For information, contact:

Doug Powell, Chair
Old Dominion Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
 703 573 5107

Sandra Sermons
District of Columbia Council of the Blind

Pat Sheehan
American Council of the Blind of Maryland




Barbara Milleville
National Capitol Citizens with Low Vision

Gary Norman
Maryland Area Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Or for more information, go to:


An informative regional convention for people who are blind and visually impaired who live in the Washington, dc metropolitan area has been scheduled for November 2-4, 2007, at the Holiday Inn, Rosslyn at Key Bridge, located at 1900 N. Ft. Myer Drive in Arlington, Virginia.


“The Mid-Atlantic ACB Affiliate Convention is our first attempt to gather together people who are blind and visually impaired from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC,” says Patrick Sheehan of Silver Spring, who serves as president of the American Council of the Blind of Maryland.  “All of us, whether we live in Richmond or Baltimore, Reston, or Silver Spring, share many of the same concerns, and getting together like this will allow us to share valuable information and to discuss solutions for mutual problems associated with living our lives as people who are blind in the DC metropolitan area.”


Expert presenters and panelists will interact with convention participants in sessions on:  public and paratransit transportation issues, finding books and accessible book players in the digital age, orientation and mobility techniques for people who use means other than good vision for finding their way and crossing streets safely, employment issues and training opportunities, among many other blindness-related matters.  Support group resources for people experiencing vision loss and for their families and friends will also be highlighted at two of the twelve concurrent workshops on Saturday afternoon. 


Convention planners expect many vendors of low and high-tech products which allow people who are blind and visually impaired to live independently, access the internet, find their way, and read, write, and participate in their communities, to attend the convention and exhibit products and provide information about their services.  The Exhibit Hall will be available both on Friday evening and all day on Saturday.


“We are working very hard to ensure that every participant – member or nonmember, young or old, blind, visually impaired, or sighted -- will walk away with new and exciting information that they can use every day in their lives.  But it won’t all be discussion and hard work,” assures Doug Powell, of Falls Church, VA, who serves as Chair of the Convention Steering Committee and a Board Member of the Old Dominion Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired.  “On Friday evening, our guide dog users’ affiliate, Maryland Area Guide Dog Users, Inc., is sponsoring a reception so that we can welcome all our participants in style.  There will be fancy hors devours, wonderful music, and beverages to please every palate.  And, there are sure to be lots of shared greetings and animated conversations as people from all over the region and beyond meet and greet old and new friends.  We are a group who works hard, but we also know how to have fun.”


The convention’s banquet speaker will be Mitch Pomerantz of Pasadena, CA, who is the newly-elected president of the American Council of the Blind. ACB is a national organization of blind, visually impaired and sighted individuals whose purpose is to work toward independence, security, equality of opportunity, and improved quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people. ACB programs and services include a nationally distributed monthly magazine, an internet radio station, numerous scholarship awards; and active participation in the national legislative and advocacy scene.   

Pomerantz is ACB’s first new president in six years, and members will be eager to interact with him and to acquaint their national leader with the issues that have particular resonance for blind and visually impaired people who live in or near the nation’s capital.


According to Patrick Sheehan, “The American Council of the Blind holds a national convention each summer, as well as several scheduled national events, but it isn’t always possible for our local members to travel far distances or to take the time away from work and family.  Our separate state and special interest affiliates have traditionally gotten together annually, and there are monthly meetings of local chapters. A regional convention will allow us to maximize our outreach and to benefit from the participation of a larger number of members and friends.”


According to Oral O. Miller, who serves as president of the District of Columbia Council of the Blind, the concept of ACB affiliates’ getting together regionally is a new trend in the organization’s programming strategy.  “Our western affiliates got together early last winter,” says Miller of Washington, DC, “And the reports coming out of that multi-state get-together were very exciting.  Living so close to our national legislators and decision-makers, we in the Washington, DC metropolitan area confront a unique collection of opportunities for advocacy.  We know that we can impact the way government programs are implemented in a first-person way, and so it is important for us to get together to become informed, not only about the issues that are of national importance to people who are blind and visually impaired, but also those situations that are unique to our local area.”


ACB affiliates co-sponsoring this event include:  The American Council of the Blind of Maryland, District of Columbia Council of the Blind, Old Dominion Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the National Capital Area Citizens with Low Vision, Inc, and Maryland Area Guide Dog Users, Inc.  Convention participants are not required to belong to ACB or any of the sponsoring affiliates.  All are welcomed and encouraged to attend.


Room rates are $99 (plus tax) per night, single or double occupancy.  To book a room, phone the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at 703-807-2000 or 1-800-368-3408.  Registration fees and forms are available at:  For more information, see contacts listed above. 


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