Re: [ACBL-Board] FW: [Presidents] Disability/Aging Advocates Public Transit Mask Mandate Decision Statement Sign-Ons


Debby Phillips
 

Hi Mitch, although ow have disagreed with the majority of people it seems, about the mask mandate issue, I do agree with you that ACB and other organizations are straying from their basic origins. There are still so many blindness-related issues to deal with. Unfortunately many of them are still the same old "boring" issues we've been dealing with for years and years—lack of accessibility, lack of transportation, children not being taught braille, the lack of people and money for OAndM in many communities, the high unemployment rate among blind people, need for accessible medical equipment as this equipment becomes more prevalent for our sighted counterparts, and there are probably more I  could name. And there are the "silent" ones that most people won't touch at all, issues of churches and their often lack of openness to blind people. Nobody wants to touch this one because A. churches got a free pass from having to follow ADA mandates, and B. Church isn't the "in" thing anymore for many people so therefore, not relevant. While we shout out for inclusion for LGBTQ and others, many blind people don't even get a chance to be in church where they would like to be because of lack of transportation, issues of non-acceptance of guide dogs, having no access to words of songs printed on overhead projections, discrimination for blind people who seek to be priests or pastors, and for Catholics, discrimination toward those who might wish to enter a religious community but who are shut out, not because they lack devotion, desire, and the other characteristics that a religious community might have, but by the basic fact that they are blind. It has been a couple years since I was on any Christian email list specifically but I doubt that things have changed much since I was. And it shouldn't matter to organizations of the blind whether members are Christian or not, if our blind brothers and sisters are being shut out, then this should be a concern for all of us.

Perhaps this was the wrong list for this issue but I've kept silent about this for a long time because I believed, and still believe that there will be many, many people who will ridicule this issue. It's not "cool" it's not a "liberal" issue, and besides it only affects a minority of our members. At any rate, thank you for listening.    Lion Debby Phillips

On Apr 23, 2022 11:07 AM, mitch.pomerantz@... wrote:

Ray:

 

I wholeheartedly agree with your statement and, in fact, would prefer that ACB not sign on as well. At one time, both organizations in the organized blind movement focused exclusively on blindness-specific issues. That has changed and in my view based on 50 years of experience, that change is not for the better. ACB is becoming as politically polarized as the nation as a whole which means that issues directly related to being blind and having low vision do not get the attention they deserve. All I can do is shake my head and be glad that I am no longer in a leadership position in the Council.

 

 

Mitch Pomerantz

 

From: ACBL-Board@... <ACBL-Board@...> On Behalf Of Ray Campbell
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2022 4:06 PM
To: acbl-board@...; ACB-Lions@...
Subject: [ACBL-Board] FW: [Presidents] Disability/Aging Advocates Public Transit Mask Mandate Decision Statement Sign-Ons

 

Hello Lions:

 

Below is a statement that ACB is circulating for organizations who want to do so to sign on too regarding the court ruling which struck down the Federal Mask Mandate.  I’m inclined to not have ACB Lions sign on, but I want to hear your thoughts.

 

My main reason for this recommendation is that while I understand that COVID is still with us, it will be, probably forever.  No one who either wants to wear a mask while traveling on public transit, by air, in a ride share vehicle or other situations is prohibited from doing so.  If someone chooses to wear a mask, that choice needs to be respected.  We don’t need to have the Government continue to mandate masks.  There are COVID vaccines, treatments, and we all should know our individual situation and how to protect ourselves and those around us.

 

Please share your thoughts by midnight on Sunday, central time so that if the majority of those I hear from want ACB Lions to sign on, I can take care of that as sign-ons have to be in by 1 p.m. Eastern time. Monday.

 

Yours in Lionism,

 

 

 

Lion Ray Campbell, Immediate Past President, Glen Ellyn Lions Club and

President, American Council of Blind Lions

630-258-0516

Ray153056@...

 

From: Presidents@... <Presidents@...> On Behalf Of Swatha Nandhakumar
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2022 1:59 PM
To: leadership@...; Presidents@...
Subject: [Presidents] Disability/Aging Advocates Public Transit Mask Mandate Decision Statement Sign-Ons

 

Several disability and aging advocacy organizations have drafted the below statement in response to the recent court ruling ending the mask mandate on public transportation and air travel. They are looking for sign-ons from state and local organizations and individual advocates in addition to national organizations in support of this statement. Sign-ons are due by 5pm EST on Monday, April 25th. Please sign on to the statement using this Google Form.  You can find the full statement at this link. It is also copied below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at snandhakumar@....

 

The recent ruling to end mask mandates on public transit has put the lives of disabled and older adults at risk. As the pandemic continues, there is an urgent need to maintain mask mandates and protect public health. While the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Justice pursue an appeal, disability and aging advocates have prepared a statement for sign ons encouraging transit providers of all types to continue to require masks. The deadline for sign ons is Monday, April 25 at 1:00 pm ET. The statement is open for sign on by national organizations, state and local organizations, and individual advocates. Please sign on to the statement using this Google Form.  You can find the full statement at this link. It is also copied below. 

 

Washington, D.C. - Following the recent court decision striking down the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s mask mandate for public transportation, disability and aging advocates released the following statement:

 

People with disabilities fought for decades for the right to safe, accessible transit. Those rights and our ability to participate in our communities, connect with our families, get to work, and access healthcare have all been put at risk by this decision. We are relieved that the Biden Administration will seek to appeal the decision 

 

Let us be clear: we are still in a pandemic, and COVID-19 is still killing hundreds of people across the United States every day. Although we all wish the pandemic were over, cases are rising yet again, Congressional inaction has left treatments and information about treatments scarce, and the vaccine has yet to be approved for young children. High risk and immunocompromised people are in danger.

 

Eliminating masking requirements on transit increases the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 faced by those who rely on transit to engage in community life. Disabled people of color are among the most frequent public transit users, and for many use of a personal vehicle is not an option. Until this latest wave has subsided, community transmission rates have dropped, vaccinations are accessible to all ages, and treatments are readily available, we urge all transportation providers including transit agencies, bus companies, airlines, railway systems  and ride-sharing businesses to protect everyone, especially young children, people with disabilities, immunocompromised individuals, and older adults most at risk, by continuing to require masks.

 

 

Swatha Nandhakumar | She/her/hers

Advocacy and Outreach Specialist 

American Council of the Blind

1703 N Beauregard Street, Suite 420, Alexandria, VA 22311

(T) 202-467-5081 | (F) 703-465-5085

Learn more about us at www.acb.org

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