[Nfbnet-members-list] Announcement: Safety & Support - #MarchingTogether

Sarah Meyer sarah.meyer55 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 5 17:02:35 UTC 2021

Hi everyone,
We are excited to be able to announce the launch of a completely
survivor-led task force to assist in bringing the needs and voices of
survivors to the forefront of conversations, decisions, and ongoing
efforts that will be made to support the efforts of creating the most
safe, inclusive, and welcoming Federation possible. We are eager to
hear from survivors, allies, and anyone with questions,
recommendations, or concerns. Please see below for information about
these efforts.

In solidarity,
The Survivor-Led Advisory Taskforce

Safety & Support: #MarchingTogether
Content Warning: the following information addresses sensitive topics
regarding abuse, sexual violence, and misconduct.
As the leading civil rights organization of the blind in the United
States, every day we work to bring equality, love, and hope to our
community. The blind community, like the rest of society, is not
immune to violence and sexual misconduct. We thank the brave survivors
for sharing their stories during a recent movement under the hashtag
#MarchingTogether. We are committed to and welcome an ongoing process
of learning how to heal from past trauma, to prevent future instances,
and to protect victims and survivors.
Regarding this initiative, a survivor is someone— a Federation member
or non-member within the blind community— who has experienced pain
through violence, abuse, or misconduct of any kind (including, but not
limited to, physical/sexual/psychological abuse, harassment, or
assault) and may continue to live with trauma as a result.
Please find updates and important details regarding this critical matter:
Introducing Our Survivor Task Force
As part of our efforts to implement a sustainable positive culture
change, we are eager to announce our entirely survivor-led task force,
which will serve as an intermediate advisory team to the National
Federation of the Blind leaders, members, and third-party partners
until a long-term solution is identified. In representing the voice of
survivors, these task-force members will focus on addressing and
preventing abuse and sexual misconduct within the Federation.
Objectives include:
•	Collect feedback and information from survivors and allies;
•	Share resources/information and updates with the blindness community;
•	Brainstorm action plans and develop recommendations for leadership;
•	Recommend ways to provide ongoing support to survivors who have been
harmed at Federation events or NFB-branded centers;
•	Contribute to creating a culture of accountability, transparency,
and safety for everyone who attends Federation events or programs; and
•	Identify a long-term sustainable structure to focus on support and
healing of survivors and prevention of future incidents across the

The initial areas of exploration and action include procedures and
policies, training development and delivery, communication, oversight,
and creating a meaningful organizational culture shift.
How Can You Contact Us?
We currently have two methods of communication and will share updates
via nfb.org/survivors. To share concerns, ask questions, or voice an
interest in helping with our efforts, please email survivors at nfb.org
or call 410-659-9314 extension 2238. Note that all task force members
have access to these communication channels. The Survivor Task Force
is not responsible for receiving and resolving grievances, but will be
supportive and helpful as individuals navigate their experiences and
healing. The Survivor Task Force stands with all survivors who have
been harmed and are invested in this much-needed change.
Who Are We?
We are a group of six blind diverse leaders and members of the
Federation, who are invested in positive change and justice for all
survivors. We are made up of:
•	Marci Carpenter has been a proud member of the Federation since
joining in 1981 as a student. Currently, she serves as president of
the Washington affiliate. Marci is blind with hearing loss and other
medical conditions. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the state
school for the blind and has helped blind youth and adults learn
self-advocacy. She lives life with intentionality and sincerity and
cares deeply about creating space for people to heal and grow.
•	Kathryn Webster lives in Alexandria, Virginia, where she works at
Deloitte Consulting implementing strategic transformation for federal
agencies, notably rolling out improvements to the sexual
assault/harassment process within the military space. As the
coordinator of Virginia’s employment readiness program for blind youth
ages 14-21 and treasurer of BLIND, Inc., she has a deep passion for
optimizing lived experiences as individuals reach their full
potential. Kathryn prioritizes advocacy for others, leading with her
heart, and living with purpose above all else.
•	Sarah Meyer is a Federation member in our Indiana affiliate, lives
with other mental and physical health conditions, and attended the
Colorado Center for the Blind. As the lead call handler for a crisis
and suicide hotline, she strives to lead with compassion, empathy,
integrity, authenticity, inclusion, and wholeheartedness. Sarah is
passionate about mental health/recovery as a part of cultivating a
culture of consent. Experiencing sexual misconduct within the
blindness community and being familiar with the harm of not having had
sound procedures to address this trauma have compelled Sarah to
participate in efforts to make the NFB a safer environment that allows
them to live the lives they want.
•	Cheryl Fields of Cleveland, Ohio, is an encourager who approaches
life with enthusiasm and empathy. She loves laughing and playing games
with her four grandchildren, reading, crafting (especially
crocheting,) and is currently editing her first novel. Cheryl is an
affiliate board member and chair of the Ohio Community Service
Committee. Cheryl is a thriving survivor of domestic violence and
received peer support training through the Cleveland Domestic Violence
and Child Advocacy Center, facilitating a peer support group at
Cleveland sight Center where she is also an executive committee member
of the board of trustees.
•	Daphne Mitchell manages vocational rehabilitation field services for
the New Mexico Commission for the Blind and serves as secretary for
the Louisiana Center for the Blind. Ethical principles, equity,
integrity, and justice guide Daphne’s decisions, as she strives to
help others overcome challenges by advocating for individuals while
respecting autonomy; being an active listener; meeting the individual
where they are and help them become or reclaim self-empowerment; and
honor the responsibility the individual entrusts in her guidance.
•	Briley O’Connor has professional experience in both the blindness
rehabilitation and accessibility fields, and serves as the secretary
of the Minnesota affiliate. In her personal and professional life, she
strives to be a strong advocate for changing structures and systems
that devalue and harm marginalized people, and is particularly
passionate about issues that impact blind children, women, and
LGBTQIA+ people. Having been a part of the NFB for over fifteen years,
she is honored to be a part of shifting the culture so all blind
people feel safe, heard, and represented.

Additional Updates
We will provide additional updates and efforts as they are available.
For additional information, you may visit nfb.org/survivors.

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