Updated on Friday, June 24th, this is the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) Information Network. This information can be accessed on the MCB Voice Information System by calling 617-626-7660. You may also call 800-392-6450 and say either “tape” or “telephone tape” into the speech recognition menu. Lastly, this weekly update is also available on "Newsline," the accessible newspaper service by pressing number 2, the local Channel, and in the "Massachusetts Commission for the Blind" section of “Newsline”. This update is produced by Wayne Levy.

MCB would also like to acknowledge and recognize June 27th as the birthday of Helen Adams Keller, author, political activist, lecturer, pioneer, and one of the founders of MCB. Happy Birthday Helen!

Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month. Cataract, the clouding of the eye’s lens which blocks or changes the passage of light in the eye, is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. There are currently more than 23 million Americans age 40 and older who have cataract. MCB would like to applaud the efforts of PBA in educating the public and increasing awareness of cataract. You can learn more about cataract at www.preventblindness.org/cataract.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities would like to invite you to a celebration of the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Wednesday, July 13th at Boston City Hall Plaza from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM. The event will feature music, information about the ADA and the disability community, food, and T-shirts. This fun-filled event is free and is open to children, families, and individuals of all abilities. New this year is the Government Center MBTA Station, which is now compliant and open to the public. To request accommodations, please call 617-635-3682 or email disability@boston.gov by July 1st. This event is wheelchair accessible and scent free. ASL interpreters and CART will also be provided. For more information and additional updates, please visit www.boston.gov/disability.

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), in partnership with the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation (RDPFS), has announced the first grantees in its $1.2 million, two-pronged research initiative to address urgent needs in understanding and treating low vision. Separate awards will fund researchers working on ways to improve the brain’s ability to take information from a compromised visual system and create vision, and on technology solutions to make daily tasks easier for those with vision loss. The recipient of the first RPB/Lions Clubs International Foundation, $300,000 Low Vision Research Award, which targets how the brain adapts to degraded visual input, is Lotfi B. Merabet, OD, PhD, MPH, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School / MEEI, who will combine behavioral and neuroimaging approaches to characterize inadequate brain development in an under-studied population of children with cortical visual impairment. Dr. Merabet, a Carroll Center for the Blind board member, is a clinician-neuroscientist with over 20 years’ experience specializing in the investigation of neuroplasticity associated with adaptation to visual impairment and blindness. More information about this announcement can be found at www.rpbusa.com.

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) announced that they have filed a motion this week in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia to require the U.S. Department of the Treasury to act judiciously and expeditiously in order to release accessible currency by December 31, 2020. The petition to the court comes following a recent Treasury update that it would not have accessible currency until as late as 2026, thirteen years past the initial timeline set forth by the court in ACB v. Paulson. “Our motion to the judge who upheld the 2008 decision that the U.S. must make currency meaningfully accessible affirms our great displeasure that the Treasury is taking entirely too long to bring accessible currency online,” said Eric Bridges, ACB’s executive director. “When the court ruled in 2008 to uphold our right to equal access, the expectations were that it would take three to five years, not almost two decades.” The Department of the Treasury claims that the delay is not due to making currency accessible, but rather over concerns about counterfeiting advancements. The court ruled in 2008 that the next currency design should be made accessible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which asserts all federal government programs and practices must be accessible to people with disabilities. You can learn more about this announcement at www.acb.org.

Do you ever wonder why encounters with certain people suddenly make you feel confused or misunderstood — those times when guilt and shame are wielded to make you think your actions are unreasonable? Would you like to learn more about what emotional blackmail is and how to deal with it effectively? If so we invite you to Join The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Seminars@Hadley titled, “Dealing with Emotional Blackmail”, scheduled for Thursday, June 30th at 11:00 AM as Lauri Dishman, a licensed clinical professional counselor, shares tips and tricks for taking control in these situations and for redirecting the negativity often present in toxic relationships. Larry Muffett, a member of Hadley’s Seminars team, will moderate this 60-minute seminar. A question and answer session will be included as part of the seminar, which is an audio-only presentation. Space in this seminar is limited. To register, go to www.hadley.edu/SeminarDetails.asp?sid=324. You can learn more about this and other seminars at www.Hadley.edu.

Thanks to a generous contribution from NBCUniversal, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is proud to offer the NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship. This scholarship has been named in honor of Tony Coelho, a former United States Representative from California and the primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 2016, the NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship will offer eight (8) scholarships to 2nd year associate students; undergraduate sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and graduate students with disabilities who are interested in pursuing a career in the communications, media, or entertainment industry. Each recipient will receive $5,625 to help cover the cost of education at their current college or university. The scholarship will be available for the 2016 fall semester. The 2016 application is due Friday, July 1st at 5:00 PM. To learn more and apply online, please visit www.AAPD.org.

The Huntington Theater located at 264 Huntington Avenue in Boston, has announced that they are providing an Audio Described Performance of I Was Most Alive With You on Saturday June 25, 2016 at 2:00 PM. This special performance will take place in the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA with Alice Austin at the primary describer and Matthew Gats as the secondary describer. I Was Most Alive With You tells the story about a family’s faith that is severely tested when their adult son, a Deaf, gay, recovering addict, played by Russel Harvard (“Fargo”, Spring Awakening) sees his carefully calibrated world fall apart after an accident. Performed simultaneously in English and American Sign Language, I Was Most Alive With You by award-winning playwright Craig Lucas (Broadway’s An American in Paris, Prelude to a Kiss) is a theatrical event of the first order: a love story so wholly original – funny, heartrending, and deeply theatrical – it must not be missed. Tickets for individuals who are blind or have low vision can be purchased for $20.00. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Meg O’Brien at 617 273 1558 or mobrien@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu. You can also find out more at www.huntingtontheatre.org.

The MBTA would like to invite you to a public hearing to discuss the MBTA’s progress towards complying with the MBTA/BCIL (Boston Center for Independent Living) settlement. The hearing, which is hosted by Judge Patrick King, will take place on Tuesday, June 28th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Transportation Library, 10 Park Plaza, Second Floor. Please come and share your feedback, questions and/or concerns. This meeting space is accessible to people with disabilities. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be present. If you need a reasonable accommodation (such as assistive listening devices, handouts in alternate formats, etc.) and/or language assistance to fully participate, please contact Kurt Echols at Mass DOT at 617-222-5254 or KEchols@mbta.com before June 7, 2016. Such accommodations will be provided free of charge.

The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Boston is inviting you to two Museum-trained Feeling for Form Guides opportunities of their current special exhibition, “Megacities Asia”. These tours will take place on Thursdays, June 30th and July 7th at 6:30 PM and then again on Saturday, July 2nd at 11:00 AM. Megacities Asia is a show of 11 artists from very large cities across Asia, responding to and reflecting on Urban reality. Pre-registration is required by emailing hgoodwin@mfa.org or calling her at 617-369-3189. If these dates don’t work for you, please feel free to contact Hannah to schedule another visit. Catch it while you can! The exhibit closes on July 17. The MFA, Boston is located on the E train of the Green Line. Get off at Museum Stop, which is right after Northeastern University. The address for The Ride is 465 Huntington Ave.

Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, July 1st.


This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.