seasonal fog draping Sacramento made this winter
day seem ordinary, but it wasn’t. Today held
something different, something promising. Like the
spring that was soon to come, this day offered one
young woman hope.
any modern young woman she dreamed of doing
valuable work but a problem held her back: she was
legally blind. No one, least of all her, knew how
she’d make it in a world where no one quite
understood what living as a blind person meant.
She had given everything she had to make it in the
seeing-world, but all she had to show for it was a
monthly S.S.I. check.
suspected the available job might hold the key to
the thing that mattered most, a station in life
with meaning. Simultaneously determined and
reticent, she knew she was capable of carving out
a piece of life that she could call her own.
at the door to the California State Library, she
took a deep breath. She had prepared well for this
job interview, but was nervous about first
impressions. She didn’t yet know how to use a
cane, and without a cane’s silent alert, her
lack of sight, her awkward stare, made others
uncomfortable. It was one of the hardest things
she’d ever do, but her future depended on this
job: she held her head high, and pushed through
the library’s heavy glass door for what became a
three hour interview.
two weeks for a possible offer was hard, but she
had faith: the power of the National
Federation of the Blind of California (NFBC)
was behind her. Dedicated individuals from the
NFBC had lobbied the legislature for positions at
this library (that served the blind) to be made
available to blind individuals specifically.
Contacting the NFBC, she once again conveyed her
qualifications and desire to be considered as a
serious candidate for the coveted position at the
Braille and Talking Book Library at the California
news came within the week – she had the job. Her
exclamations of joy could be heard from the
rooftops of this sleepy government town. Like the
spring that was now blossoming, this opportunity
held for her the very real promise of renewal and
seasons turned, and sooner than she’d even
thought possible, twenty years passed. Today,
being a reader assistant at the Braille and
Talking Book Library has given her a life full of
purpose and meaning: she is sure she has served
her community well. She sincerely thanks the NFBC
for helping her and so many others realize their
dream - a fulfilling station in life.
eyes that reflect on what was so dear on that far
distant day, she’s reminded of the strides we
have all made. And yet, still, the road to
empowerment and employment for a blind person is
not an easy one. It is lit though by a beacon
illuminated by our hopes and dreams. Blindness
need never be considered a barrier to employment.
We can all make a difference. All that is needed
is a never failing sense of hope and
determination. Working together, with the help of
organizations such as the NFB, all things are
possible. Success is there for the taking.