Kia ora Mosen at Largers.


There is only one item which takes up the entire episode, to be published as usual on Sunday morning at 6 AM New Zealand time.

Founded in 1940, the National Federation of the Blind is famous worldwide for its advocacy on blindness issues. Whether it’s in a congressional committee room, a court room, or a room full of blind people seeking solidarity and encouragement, it has changed perceptions of both blind and sighted people alike about blindness and the place of blind people in the world. The NFB itself has become not just an advocate, but a provider of blindness rehabilitation services. It’s history hasn’t been without controversy. Tensions about democratic processes culminated in A group within the Federation crossing the street to a neighbouring hotel from the NFB convention in 1961, to form the American Council of the Blind. Some remain sceptical about how democratic the Federation truly is. Recently, the Federation has been shaken to its core as it seeks to come to terms with historic and current sexual misconduct. Since 2014, its President has been Mark Riccobono. Raised in Wisconsin, his sight deteriorated over time. He earned a degree in business administration majoring in marketing and minoring in economics. I spoke to him at his office in Baltimore. Since I suspect this question will come up from some listeners, I want to be clear that the interview took place without any preconditions on Mark Riccobono’s part in terms of what I could ask. The questions were not given to him in advance, so what you’ll be hearing is a genuine conversation about some important issues.

In the interview, we discuss a range of topics including:

  • How NFB must keep pace with advocacy in the digital age,
  • COVID at the 2022 convention,
  • Does NFB have a democracy problem,
  • Are some of the perceived conflicts of interest for the Federation real,
  • The place of Federation philosophy in the 2020s,
  • And some of the advocacy issues occupying NFB at the moment.

We will of course have a candid discussion about sexual misconduct in the Federation and the organisation’s response to it, which lasts for over 30 minutes.

As always, you can subscribe to Mosen at large anywhere you get your podcasts.


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