

Jane facilitated a previous session for AEBC and looks forward to facilitating this upcoming session.

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Questions for consideration
Question 1
How should service and advocacy organizations be transparent and accountable to the community?

Question 2
How do we engage individuals and organizations in the blindness community concerning our needs and rights in the broader Canadian Society?

Question 3
What specific actions can individuals and organizations take to promote transparency, integrity, accountability and respect?

Question 4
What should be included in Rules of Engagement that will govern ongoing collaboration in the blindness community?