Creating Opportunities for Inclusion of People with Vision Loss and Blindness

“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” – Gwendolyn Brooks, first Black Pulitzer Prize winner

At Society for the Blind, this February marks an important opportunity to highlight inclusion as we honor Black History Month and prepare to offer a public Zoom presentation on a growing career field for people who are blind or have vision loss.

The national theme for Black History Month this year is Black health and wellness. At Society for the Blind, we are committed to reaching Black communities, which have the highest rates of vision loss and blindness from glaucoma and cataracts. Access to regular eye exams is critical to identifying eye diseases early before they cause permanent vision loss, so we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to receive care as early as possible in our Low Vision Clinic. We are grateful to the Sacramento Observer newspaper for including stories about our clients in their newspaper so their readers with vision loss know they are not alone and have somewhere to go for help. We also are grateful to our staff member Debra Pendleton who, along with some of our Black students, founded the Black Americans Senior Support Group at Society for the Blind to ensure our Black seniors would have a safe space to talk about the unique challenges faced at the intersection of being Black and experiencing vision loss while aging. The virtual support group is open and will next meet on Feb. 25.

Inclusion in employment also has become an important topic at Society for the Blind as we work to overcome the 75% unemployment rate in the blind and low vision community. On Feb. 22, our CareersPLUS program will host a Zoom panel called Nothing About Us Without Us to talk about the growing field of audio description. We will be joined by three of today’s most recognizable voice talents and advocates for audio description: Roy Samuelson, Thomas Reid and Satauna Howery. Moderated by Society’s Brandie Kubel and Randy Owen, the event will explore what makes for quality audio description, how it was created by people who were blind and is becoming a rapidly growing career field for those without vision, and why there is a new push in the entertainment industry to market audio description to people with vision so they can listen to entertainment content as they do audio books. We hope you will attend the presentation.

Thank you to our supporters who allow us to continue creating even more opportunities for inclusion of people with vision loss and blindness, from children to seniors. We hope to see you on Zoom on Feb. 22!