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Editorial: a New Look For The Canadian Monitor

Newsletters, like the organizations that publish them, grow and change. This issue of The Canadian Monitor marks a major expansion in the National Federation for the Blind: Advocates for Equality (NFB:AE).

In May, 1995, we embarked on a major public education telephone campaign. We hope to speak to every household in Canada within the next 5 years to deliver a very simple but powerful message: "If blind people have good training and equal opportunity, blindness can be reduced to an inconvenience."Like all worthwhile projects, public education costs money. We will be paying for this campaign with the help of interested members of the public who decide to support us after hearing our message.Sometimes it is hard to know the results of our efforts. It is unlikely that one telephone call will change deeply held beliefs about blindness. However, the collective impact of ten million telephone conversations may be greater than we can imagine. One drop of water falling on a rock has little effect. Millions of drops of water falling on that same rock over time can turn a solid rock surface into a deep canyon. Our work is like that drop of water. Sometimes the changes are undetectable. Occasionally they are immediate anddramatic. Over time they are inexorable and will reshape the attitudes of an entire societyHow does all of this affect The Canadian Monitor? for one thing, our campaign is helping us contact blind people who have never heard of our organizations and want to know more. In addition, we have been able to work with the publishing division of the company doing our public education campaign to produce an expanded Canadian Monitor. To pay for this expansion, we are welcoming advertisements. We appreciate the generosity of the individuals and businesses supporting us and hope that our readers will find the information contained in these advertisements informative and useful.Another change in The Canadian Monitor is a sad one. Our able editor, Alan Neville, after much soul searching, has decided to retire. Alan and his wife Doreen volunteered countless hours to produce The Canadian Monitor. Both are involved in a number of community activities, and they felt that they needed a less hectic pace. We will miss Alan's cla rity of thought and sometimes gently whimsical editorial style. Fortunately, he has agreed to continue writing for these pages and to provide his experience and wisdom to me as your new editor.I view The Canadian Monitor as one of our prime vehicles for communicating and discussing ideas within the NFB. Because this country is so vast and blind people are so few in number, it is essential that we use whatever tools we can to grow in unity and purpose. This is just one more way of saying that we need your ideas, your comments, your critiques, and your articles. To make it easier for you to contact the National Office, we now have a toll free telephone number. You may contact us by calling 1-800-561-4774. At the moment, this number rings in the Gabias home, so you may be greeted by our five year old daughter Joanne or our two and a half year old son Jeffrey. I suppose this gives new meaning to the term "Federation Family."

As 1996 begins, we can be thankful for the progress we have made. Our future as an organization, and the future of The Canadian Monitor as a publication, looks bright. I'm excited about my new role as facilitator of communication among blind people through the Monitor. I know that with the support of our members and readers The Canadian Monitor will continue to serve this vital purpose.