By George Holliday, President Philadelphia Metro Council of the Blind
The 2015 Southeast Regional Meeting of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind was held on Saturday, May 9, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at The Marriott Courtyard Hotel, 21 North Juniper Street in Philadelphia. This year’s theme was “Getting around Philadelphia with Style.”
From 9:00 – 10:00 a.m., attendees participated in a meet and greet opportunity while enjoying coffee and pastries. This year’s master of ceremony, George Holliday, opened the program by welcoming everyone and facilitating individual attendee introductions.
Since PCB President Tony Swartz was not able to attend due to illness, John Horst, PCB Director of Community Affairs gave us the PCB update. Patricia Russell, President of the Philadelphia Regional Chapter, (PRC) facilitated the chapter reports which consisted of updates on individual advocacy efforts, fundraising activities, membership and more. Reports were given by Pat Russell on behalf of PRC, George Holliday on behalf of the Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and Donna Williams on behalf of the Delaware Valley Council of Citizens with Low Vision. Members from the JFK Chapter did not participate this year.
Following the chapter reports, President Russell introduced George Holliday, chair of the PCB Advocacy and Governmental Affairs Committee to give an update on the advocacy issues in PCB. There was much enthusiasm and discussion about the June call in and the chapter advocacy challenge.
Jule Ann Lieberman, PCB Membership Chair was introduced to give a PCB Membership committee update. Before she was given the microphone, George Holliday announced that she would be receiving a certificate of commendation as the Outstanding Employee with a Visual Impairment. The award was subsequently presented by the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation at its 2015 Blindness Awareness Expo in Harrisburg on June 2, 2015. Congratulations Jule Ann!
After a great lunch, we focused on the theme, “Getting around Philadelphia with Style.” This was facilitated by Pamela Shaw, with presentations from Ed Facemyer, Rebecca Ilniski and Suzanne Erb.
On the schedule for the last presentations of the day were Congressman Chaka Fattah and Philadelphia Councilman Mark Squilla. Unfortunately, Congressman Chaka Fattah could not make it due to a tight schedule and traffic congestion. However, this allowed for a rather lengthy discussion with Councilman Squilla about accessible pedestrian signals, pedestrian safety, construction site barriers and more.