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A2016-01: Regarding the #HowEyeSeeIt Challenge

Adopted in: 2016

Topics: Misconceptions, Public Education

WHEREAS, the Foundation Fighting Blindness has recently launched a nation-wide fund-raising campaign known as the #HowEyeSeeIt challenge, in which people who are not blind are asked to make videos of themselves trying to accomplish everyday tasks while blindfolded; and

 

WHEREAS, this campaign is intended to draw financial contributions for medical research by tapping into fear of blindness, with no acknowledgment of the millions of blind people of all ages who are living full lives every day because they have learned non-visual techniques to accomplish everyday tasks with independence and safety; and

WHEREAS, research has shown that when people who are not blind participate in brief experiences of simulated blindness without opportunity to learn techniques for functioning without sight, they come away from the experience viewing blind people as less capable than do those not participating in blindness simulations; and

WHEREAS, with the rapidly increasing population of seniors losing vision in this state and throughout the country, the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota has received calls from individuals considering selling their houses and move into nursing homes simply because they are losing sight and do not know what else to do; and

WHEREAS, although many thousands of parents who are blind are successfully raising children every day, we know of parents who had experienced the threat of having their children removed from their custody solely on the basis of blindness; and

WHEREAS, these two examples, along with the countless lived experiences of blind people of all ages, illustrate the low expectations in society about blindness which have created barriers to employment, education, and more; and

WHEREAS, for many decades, the National Federation of the Blind, an organization of blind people speaking for ourselves, has been engaged in advocacy and public education to raise these low expectations—even starting our own adjustment-to-blindness training center; and

WHEREAS, although medical research for preservation of sight has an important role, a fund-raiser that plays upon fear and lack of understanding will serve to set back the progress that has been made and will do long-lasting harm to the lives of people who are blind; now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this 2nd day of October, 2016, in the city of Rochester, Minnesota that this organization call upon the Foundation Fighting Blindness in Minnesota to disavow the irresponsible, offensive, and dangerous #HowEyeSeeIt challenge and, instead, to help counteract the devastation that comes not from blindness itself, but from lack of knowledge of the truth about blindness; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the Foundation Fighting Blindness of Minnesota to work with the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota and with our consumer-directed training center, BLIND Incorporated, to spread the word that with the right training and the right opportunity, people of all ages who become blind can still live the lives they want.

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