Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MCIL asks Congress to preserve disability aspects of the ACA

For more information:
Sandi Klink 901-726-6404

The Memphis Center for Independent Living today called on Sen. Lamar Alexander to preserve critical components of the Affordable Care Act which secure the rights of people with disabilities to live in the community and provide vital healthcare services.  MCIL is joining disability rights organizations, the National Council on Independent Living and Centers for Independent Living all over the US in asking that Congress keep items necessary for the independence of people with disabilities.

“The Center has a long history of supporting people with disabilities right to live and work in the community like everyone else,” said Sandi Klink the Executive Director of the Memphis Center for Independent Living. “The loss of these programs will hit Tennessee taxpayers harder. We hate to see the dissolution of the common-sense programs in the healthcare law that will force people back into expensive institutions.”

Congressional Republicans are moving legislation that eliminates the Community First Choice Option (CFCO) by 2020 as part of a strategy to cut Medicaid funding for individuals with disabilities. CFCO, which was introduced as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides enhanced Federal funds to states, is the only current Medicaid program aimed at ensuring people with disabilities’ right to live in the community. CFCO saves states millions of taxpayer dollars and grant disabled citizens the freedom to decide where they want to live.

The concern is that in capping or block granting Medicaid congressional Republicans are setting limits on how many people with disabilities can transition from institutions into the community, and eliminating CFCO restores the Medicaid bias toward institutionalization that MCIL and the Disability Community has long fought to reverse.

The right to live in the community was first recognized in Federal law in the Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead case. The years since have seen the growth of centers for independent living as Disability Rights organizations have made community integration one of their primary concerns.

WHEN: 3:00 P.M. Wednesday, March 22, 2017
WHERE: 1633 Madison Ave. Memphis, TN 38104

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The MATAplus Ride from Hell

Know about the service before you complain about it

Bobbie Fields
By Bobbie Fields
Have you ever had one of those mornings where you wish you had just stayed in bed? That’s how I feel after my MATAplus ride this morning. 

As usual my bus arrived late which, quite naturally made me late to work. After getting on the bus I found out that three other riders had been added to driver’s manifest to be picked before my drop off.  

The first person got on the bus asking if she was the first to be dropped off, she started to complain when she learned she was not. She started ranting and bugging the driver about being late for her appointments. 

She scheduled an 8:30 am pickup for a 9:15 doctor’s appointment, I explained to her the importance of scheduling her ride earlier and taking into consideration the 30 minute pickup window and the fact this is a shared ride service.

The second rider, considering the fact that he has a visual impairment should’ve have requested to be called when the bus arrives. Riders who cannot see the bus have the same responsibility to meet the vehicle when it arrives and people who are blind may ask for a reasonable accommodation to be notified when the bus comes. Today however, we had to wait to wait 15 minutes before the second rider finally boarded the bus. 

The final rider we picked up seemed to think that she had a private car service because she wanted to bring the family along. They took forever to board the bus. 

MATA operator

All three of these people could have made this trip go much smoother simply by being prepared. The first one should have scheduled her ride at least an hour and a half before her scheduled appointment. The next person should have added to his profile a courtesy call request when making reservations.  The third person could have made sure that all those accompanying her were ready. Each MATAplus rider should consider the other people who ride the bus and the limited space. 

I would suggest if you want your own car service and you don’t need the accessibility of MATAplus, to consider Uber or one of the other transportation providers.  Each rider must consider the certain factors that come along with using a ride share. Know what MATAplus provides before you use and complain about the service.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee

