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The New Jersey Council of the Blind
April, 2020

The New Jersey Council of the Blind’s mission is to strive for the betterment of the blind and visually impaired community. The purpose of this publication is to provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information that concern blind and visually impaired people.

The NJCB Chronicle is also available on Newsline. If you do not have a Newsline subscription, contact Reader Services at the New Jersey Talking Book and Braille Center at (800) 792-8322 to get signed up for a Newsline subscription. Four quarterly newsletters are sent to members free of charge by E-mail. You may obtain the current and back issues of the Chronicle and other information from our web site www.njcounciloftheblind.org. Feel free to write us at njcounciloftheblind@gmail.com.

The New Jersey Council of the Blind (NJCB) is a 501 (c) 3 corporation. Much appreciated tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Treasurer of NJCB.

The NJCB officers are:

President, Wanda Williford (609) 375-6682.

1st Vice President, Frank Schack – (973) 595-0116

2nd Vice President, Joyce Sowa (732) 596-9675.

Secretary Dan Bausch.

Treasurer, Steve Sowa (848) 999-2079 or by mail to PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095

President’s Message

President’s Message: We Count!
By Wanda Williford

Dear Friends,

Talking traffic signals, truncated curbs and accessible transportation are a few of many infrastructure issues that are important to the blind community. We are directly impacted by decisions made on our behalf, by local and federal lawmakers. Therefore, it is imperative we sound alarms and make sure our voices are heard.

There are numerous concerns we should keep top of mind. The ability to navigate our neighborhoods safely and independently. Many cities have audible traffic signals. However, there are not nearly enough. The uninformed ride share drivers who refuse passengers with guide dogs. Employers who will not hire the qualified recent college grad with low vision, due to the unnecessary fear of exorbitant accommodation costs. Our current healthcare system does not cover the cost of helpful visual devices. The blind community wants to live independent, gainfully employed, fulfilling lives like the average person in society.

In 2020 there are two major happenings that will allow us to speak loud and clear. The United States Census aims to count everyone in the fifty states and five territories. Mandated by the Constitution in 1790, the census determines how our tax dollars are allocated and amount of federal representation amongst other functions. Be sure to complete your census questionnaire. Stand up and be counted!

Our second opportunity to express our concerns is with the vote. The upcoming November election will determine the direction of our country for the next four years. It is important we choose candidates on the local and federal levels, who best represent our interests. We must register to vote and participate in whatever way suits us. Whether you vote by mail or go to the polls proudly in person to pull the lever to hear the distinct sound of the curtain closing, we all must do our part. Our votes count!

Due to the Covid -19 virus and the importance of social distancing, we will be conducting our April meeting via conference call. The call will take place Saturday, April 25th, 2020, 12:00 noon to 1:30 P.M. Please call (605) 468-8005, passcode 425373.

The conference call will cover several topics. We are hoping to have a representative from Access Link participate in the call, to answer our questions regarding their service. In addition, we will conduct our business meeting. This will be a great opportunity for us to reconnect and support one another during these challenging times. Please join us to take care of some business, catch up and share your guilty pleasure, stuck in the house snack. Chips, ice cream and gummy bears, Oh my!

Please stay healthy and safe by all means necessary.

Wanda Williford

April Quarterly Meeting Notice

The April quarterly meeting will be held on Saturday, April 25th by Conference Call due to the Corona Virus. As much as we would like to be together in person, public safety and our health is more important.

The call will begin promptly at 12:00 noon. As we did not have our January Quarterly meeting because of the inclement weather, it is even more important you participate in this call. We would like to hear from you regarding your intentions of attending the call. Please call or email Wanda at wdw.williford@gmail.com or 609-375-6682

Conference call information:
The call-in number is: 605-468-8005 Access code 425 373#. Please note this is a toll call.

Guest Speaker

Re Access Link

We are hopeful that a representative from Access Link may be our guest speaker at our April meeting.

Access Link is the paratransit division of New Jersey Transit. They provide accessible and affordable transportation for individuals living with disabilities, who are not able to utilize local mass transit. Access Link serves approximately four thousand clients throughout the state of New Jersey. It was first established in 1992 as a direct response to The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The service is comparable to the NJ Transit fixed bus routes and light rail systems. Eligible riders are able to schedule rides up to a week in advanced. Recent enhancements to Access Links’ service includes online ride scheduling and payments via their user-friendly website.

Remembering Bernie Zuckerman

On December 25, 2019 our dear friend Bernie passed away. Bernie had been a long-time member of NJCB and our Treasurer for the last several years. Bernie had been a loyal friend and a positive presence to many of us and will be missed. He is survived by his son, Alan. Bernie was a big contributor to our group and took over as head of our scholarship program a couple of years ago. In his honor, we are naming “The Scholarship” Bernard Zuckerman Scholarship Fund. This year, Alan will help us sort through our applications.

