The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina is meeting in Spartanburg this weekend for a statewide convention. Over 300 attendees are expected. President of the NFB of SC, Parnell Diggs, an attorney in Myrtle Beach, says that most in attendance are visually impaired. He also wanted to stress the difference between National Federation OF the Blind and the Commission FOR the Blind.
“The Commission for the Blind is probably the outfit that you’ve heard of in Columbia that provides rehabilitation to the blind of the state,” said Diggs. “Well, the National Federation of the Blind is the blind speaking for ourselves. We are not just doing things for blind people, we are blind people.”
Diggs also made it clear that blindness does not limit what the vision impaired can accomplish. “Blind people are good at history, some are good at math. Some people are mechanics and some are lawyers, and yes, when I say mechanics, there are blind mechanics out there…musicians….there is a guy in Myrtle Beach who owns a taxi company. He doesn’t drive but he is the owner of one of the biggest taxi services in the Myrtle Beach area,” he said.
One of the topics to be discussed at the convention is literacy among blind children. “Unfortunately, only 10 percent of blind children are being taught braille in public school classrooms in South Carolina and across the country,” stated Diggs.
“I think it’s because some people think that blindesss is such a bad thing that they try to steer children away from braille and, instead, opt fro books in ditigal format that they can just listen to, or very, very large print.”
Diggs says it will be an eventful weekend. “So we’re very excited about the 300 people here who will be able to partake of all of the things that will be going on. Not only the business meetings, the division meetings, and the committee meetings taking place tomorrow (Friday), and the receptions and some of the social opportunities as well because blind people like to socialize as much as anybody else,” he said.
The convention takes place from August 14 to August 16 and with a banquet scheduled for Saturday night.