Tomorrow the long awaited Louis Braille Coin goes on sale. Planning to buy two or three myself, as it combines two of my favorite things- coins and Braille.
Below is a press release from the NFBCO on the event tomorrow. I am saddened I will not be able to make the festivities, but trust they will be superb anyway.
National Federation of the Blind of Colorado Celebrates
Release of Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar
Denver, Colorado (March 25, 2009): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Colorado will On March 26 celebrate the release of the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar. This historic commemorative coin, the first-ever U.S. coin to contain tactile, readable Braille, will be launched at a special ceremony at the headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind, in Baltimore, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EDT on March 26, 2009.
In Denver, Colorado and under the leadership of Majority Leader, Senator Brendon Shaffer and Representative Joe Rice, the Colorado General Assembly will honor the launch by adopting a Joint Resolution highlighting the release of the coin and emphasizing the Braille literacy program partially funded by the sale of this commemorative coin.
Immediately preceding the assembly's passing of the resolution, the NFB of Colorado will hold a press event at 08:30 am in the Press Room; (room 326 on the third floor in the southwest corner of the Capitol). State Senator Brandon Shaffer and other dignitaries will be in attendance.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "If the blind can read, the blind can achieve. The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar celebrates the man who gave literacy to the blind and is a unique and beautiful keepsake, but it is also a coin with a mission: to make sure that every blind child and every adult losing vision in our nation has the opportunity to learn Braille. "
Scott LaBarre, president of the Federation's Colorado affiliate said "I am a totally blind attorney operating my own successful law practice. I would not be able to do so without being extremely literate. Braille is fundamental to my level of literacy, without which I
could not practice law. The Louis Braille Coin and its attendant literacy program will bring success and freedom to the generations of tomorrow. We know that the working
age blind face an unemployment rate exceeding seventy percent, yet a substantial majority of the blind who are employed are Braille readers. We salute Senator Shaffer and Representative Rice for demonstrating the leadership to call attention to this literacy crisis and for supporting the program to start fixing the problem."
Senator Shaffer said, "It's unfortunate that we are so quick to forget the invaluable contributions that the sight impaired have made to our society. Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder, Galileo Galilee, Kirby Puckett, Claude Monet, and David Paterson are just a few individuals that have and continue to contribute. Braille is an accessible, efficient mechanism for learning and there is no reason why only 10 percent of blind children are learning it. The sight impaired deserve the same opportunities as all individuals and Colorado is ready to provide that for them."
Regarding the resolution, Representative Rice said, "Literacy is considered by our society to be a fundamental civil right in America today. I applaud the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado as it works through its Braille Readers are Leaders Campaign to provide the right of literacy through Braille to all of America's blind children and adults."
Sales of the Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar, which was authorized by a law passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in 2006, will support the NFB's "Braille Readers are Leaders" campaign. The campaign is a national initiative created to double the number of blind children learning Braille by 2015.
The National Federation of the Blind is asking the American public, through purchasing this stunning silver dollar, to join its campaign to bring literacy, education, opportunity, and success to the blind of America. The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar goes on sale to the general public at noon on March 26. Those interested in ordering a coin should visit www.usmint.gov or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). For more information about the National Federation of the Blind and the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, visit www.braille.org.