48th Annual State Convention


March 31 – April 2, 2017

Crown Plaza Hotel
300 N. Second Street
Memphis, TN

The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

Hospitality Room (Harbor Room Suite)
The members of the Memphis Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee would like to welcome all convention attendees to our great city! Join us in the Harbor Room Suite located on the second floor for great food, fun, and music…our door will be open. Come mingle with leaders of the TN affiliate and fellow Federationists. Like the Cheers theme song said, “Making your way in the world today takes everything you got, taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot,” so join us on:
Friday March 31, 2017 8:00 PM-midnight
Saturday April 1, 2017 6:30-8:30 AM, 12:00noon-1:30 PM, and 10:00-11:30 PM
Exhibit Hall (Tennessee Room)
Come visit some of the Nation’s best training centers for the blind, learn about innovations in technology, and find resources that could benefit you or someone you know who is blind. Our Exhibit Hall features the largest number of exhibitors at a TN state convention, and it will be open on Friday from 3:00-6:00 PM and Saturday from 12:00-2:00 PM.
Guide Dog Relief Area
The guide dog relief area at the Crown Plaza Hotel is located across the parking lot once you exit the main entrance of the hotel.  A trash can will be on-site, so please be responsible. 

Registration (Tennessee Room)
If you have already preregistered or need to register for the NFB of Tennessee state convention, please stop by our registration table.  It will be open from 2:00-4:00 PM Friday afternoon and from 8:00-9:00 AM on Saturday. Registration is only $10.00. Tickets for the banquet on Saturday night can be purchased for $35.00!

Friday March 31, 2017

3:00-6:00 PM Exhibit Hall (Tennessee Room)

3:00-6:00 PM Sports Seminar, Jessica Beecham, Executive Director, We Fit Wellness, Colorado Springs, CO (Memphis Room)
Come join us to learn how blind people can defend themselves as well as relax with some yoga. We can live the lives we want; blindness is not what holds us back.

5:00-6:00 PM Scholarship Committee, John Harris, Chair (Beale Street Room)

6:00-7:00 PM Resolutions Committee, Terry Smith, Chair (Plaza Room)

6:00-7:30 PM Tennessee Association of Blind Students, Shannon Hanson, President (Delta Room)
Join the Tennessee Association of Blind Students as we discuss accessibility issues faced by blind students nationwide. Find out what the NFB is doing on a national level to combat them. Dr. Deborah Carter will join us to talk about minimizing stress and making college a positive experience. 

7:00-8:00 PM Audit Committee, Melisa Smith, Chair (Beale Street Room)

7:00-9:00 PM Tennessee Association of Guide Dog Users, Shea Welch, President (Memphis Room)
We are excited to welcome you to TAGDU’s fourth annual Hup Up Tennessee seminar to discuss training, advocacy, and daily life as guide dog users. Hear from representatives of two major guide dog schools, learn about working with children as a guide dog user, participate in an interactive advocacy workshop, and have a hand in the future goals of our growing organization. Join TAGDU’s seminar for some great information, door prizes, and fun!

8:00-11:00 PM TABS Game Night (Tennessee Room)
Stop by the TABS game night where you can not only join in on Family Feud and Singing Bee, but also grab some pizza and a light snack and catch up with friends! Tickets are $10.00.

Saturday April 1, 2017

General Session – located in the Tennessee Room on the lower level.

Theme: All Heart: Federation Grit and Grind
9:00 AM: Call to Order!
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

Deborah Carter, Member, Memphis Chapter
Memphis, TN

Greetings from the Land of the Blues
Christina Clift, President, Memphis Chapter
Reginald Tate, TN State Senator
Lawrence Johnson, Grizzly Community Mentoring Program
Danny Z, WUMR Music
Memphis, TN

9:30 AM: National Report: Together We Can!!
Shawn M. Callaway, Board Member
National Federation of the Blind
President, NFB of Washington DC

10:00 AM: Pushing Past Your Limit
Bobbie Davis PH.D, LCSW
Clarksville, TN

10:20 AM: 2017 Tennessee Scholarship Class
Talent Alone is Never Enough
John Harris, Chair, Scholarship Committee, State Board Member
Murfreesboro, TN

