BOSTON, Mass. (March 6, 2017) – Governor Charlie Baker signed his first-ever brailled proclamation today at the State House, advocating on behalf of the Commonwealth’s blind/visually impaired population. The 4:00 p.m. ceremony kicked off BlindNewWorld Week, six days dedicated to creating more inclusion and opportunity for the Commonwealth’s 125,000 residents with vision loss. Culminating the week’s activities will be “Blind Date” on Saturday, March 11, when local businesses join in to urge people who are sighted and blind to get together socially.
Gov. Baker was joined by Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Commissioner Paul Saner, Perkins President and CEO Dave Power, Corinne Grousbeck, Chair of Perkins Board of Trustees and her son Campbell, Perkins students and supporters. Perkins Chamber Singers began the ceremony with a unique rendition of “It’s a Wonderful World.”
BlindNewWorld is a public service social change campaign, sponsored by Perkins School for the Blind, that aims to demystify blindness and break down barriers to inclusion.
"The Commonwealth is committed to inclusion and empowerment for all people," said Governor Baker, "and BlindNewWorld Week gives us the opportunity to show we can all learn and grow from finding common ground with our neighbors."
Throughout the week, BlindNewWorld and its partners will promote and celebrate new ways to think about inclusion in settings like employment, education, innovation and transportation, highlighting different ways the sighted population can be proactive about breaking down barriers to inclusion.
On March 11, the term “blind date” will take on a whole new meaning. Sighted and visually impaired people across the state are encouraged to spend time together. To help “blind daters” make the most of their social interaction, a number of Massachusetts organizations have partnered with BlindNewWorld – Not Your Average Joe’s restaurants, Showcase Cinemas, Saks Fifth Avenue Boston and many of the state’s major museums – to offer special perks for those participating on the 11th. A full list of partners and offers can be found at blindnewworld.org/blinddate.
“When we launched BlindNewWorld last spring, we set out on a mission to change the way sighted people think about blindness – to knock out unfounded fear, discomfort, stigma and pity,” said Grousbeck, the catalyst behind BlindNewWorld. “We are thrilled that so many Massachusetts organizations are on board to support ‘blind date’ get-togethers on March 11. What we’re doing this week could be a model for the whole country.”
Grousbeck introduced BlindNewWorld in 2016 to dispel misconceptions and misperceptions about blindness that often present barriers to full participation in education, employment, entertainment and more. She was inspired by her son’s first-hand experiences. For more information, visit BlindNewWorld.org.
BlindNewWorld is a social change campaign that seeks to educate and inspire people who are sighted to open their eyes to the full social, professional and academic capabilities of the blind. For more information, visit BlindNewWorld.org and follow @blindnewworld.
ABOUT PERKINS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND
Perkins School for the Blind, founded in 1829 as the first school of its kind in the US, is a multifaceted organization working around the world to prepare children and young adults who are blind with the education, confidence and skills they need to realize their full potential. Learn more at Perkins.org.