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Pakistan ATM Advocacy: Blind Community Success

In August of this year, blind advocates in Pakistan demanded an end to widespread discrimination against blind people by the banking industry in that country. Their advocacy has paid off. In early December 2009, the Islamabad-based International News and The Nation published articles, posted here, with the headlines “Banks directed to permit blind people to open accounts” and “Ministry to install ATMs for visually impaired.” The articles report that all banks in Pakistan will now be required to allow blind citizens to open their own bank accounts and will issue information in Braille to facilitate banking independence. And, for the first time, Talking ATMs are being planned for installation in Islamabad. Efforts to end discrimination in Pakistan against people with disabilities in insurance and micro-lending are also underway. Read more… Pakistan ATM Advocacy: Blind Community Success

Talking ATM History: Litigation Plays a Role

Structured Negotiations were not the only legal strategy used by blind advocates interested in expanding Talking ATM installations in the United States. In this post you can read about successful Talking ATM litigation that increased the numbers of Talking ATMs in the United States. Litigation also played another role in the history of Talking ATMs. On at least two occasions, the blind community was forced to object to class action settlements that did not fairly address the issue of accessible ATMs. Read about objections to class action settlements that threatened Talking ATM advocacy. Read more… Talking ATM History: Litigation Plays a Role

Blind Advocates in Islamabad, Pakistan Demand ATM Access

In October, 1999, the first Talking ATM was installed in the United States. Ten years later, advocates around the world continue to push for equal and confidential access to financial information and technology. The following article appeared on August 6, 2009 in The International News, published in Islamabad, Pakistan. It is about a protest organized by blind activists in that city to protest banks’ refusal to issue ATM cards to blind consumers. Read more… Blind Advocates in Islamabad, Pakistan Demand ATM Access

The Barrier Free Healthcare Initiative Launched

A group of disability rights lawyers and advocates has announced the creation of The Barrier Free Healthcare Initiative, a collaborative effort to support legal and policy initiatives aimed at eliminating the physical and programmatic barriers that people with disabilities face in obtaining healthcare. More information is available at the new website launched by the initiative. The initiative was launched to coincide with the announcement of a landmark settlement with two Read more… The Barrier Free Healthcare Initiative Launched

Broad Coalition Demands Access to Amazon Kindle / Electronic Books

Organizations representing people who cannot read print have joined together as the Reading Rights Coalition to ensure that the Amazon Kindle maintains its text-to-speech (”read aloud”) functionality. This critical function enables people who cannot access visual information to read books and other information available on the Kindle by reading through audible, rather than visual information. The Coalition, which includes the American Council of the Blind, the American Foundation for the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind and others, issued its first press release, reprinted in this post, on March 30, 2009. Read more… Broad Coalition Demands Access to Amazon Kindle / Electronic Books

New Web Accessibility Standards (WCAG 2.0) Finalized

On December 11, 2008, the World Wide Web Consortium announced new standards for accessible web content. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 were finalized after years of development and input from web designers, site owners, members of the disability community, WAI staff and volunteers, and countless others with a commitment to making the internet available to all users. Resources about the revised guidelines are provided at the end of this post. Read more… New Web Accessibility Standards (WCAG 2.0) Finalized

Amy Vaughn: Bank of America Leader in Web Accessibility

In 2000, Bank of America was the first bank in the United States to sign an agreement to make its web site and on-line banking accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. In the almost eight years that have passed since the bank signed the first of three agreements with the blind community, significant work has been done both by members of the blind community and by countless Bank of America employees to make sure the agreements work as they are supposed to. Recently, we learned that one of those bank employees — Amy Vaughn — had died. Read more… Amy Vaughn: Bank of America Leader in Web Accessibility

California Council of the Blind President Honored by State Bar

Congratulations are in order for friend and colleague, Jeff Thom. Jeff, the president of the California Council of the Blind, has been chosen as the “2008 Public Lawyer of the Year” by the State Bar of California. Jeff is a 1978 graduate of Stanford Law School and a lawyer in the Office of Legislative Counsel in Sacramento, California. According to the State Bar website, Jeff was selected for this honor because of his “distinguished record of professional service to the public, both as an attorney and as a civic leader.” Read more… California Council of the Blind President Honored by State Bar

Accessible Credit Reports Press Release

National Credit Reporting Companies, Blind Community, Announce Landmark Initiative to Provide Accessible Online Credit Reports Braille and Other Formats also to be Made Available Washington, D.C. (April 23, 2008) – The nation’s three major consumer credit reporting companies today unveiled a comprehensive program to provide improved access to important credit information for people who are blind or visually impaired. The initiative, crafted with the American Council of the Blind, its California affiliate and several individual members of the blind community, will help protect the credit information of individuals who cannot read a standard print credit report. Read more… Accessible Credit Reports Press Release

John Slatin Fund Accessibility Project

John Slatin was a well loved and highly respected accessibility advocate and University of Texas professor who died at the end of March after a courageous three year battle with leukemia. In John’s obituary in the Austin American-Statesman, one of John’s graduate students was quoted as saying “It was striking that even after blindness and leukemia, he was still happy.” John’s kindness and contributions to the field of web accessibility have motivated John’s friends and colleagues to develop The John Slatin Fund Accessibility Project to match accessibility experts with firms and companies that would like a brief review of their site for accessibility. In return, the site owner is asked to contribute a minimum of $500 to The John Slatin Fund. Read more… John Slatin Fund Accessibility Project