If you wish to make a donation in Bernie’s name to our organization, the donation will be used for the scholarship fund.

2020 Scholarship Opportunities

It is not too late to apply for the 2020 Scholarship program. To apply, eligible candidates must be legally blind, will be a full-time college student, undergraduate or graduate, in the 2020 – 2021 academic year and be a New Jersey resident. The deadline to apply is May 1st and the winner will be awarded at our July Quarterly meeting. Full details, application forms and how to apply can be found on our website at www.njcounciloftheblind.org. You may also email questions to NJCounciloftheblind@gmail.com or bernard1750@aol.com

Check out the NJCB Facebook Page

NJCB is on Facebook. Anyone interested in contributing to the success of this page please send your ideas and posts to our email address at NJCounciloftheblind@gmail.com. Please note all posts must be related to activities relating to your membership with NJCB or its affiliates. The page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/2255314534793147/. Just search for New Jersey Council of the Blind in Facebook.

News from Mercer County Association of the Blind (MCAB)

Peace and wellbeing to everyone near and far from members of MCAB.

Vice President Wanda Williford and four other MCAB Members had the opportunity to attend the free audio descripted Ballet Giselle held at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. The event was performed by the American Repertory Ballet Company. For all attendees it was their first time at an audio descripted Ballet, and they stated they immensely enjoyed it.

In MCAB’s continual effort to increase visible presence in the community and to bring about a younger visually impaired membership, we have added to our already quarterly advertising in the local Mercerville Magazine “Our Town”.

The purchasing of MCAB’s Business Cards for Officers and Board Members.

Also, MCAB’s Invite Cards for membership listing Date, Place and Time of meetings.

NJCB’s President Wanda Williford informed me that an NJ Transit Access Link Representative will be the guest speaker. We at MCAB welcome all and look forward to feeling your presence.

Best regards

Submitted by Mustafaa Shabazz, MCAB President

News from Blind Citizen’s Association

Springtime Greeting from NJBCA!

We have welcomed several new participants to NJBCA since the last newsletter. This is wonderful news that we wanted to share. It does seem that groups such as ours (and we are pretty certain others) are having a difficult time having other like-minded (and sight-impaired) people join us. Just a word of encouragement- what we do is important. Please continue talking with others- sighted or not, about your individual chapters and what each of them does. Believe me, it will help someone!

The 15th Annual NJBCA Gift Auction was supposed to be held Friday, June 12th, but has now been postponed. Once a new date is announced, word will be spread. If you are interested in attending, or making a donation, please give the NJBCA office a call (732-291-0878). You can ask for Stacey; she will explain all about the auction and how to obtain tickets.

This is NJBCA’ largest fundraiser and brings in critical funds for our programs and outreach.

Since the weather will be turning soon, our garden program will begin again. We have several raised beds and are adding 2 more thanks to an Eagle leadership project. Veggies and herbs will not be far behind!

Remember- small amounts add up to something bigger! Take the time to smile and do something nice for someone- you just don’t know what it might do for them- and you!

Stacey Stefanski

2020 Membership Dues Payment Request

For members at large if you have not already paid dues for 2020, please do so immediately. To be an active, voting member and continue receiving the benefits of our members which includes our Chronicle and ACB newsletters, please send us your $10.00 dues payment. NJCB is required to submit our membership lists and dues to the ACB national headquarters to remain a valid certified affiliate. Please send your membership dues payment to our Treasurer, Steve Sowa, PO Box 434 Woodbridge, Nj 07095. Checks made payable to NJCB.

Partnering with ACB

One way to support ACB is becoming a participant of the Monthly Monetary Support (MMS) program. You can begin with a minimum commitment of $10 or more per month. You can designate that half goes to ACB and the other half goes to NJCB. Now, for those who are MMS participants, you can increase your monthly amount by $5 or more. To join, go the ACB.org website. Under support ACB, click donate. Under ways to give, look for the Monthly Monetary Support and sign up.

Save The Date

Saturday July 25th 12 Noon to 4PM at Camp Happiness in Leonardo

Saturday October 24th 12 Noon to 4PM Location TBD

NOTE: Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the New Jersey Council of the Blind officers and/or members. The editor reserves the right to edit articles submitted for both space and content.

New Jersey Council of the Blind
An affiliate of
American Council of the Blind

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Annual Dues: $10.00 due in July

Make check payable to NJCB and send to:
Treasurer- Steven Sowa
PO Box 434
Woodbridge, NJ 07095
Phone (848) 999-2079