The National Federation of the Blind of Texas originally planned to hold its annual convention November 5-7, 2021 at the Doubletree by Hilton at Houston Hobby Airport. However, due to increasing concern over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the board has determined that for the health and safety of our members, this year's convention will be virtual.
National Federation of the Blind of Texas President Norma Crosby wrote:
I hope you are all safe and well. I am writing this morning to discuss updated plans for our 2021 state convention. As you know, we have been planning a hybrid convention that would allow those who want to come together in person to do that. However, I have been watching the rise of the delta variant, and Texas seems to be a hotbed for the disease. So, I spoke with our board this week to determine how we should move forward, and the consensus was that we should cancel the in-person component of the convention and move forward with a virtual convention.
I agree with the board because I know that we have a number of members with underlying medical conditions, and none of us wants our convention to become a super spreader event. We often talk about being a family, and none of us wants to cause harm to any of our family members. We love all of you too much.
So, our convention will still take place on the weekend of November 5-7, but it will be a virtual event. We will be using the Crowd Compass app this year, and I will let you know when that app is unlocked so we can all visit with one another outside our meetings. I hope to have it ready to roll by October 15 or thereabouts. It is not only a good way to keep track of your agenda, but it can also be used to set up a quick profile and to connect with everyone else.
I want to thank our board for their support, and I want all of you to know that we value your lives and want you to remain safe. We'll miss seeing you. I can't tell you how much, but I hope we can all be together again next year.
Norma Crosby, President
Updates regarding convention activities will appear on our website between now and the convention. So, check the news section of our homepage for those updates, and of course, if you need help with registration you can contact or office at 281-968-7733. We are here from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday-Friday.
The following is a rough outline of the convention agenda. The final version will be posted online by October 25.
10:00 AM to Noon - Chapter Leadership and Communications Meeting
This meeting is intended to share information with our chapter leaders and those who might wish to become part of the elected leadership in the future. We will discuss things like officers and their duties, new reporting requirements for chapters, new communications opportunities for chapters (Zoom Phone and more), and other chapter related business. This will be an open dialogue, and I'll definitely be up for answering questions. This is not just for chapter presidents. Everyone is welcome. However, I do ask that all chapter presidents and as many chapter board members as possible attend.
11:00 AM to 2:00 PM - We are offering access tech and others an opportunity to host seminars to let you know about their latest and greatest offerings.
1:00 to 4:00 PM - NFB-NEWSLINE TEXAS Silver Bells Seminar
This seminar is geared toward blind seniors, but everyone is welcome. Liz Wisecarver and her team of instructors will offer you information about how to use Newsline to manage your everyday life. Whether you want to learn how to save recipes for future use, start using Alexa to get your news or use the local information channel to find all kinds of information that is pertinent to Texas, you should come to this one-of-a-kind seminar. You should also let your friends know. As usual, it is not necessary to be a member to participate in this or other seminars that we host during the convention. In fact, we encourage new folks to join us. We always include some home organization, daily living, access tech and other information in addition to our offerings about Newsline. So, even if you are already an advanced user, there should be something you can take away from this session.
3:30 to 5:00 PM - Southwest ADA Center
This seminar will be related to housing law. Even if you don't have personal issues related to housing, you might want to attend in order to learn more about housing law as it applies to people with disabilities. It might help you to advocate for someone else or give you information to share with your members. Everyone is invited.
5:30 to 6:45 PM - NFBTX Board of Directors Meeting
7:00 PM - Resolutions Committee
This year's committee is chaired by Glenn Crosby. Committee members include Louis Maher, Gabe Cazares, Rhanda Hasley, Ronnie Bellomy, Jeanetta Price, Wendy Walker, and Joni Martinez. If you haven't received correspondence about your appointment to this committee, you will receive something early next week. If you have a resolution you wish to submit, please send it to me at this email address. The deadline for submission is October 31.
7:00 PM - Texas Association of Blind Students
The students will have a seminar and business meeting, and I believe they are also including some fun once the meeting is done. So, join them for a little work and a lot of fun. I didn't include an end time because who knows when they'll finish since fun is involved.
7:00 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Meeting
Join Yolanda Shaw and all the members of our committee to learn about the committee and how you can engage with the work they are planning for the future. While I have assigned an official committee, everyone is welcome to share input with the committee, and I know they always welcome everyone to join in the work.
9:00 PM Texas Parents of Blind Children
Are you the parent of a blind child, a professional who works with children, or someone who just has an interest in the work of the TPOBC? If so, join Emily Gibbs and our parents for their annual business meeting. They are also looking for great leaders to help with the work of the division. So, if you want to help build our team of parents of blind children, come and join us.
7:45 to 8:45 AM - Coffee & Connections
This is our usual Newsline leadership breakfast. This year, we invite everyone to grab a cup of coffee, some bacon and eggs, a breakfast taco, or whatever suits your fancy. Just bring your own breakfast and join us for the awarding of our community outreach grants to the chapters that have helped build NFB-NEWSLINE TEXAS since our last convention. Everyone is welcome. We'll also be talking about the grant challenge for 2022. So, be there.
9:00 AM to Noon - General Session
We'll have speakers from our vocational rehab program, TSBVI, the scholarship committee and more. We'll also be joined by the Blind History Lady, who'll talk to us abut an outstanding figure in the history of blind people in our nation. There's more, but I'll leave some things until the final draft is complete.
1:30 to 3:00 PM - Breakout Sessions
Our Second Vice President, Dr. Kimberly Aguillard, and Dr. Angela Frederick will be presenting a seminar for those who want to become successfully employed. These two women have a history of finding success in the world of work and can share lots of insights about what to do, what not to do, and much more.
iBug will be hosting a seminar during the breakouts.
Raull Gallegos and his team will talk about apps that will keep you productive on the job, but even if you aren't working, come and learn how they can be useful in daily life as well.
The TPOBC is hosting a seminar about the basic rights of parents of blind children, and they'll also share more information about the division and how you can become involved.
Daniel Martinez is organizing a group for blind parents, and he invites anyone who is interested in helping with this project to join him during breakout time.
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is hosting a Spanish language seminar as a breakout session.
TXAGDU, our guide dog division, is hosting its annual meeting as well as a really interesting seminar about animal psychology.
We are working on a couple of other sessions, and any additions will be listed in the final agenda.
3:15 to 5:00 PM - General Session
We'll hear from our National Representative, Kevan Worley. A young woman who served as an officer in the statewide FFA program will talk about her journey as a blind person in that program, and I'll offer my president's report. Again, there are still a couple of additional things to work out, but I'll keep you updated.
7:00 to 9:00 PM - NFBTX Banquet and Auction
You'll hear a dynamic presentation by our national representative. We'll award our scholarships, and we'll host a live auction for the wonderful baskets our chapters have donated to support our affiliate's programs. We are in the process of setting up an online bidding platform in case you'd like to get a head start on bidding for these great baskets. Liz Wisecarver is heading up this project and will post new information about how to bid in advance of the convention. On the evening of the banquet, the bidding will switch from online to live, and we'll get those baskets out the door.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7
10:00 AM to Noon - General Session
This session will primarily deal with business. We'll hold elections, hear reports, deal with resolutions, and have a couple of presentations from our office staff to bring you up-to-date on all our projects. I will be providing you with additional information about voting in the next few days. If you are registered with the convention and are a dues-paying member you will be eligible to vote during the convention.
National Federation of the Blind of Texas
1600 E Highway 6, Suite 215
Alvin, TX 77511
(281) 968-7733 * (281) 809-4860 (Fax)