AFB-DirectConnect Newsletter, Published 7/2/2015

70+ Organizations Submit Letter to the President,
plus How to Stay Connected to the 2015 White House Conference on Aging

For further information, contact:

Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Researcher
(202) 469-6837

Mark Richert, Esq.
Director, Public Policy, AFB
(202) 469-6833

  • What: Advocacy letter to the President of the United States
  • Who: Supported by 70+ organizations serving Americans who are blind/visually impaired
  • What else?: Watch the White House Conference on Aging live, online, July 13th, and continue to provide your input and feedback

Visit the official White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) website to learn more about this year's conference.

AFB's Public Policy Center and VisionAware, along with more than 70 organizations, submitted a letter and report to the President of the United States last Friday, June 26, sharing powerful stories and feedback from older Americans with vision loss as well as service providers and organizations which serve these seniors. Copies of the letter were sent to multiple government offices, including the Social Security Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as to disability and aging committees and caucuses in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

We encourage you to read the final draft of the letter, list of sign-ons, and report.

We will continue to accept organizational endorsements of the letter and will add names to the online document. For more information or to add your organization, please contact Rebecca Sheffield at For easier printing and emailing, you may download the letter as a PDF file.

This letter and report send a strong message about the importance of considering the challenges and opportunities for people with vision loss in all aspects of policy-making, especially with respect to the laws, programs, and services that impact older Americans.

We also encourage you to plan to tune-in to the White House Conference on Monday, July 13th, through your internet browser. The live-streaming for the conference will be available online through

The following is a preliminary agenda provided by the WHCOA staff:

Note: All times are for the Eastern Time zone, and times and topics are subject to change

  • 10:00am to 12:20pm ET: Welcome; Opening Panels on Caregiving and Financial Security; President Obama’s Remarks
  • 12:20pm to 1:20pm ET: Break for Lunch
  • 1:20pm to 4:20pm ET: Afternoon Panel Discussions on Healthy Aging, Elder Justice and Technology
  • 4:20pm to 4:30pm ET: Closing

Visit the White House Conference on Aging website for updates, to send additional feedback to the Conference, to find out how to host a watch party, or to find out about watch parties in your area.

Thank you to all who participated in developing and promoting the fantastic response from our field, and thank you to everyone for continuing to advocate for older Americans with vision loss! Stay tuned for updates regarding responses to our letter. Enjoy the Conference!