ACB Advocacy Update
December 1, 2022

Join the Sight Tech Global Virtual Conference

Episode Description

On this episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, Clark speaks with ACB member and Vista Center Board Chair, John Glass, and Sight Tech Global Executive Producer, Ned Desmond, regarding this year’s virtual event. A Vista Center production, Sight Tech Global is the first global, virtual conference dedicated to fostering discussion among technology pioneers on how rapid advances in AI and related technologies will fundamentally alter the landscape of assistive technology and accessibility. This year’s virtual conference will take place Dec. 7 & 8. To learn more and register for free, please visit:

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November 10, 2022

The Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act.

On this episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, Clark and Swatha speak with John Pare, Executive Director for Advocacy and Policy at the National Federation

of the Blind, Claire Stanley, Public Policy Analyst at the National Disability Rights Network, and Stephanie Enyart, Chief Public Policy and Research Officer at the American Foundation for the Blind, on one of ACB’s 2022 legislative imperatives, the recently introduced Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act (H.R.9021 and S. 4998). We talk about how this bill got started, what it does and why we need it, and how listeners can get involved and build support to help get it passed. For the joint press release issued by ACB, AFB, NDRN, and NFB, visit Senator Duckworth and Representative Sarbanes Introduce Bill to Make Websites and Mobile Applications Accessible to Individuals with Disabilities | American Council of the Blind ( For the one pager, section by section analysis, and FAQ on the bill, visit Sarbanes, Duckworth Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Help Make Websites and Software Applications Accessible for Americans with Disabilities | Congressman John Sarbanes ( To contact your Representative and Senators, call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. To access NDRN’s tool for finding and contacting your members of Congress on this bill, visit Tell Congress to Make the Web Accessible for People with Disabilities! ( To access NFB’s fact sheet on the bill, visit Fact Sheet: Twenty-First Century Mobile Apps and Website Accessibility Act | National Federation of the Blind (

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November 3, 2022

ACB’s 2nd Annual Audio Description Awards Gala

Get ready for the American Council of the Blind’s 2nd Annual Audio Description Awards Gala! Clark and Swatha speak with Kim Charlson (ACB’s Immediate Past

President and Co-Chair of the Audio Description Project) and Matt Ater (ACB Advisory Board Member and Vice President at Vispero)  about this year’s gala. We cover how it got started, lessons learned from last year’s inaugural gala, and some of the awards being given out this year. The Audio Description Awards Gala will air on November 29, 2022 at 7:30pm Eastern. You won’t want to miss this. Learn more about the gala at Home - ACB Audio Description Awards Gala (

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October 6, 2022

Accessible Voting and Voter Engagement

As we head into the Mid-term elections, Clark and Swatha speak with Rylin Rodgers (Disability Policy Advisor at Microsoft) and Whitney Quesenbery (Executive

Director for the Center for Civic Design) about the work both organizations are doing to make voting accessible for individuals with disabilities. we discuss the work the Center for Civic Design is doing to make finding accessible voting information easier to access, the work Microsoft is doing in this space and why corporate engagement is important in voting advocacy, and the idea of democracy being a design problem. To find out more about the Center for Civic Design, visit Center for Civic Design To access the Accessible Voting Index, visit Accessible voting - Your guide to a private and independent voting experience To find out more about Microsoft’s voting advocacy work, visit Microsoft On the Issues - News and perspectives on legal, public policy and citizenship topics

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October 5, 2022

James Webb Space Telescope Accessibility with STScI

Episode Notes

The scientists, writers, and educators from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) want to make space accessible for everyone, and have created vividly detailed alt text for every photo that has been released from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. ACB’s advocacy team, Clark Rachfal and Swatha Nandhakumar, are joined by Dr. Kelly Lepo, STScI Education and Outreach Scientist, Claire Blome, STScI Principal Science Writer, and Timothy Rhue II, STScI Informal Science Educator, during this presentation to discuss how their team have collaborated with one another to make the Webb images accessible to people who are blind and low vision. Learn more about the panelists for this event.

Experience the breathtaking images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope and share in the joy and enthusiasm of space during this engaging event!

Access the full image descriptions for the James Webb Space Telescope in the First Images Gallery under “Download Options” for each photo.

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September 15, 2022

Advocacy Grab Bag Back in Session.

Congress is back in session, and so is the ACB Advocacy team! On this episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, Clark and Swatha provide another round of updates

for our listeners. Topics we cover include Rep. Sarbanes’ letter to the Department of Justice with over 30 supporting Congressional offices, ACB’s accessible at-home COVID test accessibility survey, the Federal Aviation Administration’s request for comments on airplane seat dimensions and safety, and an upcoming live event with the James Web Telescope Science Institute on the recent accessible images captured by NASA. We also provide a teaser for ACB’s 2nd annual Audio Description Awards Gala. For the Sarbanes letter - For the accessible test survey – FAA Request for Comments – Request for Comments in Minimum Seat Dimensions Necessary for Safety of Air Passengers (Emergency Evacuation) | Federal Aviation Administration ( Find out more about ACB’s Audio Description Gala at Save the Date: ACB’s 2022 Audio Description Awards Gala | American Council of the Blind

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August 19, 2022

A Chat with ACB’s Returning Board Members

Episode Description

On this week’s episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, Swatha meets with our two re-elected Board members from the 2022 National Convention, Jeff Thom and Koni Sims. She learns about their history with ACB, what they’re excited to work on in their new term as director, and advocacy issues important to them. Jeff and Koni also share advice for those interested in getting more involved in ACB leadership and in advocacy more broadly.

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August 12, 2022

Post-Convention Advocacy Update Grab Bag

Episode Description

On this episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, Clark and Swatha head into the August Congressional Recess with another round of advocacy updates. They cover the DOJ Uber settlement, updated COVID testing guidance, ACB's website accessibility action alert, a new AbilityOne subminimum wage rule, updated HHS and DOJ guidance on telehealth, Concept2, and Peloton.

To file a rideshare service dog denial complaint with DOJ, visit: The Americans with Disabilities Act |

To order the more accessible Ellume COVID-19 tests, call 1-800-232-0233 or the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) at 888-677-1199.cTo read the supplemental instructions for using the tests, visit: Tips for blind and low vision users of the Ellume COVID-19 tests | ACL Administration for Community Living

To read the full guidance on telehealth from DOJ, visit: HHS and DOJ Issue Guidance on Nondiscrimination in Telehealth the week of the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) |

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August 5, 2022

Meet ACB's New Board Members

Episode Description

On this episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, Clark and Swatha speak with our three newly elected members of the ACB Board of Directors, Gabriel Lopez Kafati, Rachel Schroeder, and Terry Pacheco. They discuss their history with ACB, including why they became a member, their leadership experience, why they ran for a board position, their thoughts on our first ever hybrid convention, and advocacy issues they’re excited to work on. We also find a common theme within their shared experience of ACB as a wonderful and welcoming organization for everyone.

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July 21, 2022

How Many Braille Readers?

On this episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, Clark and Swatha speak with Dr. Rebecca Sheffield (Education Programs Specialist at the US Department of Education) Dr. Frances Mary D’Andrea, (Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Pittsburgh) and Sarah Chatfield,(Doctoral Candidate at Texas Tech University) about their recently published journal article “How Many Braille Readers? Policy, Politics, and Perception” examining data surrounding braille literacy in the United States. We go into depth on the article’s contents, conclusions, and implications for braille instruction in the classroom and for braille relevancy in general. We also hear from Braille Revival League President Paul Edwards on his thoughts on the article.

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