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Greater New York Council of the Blind

A chapter of the American Council of the Blind of New York; An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

A self-help organization dedicated to improving the lifestyle and independence of the blind and visually impaired

Working in New York, Our Members Have:

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Become a Member

To become a member of GNYCB, send an email to our Membership Chairperson for more information.

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Things We Are Doing

Please check back regularly for updates.

Recent Things We Have Done

GNYCB Members Participate in PSA Video for ACBNY

Three of our members - Fitz Martin, Yasmin Campbell, and our President, Terence Page - recently participated in a PSA video for the ACBNY Diversity Committee. The goal of the video is to help the organization reach out to a more diverse population while highlighting the many strengths and accomplishments of ACBNY and our chapters. You can Watch the Video Here

PASS Coalition Applauds New Level of Pedestrian Access for Blind and Deaf-Blind New Yorkers

The Pedestrians for Accessible and Safe Streets (PASS) Coalition was founded by eleven organizations that represent people from across the disability spectrum - most of which focus on the needs of blind and visually impaired people in New York City (NYC). Specifically, PASS has advocated for the expanded and proper installation of accessible pedestrian signals (APS) devices, which communicate critical information about walk signals through sounds and vibrations.

After two decades of gradual APS installation, at the end of 2020 (the latest data available) there were 749 locations with APS. That equals 5.6% of NYC’s 13,430 signalized intersections. Previous city proposals would have only achieved complete APS coverage by mid-century. The PASS Coalition congratulates the American Council of the Blind of New York State (ACBNY, a PASS member) and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), who went to court to seek a more equitable and accelerated plan for installation of these critical devices. U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled that the city must install APS at a minimum of 9,000 of its signalized intersections by 2031, which, in addition to the approximately 1,000 already in place, will achieve 70% coverage over the coming decade. Furthermore, the court has directed the city to have installed APS at all signalized intersections by 2036.

The PASS Coalition has always advocated for an accelerated timetable and this ruling roughly doubles the rate of APS deployment relative to city proposals. We especially appreciate Judge Engelmayer’s recognizing the importance of prioritizing APS at intersections with Lead Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) and other design features that present heightened hazards to people who are blind. The ruling lays out procedures for oversight and community input to make sure APS targets are being met.

PASS looks forward to continuing to offer its support and assistance to the Department of Transportation. With such a significant increase in annual APS installations, it is especially important to ensure that these installations are happening in a consistent way that serves the needs of the blind community.

PASS Chair, Dr.  Karen Gourgey: “PASS is proud to have partnered in this effort by documenting the problem and its dangers through letters from individual members, and by suggesting solutions through witness testimony.”

Member Hayden Dahmm: “When I moved to NYC in 2018, I was overwhelmed by the number of complex, inaccessible intersections in my neighborhood. As a blind person, I felt deeply unsafe and restricted. When a single nearby intersection was then equipped with APS, it dramatically expanded my independence and sense of security. I’m excited to think what thousands of added APS installations will mean for the mobility and basic dignity of blind New Yorkers.”

For additional information and inquiries, or to speak to a blind and/or low vision individual impacted by the court decision, contact PASS Chair Dr. Karen Gourgey at kgourgey@verizon.net or PASS Co-Chair Raymond Wayne at raywayne1959@gmail.com

Upcoming Events

ACB Community Events List:
Sign up to receive daily emails containing announcements of virtual events scheduled throughout the day. Also includes notices of upcoming ACB conferences throughout the country. Membership in the organization is not required to join the email list or participate in any of the events. Subscribe to the list by sending an email to acb-community-events+subscribe@acblists.org

ACB National and State Legislative Imperatives for 2022

ACB National Legislative Imperatives for 2022

Our Meetings

The Greater New York Council of the Blind meets on the first Saturday of the month from 2:00-4:00 at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our meetings will be held via Zoom until further notice. Feel free to join us via one of the following Zoom links: Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 531 230 9378 Passcode: 135230
Telephone number: (929) 205-6099 Meeting ID: 531 230 9378 Passcode: 135230
Upcoming meeting dates are Jun. 4, Jul. 9, Aug. 6, Sept. 10, Oct. 1, Nov. 5, and Dec. 3. All are welcome! Come on out and help shape the world!

Board of Directors:

President: Terence Page
Vice President: Barbara Robins
Treasurer: Suvro Banerjee
Recording Secretary: Shanel Cherry-Mitchell
Corresponding Secretary: Rachel Graff
Delegate to the State Board: Fitz Martin
Board Members: Yasmin Campbell, Karen Kacen, Audrey Schading, Gail Sussman
Immediate Past President/Legislative Representative: Robert White

Member Spotlight

Articles Written By Our Members

Resources

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Community Events

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Entertainment

Audio Theatre Online: Find out how you can listen to audio theatre TDF Stages Article: 5 Stories That Capture the Irreplaceable Joy of Live Theatre

VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society, Vancouver, BC
(604) 364-5949
info@vocaleye.ca
Provides free Audio Description of previously seen live theatre performances. Memberships are free to anyone who has vision loss.

In NYC, Audio Description is available for select performances at the following theaters. Listening devices are issued which transmit a trained describer's description of what's happening on stage.

Accessible Museums in NYC

Activities

Health Matters

This section of our site is dedicated to the health and well-being of blind and visually impaired persons.

Life Apps

Important Help Desk Phone Numbers

Useful Web Sites