The official policy statements of the National Federation of the Blind of Delaware are established every year with annual resolutions adopted at the state convention.
The resolutions committee meets early during the convention. Each proposed resolution is read, spoken for by the authoring member, considered, and then ultimately withdrawn or recommended for passage or disapproval by the Convention.
Resolution 2022-01: Regarding Equal Access to the Web
WHEREAS, equal access to websites, mobile apps, and other information technology is imperative to living in today's world impacting every area of daily life including, education, shopping, employment, entertainment, public health and safety information, and much, much more; and
WHEREAS, assistive technology used by the blind such as text to speech technology allows the blind to gain access to information as efficiently, comfortably and easily as the sighted; and
WHEREAS, however, most websites, mobile apps, and other information technology are either entirely inaccessible using assistive technology or possess significant access barriers; and
WHEREAS, existing civil rights laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act broadly mandate equally effective communication with those who are disabled, but generally, there are no clear regulations and laws regarding how websites, mobile apps, and other information technology can comply with these civil rights laws; and
WHEREAS, global standards such as the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the regulations promulgated pursuant to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act exist and inform owners and operators of websites, mobile apps, and other information technology how to provide their information in an accessible manner; and
WHEREAS, to ensure equal access for those who are blind, it is necessary to adopt such standards into law; and
WHEREAS, The Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (S. 4998/H.R. 9021) on September 28, 2022 to address these issues on the Federal level: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Delaware in Virtual convention assembled this twenty first day Of October, 2022, that this organization urge our U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative to support the Senate (S. 4998) and House (H.R. 9012) bills, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge the Delaware General Assembly to pass into law an Equal Access to the Web, Mobile Apps, and Other Information Technology Act which would incorporate into law the most recent WCAG and Section 508 standards; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we insist that any web accessibility Act include the full measure of relief and remedies available under law including but not limited to all economic and non-economic damages, injunctive relief, and attorney fees and costs.
Resolution 2022-02: Regarding rational principles governing the deployment of Accessible Pedestrian Signals in Delaware
WHEREAS, Accessible pedestrian signals (APS) are devices designed to communicate information about the WALK and DON'T WALK intervals at signalized intersections in nonvisual ways that are useful to pedestrians who are blind; and
WHEREAS, APS technology has been around for more than three decades, progressing from devices which used the sounds of chirping birds, cuckoo clocks, or slow/rapid clicks to convey information about the state of the WALK signal to the preferred more modern accessible pedestrian signals operating in various municipalities today which utilize verbal prompts and vibrating buttons; and
WHEREAS, the placement of these APS is governed in Delaware by DELDOT with consultation from The Delaware Division of the Visually Impaired; and
WHEREAS, APS have been placed using this process, But others have been denied without clear explanation of the denial; and
WHEREAS, the rates of pedestrian accidents are concerning to DELDOT and the public; and
WHEREAS, the best people to engage in the decision-making process, to ensure reasoning that makes sense to the community that will be using the product, are blind constituents; now therefore,
BE IT Resolved by the National Federation of the Blind of Delaware, assembled in virtual convention on this twenty first day of October 2022, that this organization calls upon all governmental jurisdictions in the state of Delaware. When considering the installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS), to work actively with members of the Delaware blind community, such as members of the National Federation of the Blind of Delaware and other organizations, to develop a clear decision-making process for the deployment of APS based on the following principles:
- Not all street crossings present an insurmountable barrier to the average blind person.
- The placement of an APS will be based on the complexity of the street crossing.
- The decisions concerning the placement of APS should be done with consultation of representative members of the Delaware blind community such as members of the National Federation of the Blind of Delaware.
Resolution 2022-03: Regarding the employment of blind/low vision people at the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired
WHEREAS, agencies for the blind are established to serve people who are blind; and
WHEREAS, an essential part of the governing structure of an agency for the blind is to include the processes, policies, and procedures that will ensure that the agency for the blind administration comprehends the interests, needs, and aspirations of its constituency; and
WHEREAS, the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI) has the stated mission of” providing educational, vocational, and technical support to empower and foster independence for Delawareans with visual impairments”; and
WHEREAS, the best people to determine the efficacy of policies, procedures and programs concerning people who are blind, are people who are blind; and
WHEREAS, there are currently no people who are blind in the administration of the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired; and
WHEREAS, the number of blind employees of DVI make up a small percentage of agency employees; and
WHEREAS, even the technology used by the Delaware Division for the visually Impaired is not fully accessible to people using screen readers which makes it an unnecessarily difficult place for blind people to work : Now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Delaware assembled in virtual convention this twenty first day of October, 2022, that this organization strongly urges our Governor to appoint blind people to the leadership roles of Director and Deputy Director of the Delaware Division of the Visually Impaired; and
BE IT RESOLVED that this organization strongly urges the Department of Health and Social Services to update the systems and technologies used by DVI to make them a model of an accessible workplace for all people, especially people who are blind; and
BE IT RESOLVED that this organization strongly urges DVI to recruit and hire more people who are blind/low vision in the administration, management, and throughout the entire organization. Thereby promoting independence for the blind and insuring that there input is involved at every level of the division, from policy making to services provided.