10:40 AM: University of Memphis Goes for the Slam Dunk!
Teaming up for Accessible Technology
Trey Martindale Ed.D, Instructional Design
and Technology Program
Fair Berg Ed.D, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning
Memphis, TN 

11:00 AM: AIRA and Google Glass
A Team of One
James Boehm, President, Nashville Chapter
Nashville, TN

11:20 AM: Sports and Wellness for the Blind in Tennessee
Turning Setbacks into Comebacks
Jessica Beecham, Executive Director
We Fit Wellness
Colorado Springs, CO

11:40 AM: How to Win with Social Security
Courtney Williams, State Board Member
Johnson City, TN

Noon: Adjourn for Lunch
Exhibit Hall in Tennessee Room open from 12:00-2:00 PM

12:00-1:30 PM: Tennessee Association of Blind Merchants (Memphis Room)
Sharon Treadway, President
Nashville, TN

2:00 PM: Progress and Pride
Ruth Hemphill, Outreach Librarian, Tennessee Library for the Blind
Nashville, TN

2:25 PM: Why You Should be a Federationist
Winners Find a Way
Stephanie Zundel, Member, Nashville Chapter
Nashville, TN

2:45 PM: Calling All BELL Students
Full Court Press IN Tennessee
Christina Clift, President, Memphis Chapter
Memphis, TN
Tonika and TaMyah Jordan
Mother and Daughter Duo                                  
Clarksville, TN

3:05 PM: Got Blindness Skills?
Stay Coachable
Eric Guillory, Director of Youth Services
Louisiana Center for the Blind
Cindy Jones-Yeager, Coordinator,
Alabama Freedom Center for the Blind
Birmingham, AL

3:35 PM: Tennessee Blind Services
Intense Trust Creates Incredible Teams
Shaniqua Cox, Director
Field Operations for Services for the Blind
Chattanooga, TN

3:55 PM: The Working Class Blind
Championships are Built on Relationships
Terry Smith, First Vice President, NFB of TN
Chattanooga, TN.

4:25 PM: State Presidential Report
One Team, One Goal
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

4:50 PM: Nominating Committee Report
Building a High-Performance Team
Nominating Chair, Terry Smith
First Vice President, NFB of TN
Chattanooga, TN

4:45 PM: Elections, Leading from Where You Are
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

5:00 PM: Adjourn

7:00-10:00 PM Banquet (Tennessee Room)
Master of Ceremony: June Mangum, Memphis Chapter Board Member
Keynote Address: Shawn M. Callaway, Board Member
National Federation of the Blind
President, NFB of Washington DC

Sunday April 2, 2017

8:00-8:45 AM: Nondenominational Service, Minister Corea Yates, Victory Temple Missionary Baptist Church (Tennessee Room)

General Session (Tennessee Room)
9:00 AM: Call to Order
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

9:05 AM: Invocation
Russell Jones, Second Vice President, Memphis Chapter
Memphis, TN

9:10 AM: Communications Committee Report
Steve Norman, Chair
State Board Member
Murfreesboro, TN

9:40 AM: Legislative Committee Report
James Brown, President, NFB of TN
Nashville, TN

9:55 AM: Audit Committee Report
Melisa Smith, Chair
Chattanooga, TN

10:10 AM: Treasurer’s Report
Evelyn Hogue, Treasurer, NFB of TN
Memphis, TN

10:25 PM: Website Committee Report
Tyler Butler, Committee Chair
Member, Nashville Chapter
Nashville, TN

10:40 AM: Chapter and Division Reports

11:15 AM: Resolutions Report
Terry Smith, Chair, Resolutions Committee
Chattanooga, TN

11:50 AM: Customary Motion
Nominating an Alternate delegate to National Convention

11:55 AM: State Convention 2018

Noon: Adjourn

Thank you to all of our members!
We couldn’t do this without you.

President: James Aaron Brown
4113 Tea Garden Way
Antioch, TN 37013
(615) 412-9632