In moments of my discouragrment, I am forever thankful for my friends in the National Federation of the Blind. When opposition comes, as it surely will, a simple "endorsement" reminds me the fights worth fighting for.
I am forwarding this to you on behalf of Deja Powell. However, the issue she discusses effects us all, every one of us. It does not seem like a huge deal to some to be denied a ride on the Alpine Slide. However, what else will be denied, denied to you or to someone you love, Will it be a job, or the chance to go to a university? Will it be the opportunity to get a job or live in a location of your choice.
Right now in our state there are children who need the benefit of Braille and our system denies them the opportunity because of technicalities or budgets or other reasons less easily understood.
I whole-heartedly urge us to rally around Deja and help educate the society in which we live. The operators of the Alpine slide will allow an eight year old child to go down the slide alone, but not Deja. Is she less capable than an eight year old child?
There are times when an olive branch is more likely to bring about positive change. And, indeed, we will try that approach as well. Our Board of directors has discussed passing a board resolution requesting that the operators of the Alpine Slide allow us to discuss this issue and observe that blind adults are just that, adults. Public awareness comes in many forms and I believe a warm discussion with a clear demonstration of ability is sometimes a good way to help folks understand that blind and visually impaired people are capable of participating meaningfully in society.
Still, there are many who are willing to either sit on the side lines and let others lead the way,. There are others who will criticize the efforts to make life more enjoyable and meaningful for ourselves. Never-the-less, Deja is a talented and skilled blind adult and I urge us all to support her and all of us as we step forward in unity to make a change in the public's perception of who we are and what we are capable of doing.
Again, I urge each of you to consider joining Deja and many other blind people on August 22.
President, National Federation of the Blind of Utah