American Council of the Blind logo

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:

Quick Links

Become a Member

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

Click the Pay Now button to pay with a credit card via PayPal.

Upcoming Events

Please check back regularly for updates.

Our Meetings

The Greater New York Council of the Blind meets on the first Saturday of the month from 2:00-4:00. You may attend in-person at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, 40 West 20th Street in Manhattan, or via the following Zoom link: Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 531 230 9378 Passcode: 135230
There’s also an option to call in on this number: (929) 205-6099 Meeting ID: 531 230 9378 Passcode: 135230
Upcoming meeting dates are Jul. 13, Aug. 3, Sep. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, and Dec. 7. All are welcome! Come on out and help shape the world!

Board of Directors:

President: Terence Page
Vice President: Fred Quick
Treasurer: Danielle Robinson
Recording Secretary: Shanel Cherry-Mitchell
Corresponding Secretary: Rachel Graff
Delegate to the State Board: Fitz Martin
Board Members: Victor Andrews, Larry McMillan, Karen Mongiello, Barbara Robins
Immediate Past President/Legislative Representative: Robert White

Things We Are Doing

Please check back regularly for updates.

Recent Things We Have Done

The Selis Manor Tenants Association and the Disability One Coalition Had Their First Annual New York City Disability Voting Expo!

The event took place on Saturday, July 22, 2023, at Selis Manor, located at 135 West 23rd Street in Manhattan.

This event showcased the newest ballot marking devices and voting machines for disability community voters to try out. What is an Accessible Ballot Marking Device or Voting Machine? An accessible ballot marking device, or voting machine, is a machine that ALL voters can use. For example, the voter can listen to what is on the ballot. There’s also an option to enlarge the ballot to read it, or listen to it in several languages other than English. A voter can mark the ballot without using their hands through the use of a Rocker Paddle, or a Sip-N-Puff, or by touching the screen with a part of their body. These are just a few examples and are not all inclusive.

The Automark is the current ballot marking device being used in New York City. It was displayed courtesy of the Board of Elections in the City of New York. There were three voting machine manufacturers that demonstrated machines. They included Democracy Live, Dominion Voting Systems Corporation, and Election Systems and Software. Participants in the Voting Expo included the New York City Campaign Finance Board, the League of Women Voters of the City of New York, where you can register to vote, and the New York City Office of the Public Advocate.

Who is the Disability One Coalition? The Disability One Coalition, a group of disability organizations, believes that if one person with a disability is disenfranchised, then we all are! They want the disability community to understand their rights and the power of our vote. Organizations in the Coalition include:

On Feb. 14, 2023, GNYCB Members Attended the Celebration of the One-Year Anniversary of the Chief Officer of Disability and Recognition of Governor Kathy Hochul.

Photo: From left to right at the Marriott Hotel in Albany, NY, are Bob White, Fitz Martin, Terence Page, and Yasmin Campbell.

Our Membership and Social Media Director, Yasmin Campbell, interviewed by CBS New York

Watch CBS New York's interview with Yasmin Campbell: MTA expanding pilot program allowing open strollers on New York City buses; some riders with disabilities voice concerns - CBS New York
Please note: Due to circumstances beyond our control, this video may not be accessible to those who use screen readers; however, there is a transcript that can easily be read.

Voter Presentation at the Lighthouse Guild
by Yasmin Campbell

Photo: One man and four women stand in front of a white wall with the words Lighthouse Guild. Pictured from left to right: Jayden Mitchell, Rasheta Bunting, Danielle Mowery, Deborah Brodheim, and Yasmin Campbell. Please note: Kathy Collins also represented our chapter at the event. Photo: From left to right Jayden Mitchell, Rasheta Bunting, Danielle Mowery, Deborah Brodheim, and Yasmin Campbell. Please note: Kathy Collins also represented our chapter at the event.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, a wonderful collaboration took place. Four different organizations came together at the Lighthouse Guild in Manhattan to give a presentation on voting and participatory budgeting to a group of teenagers in their Saturday program. Members from the Greater New York Council of the Blind, One Heart One Vision, the Lighthouse Guild, and the League of Women Voters gave an informative presentation on the importance of voting, how the teens could register to vote, and the different methods available to cast their vote. The presenters from the League of Women Voters did their presentation on participatory budgeting: The People’s Money. This included discussion with the teens on coming up with ideas on how millions of dollars should be spent in the five boroughs of New York City.

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

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 2024

ACB National Legislative Imperatives for 2024
ACBNY Legislative Imperatives for 2024

Member Spotlight

Articles Written By Our Members

Resources

Check back regularly for updates.

Community Events

Check back regularly for updates.

Entertainment

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 Websites