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President's Message

Many, or so I am told, are waiting to hear from the new NFB:AE President. That is more than a little intimidating. We place so, so much weight on what we take away from situations, such as walking from a room after having just listened to a speaker, putting down a book, and of course, after meeting someone for the first time. For a person who strongly prefers to remain quietly in the background, I must ask what have I done to myself? Despite this pre-pubescent phobia, I decided to offer myself for the office of President at this year's NFB:AE convention because of certain long - held convictions. I want to say "dream," but everyone has dreams.

For me, working on the dream of forging greater unity among organizations of the blind in Canada has become 'my reality'. That reality, I believe, is already shared by countless numbers of people; and those who do not know it yet, will work toward its achievement. The reality of bringing everyone together under one roof. The goal of assembling all the seemingly discordant, disaffected, fragmented, collective and/or individual voices, and have them coalesce into a single chorus; sounding as one may seem pretty idealistic and utopian? Still it is the here and now, and with the support and active participation of those who share this "reality", I want to contribute to help bring it about.

The NFB:AE, CCB, CFB, CAB, CBSA, GDUC, W.O.B.B.L , and others are all comprised of people. They are all people who, at the most basic level, share some similar values, anecdotal experiences, successes and/or failures. The wealth of people resources which we can access today is but the surface of a rich reservoir, and an untapped watershed. The base denominator quite simply is: we all know right from wrong.

The rights of independence, pride, self-determination, and full-fledged citizenship are basic beliefs. The right to use or develop our talents, values, and experiences to the benefit and well-being of our peers and for those to come must be enhanced. The wrong is: a system that fosters dependency or marginalizes people. The wrong is people being denied their rights to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives. Such notions may sound so simplistic, and I could go on, but you know what I mean. We are on the path to a "new reality" of bringing people together collectively. What it will resemble in the end, we cannot say at this point, but everyone will have a voice in shaping it. There are those within the NFB:AE and CCB who have already embarked on this path. We can only develop a framework. Making it work will ultimately rest with the grassroots of every organization who will have a voice in shaping this new reality for persons who are blind, deaf-blind, or partially sighted in Canada.