Please join us for the 2019 NCCB State Convention


Friday Sept 20 – Sunday Sept 22


Best Western Plus Burlington
770 Huffman Mill Road
Burlington, NC 27215


Hotel Room Rate:

$89.00 plus tax per night
Includes full breakfast

Registration Fees:

$25.00 (Online Registration)
$30.00 (Registration with check)

Registration fee includes a boxed lunch choice:
 > Ham & Cheddar Sandwich
 > Turkey & Swiss Sandwich
 > Roast Beef & Cheddar Sandwich
 > Veggie Wrap
Each lunch includes pasta salad, cookie and choice of drink

Banquet Registration:

Registration Fee is $20.00

Banquet Options:
 > Filet Mignon
 > Boneless Grilled Chicken
 > Grilled Salmon
 > Vegetable Lasagna
All entrees served with a roll, mixed vegetables, dessert and choice of drink

2019 North Carolina Council of the Blind State Convention Agenda 

All events located at the Best Western Plus Burlington 

  • Friday, September 20th, 2019
    • 3:00PM-5:00PM Check-In/Registration
    • 7:00PM Convention opening and welcoming remarks from President Terry Lewis
    • 7:05PM Remarks from Cynthia Speight, Director of NC Division of Services for the Blind 
    • 7:25PM Presentation from Gina Powell, Outreach and Volunteer Services Librarian, NC Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
    • 7:45PM Remarks from Dr. Ricky Scott, Member, NC Statewide Independent Living Council
    • 8:00PM Chapter reports: Alamance, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro and Raleigh/Wake 
    • 8:00PM Candidates Forum 
    • 9:00PM Reading of constitutional amendment changes 
    • 9:10PM Closing remarks and adjournment by President Terry Lewis 
    • 9:15PM-10:00PM Meet and greet with candidates in meeting room 
  • Saturday, September 21st, 2019
    • 6:00AM-8:00AM Breakfast
    • 8:00AM-8:30AM Registration 
    • 9:00AM Welcoming and opening remarks from President Terry Lewis
    • 9:05AM Pledge of Allegiance 
    • 9:10AM Pastor’s Invocation by Pastor Ben Bishop 
    • 9:15AM Mayor’s welcome from Mayor Ian Baltutis
    • 9:25AM Presentation by Lynn Deese, Assistive Technology/Media and Training Coordinator, North Carolina Assistive Technology Program 
    • 9:40AM Presentation by Teri Peters, Outreach and Education Coordinator, US EEOC District Office 
    • 10:00AM Break/Door Prizes
    • 10:30AM Presentation by Ebony Wade, CWIC Benefits Counselor with NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
    • 10:50AM Presentation by Kenya Myers, Voting Rights Advocate, Disability Rights NC 
    • 11:05AM Presentation by Sheri Badger, Disability Interrogation Specialist, NC Emergency Management 
    • 11:20AM Remarks from Keynote Speaker Tamara Rorie, Braille Development Officer, Library of Congress, National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped 
    • 11:35AM Closing remarks from President Terry Lewis, Announcements and Door Prizes 
    • 12:00PM-1:00PM Lunch 
    • 1:00PM-4:00PM Exhibits open 
    • 4:00PM-7:00PM Free time
    • 7:00PM-8:30PM Banquet 
      • Invocation by Rev. Donald Rains
      • Remarks by Keynote Speaker Tamara Rorie 
      • Scholarship Presentations by Rev. Tim Snyder 
      • Raffle Drawings by raffle hosts 
  • Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
    • 6:00AM-8:00AM Breakfast 
    • 8:30AM-11:30AM General Business meeting 
      • Called to order by President Terry Lewis
      • Invocation by Rev. Tim Snyder 
      • Presidents Report by President Terry Lewis 
      • Treasurers Report by Treasurer Susan Blackwelder 
      • Secretaries Report by Secretary Lacey Coward 
      • Committee Reports
      • Audit Report
      • Brady Jones Report 
      • Budget Report 
      • Constitution and Bi-Laws Report
      • Fundraising Report 
      • Investment Report 
      • Legislative Report 
      • Membership Report 
      • Policy Report 
      • Public Relations Report 
      • Scholarship Report 
      • State Convention Report
    • 10:00AM-10:15AM Break/Door Prizes
    • Old Business
    • New Business 
    • Elections 
    • Final remarks from Tamara Rorie 
    • Final Remarks from President Terry Lewis
    • Adjournment

NCCB 2019 Officer Candidates

The election will take place in Burlington NC, on Sept. 22, at the North Carolina Council of the Blind’s state convention. 

#01)  President:  

Christopher G. Bell

Christopher G. Bell has been a disability rights and civil rights attorney for over 40 years.  Now retired, Mr. Bell and his wife, Jo Taliaferro, moved to Pittsboro, NC in November 2017, after 20 years in Minnesota. Mr. Bell joined the North Carolina Council of the Blind (NCCB) in 2018.  He currently serves on several NCCB committees.  On the Investments Committee, Mr. Bell used his knowledge and expertise as a former stockbroker to assist in selecting some short-term, more conservative investments.  On the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, Mr. Bell proposed the creation of several new standing committees and drafted a memo to the Board recommending such revisions.  He also drafted legal language to put such changes into the Bylaws if approved by the Membership.  As a member of the Legislative Committee, Mr. Bell accompanied other NCCB members to the 2019 ACB Legislative Seminar in Washington, DC, visiting members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation. Mr. Bell also drafted follow-up letters to our Senators and Congress people.

Mr. Bell is a Life Member of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), joining in 1979.  Mr. Bell has been active for many years on several different ACB committees.  Mr. Bell is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Visually-impaired Attorneys (AAVIA) and he also is a member of ACB’s Advocacy, Transportation and Environmental Access Committees.  In addition, Mr. Bell wrote ACB’s comments on several different regulatory proposals by the U.S. Access Board and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  He also represented ACB for four years on the ANSI Consensus Committee developing the latest edition of the A117.1 “Standard on Accessible Buildings and Commercial Facilities”, which is incorporated in the building codes of all 50 states.

While living in Minnesota, Mr. Bell was a Life Member of the American Council of the Blind of Minnesota (ACBM). Mr. Bell was the principal lobbyist for ACBM on its successful effort to pass a Minnesota criminal law protecting service animals from assault by another person, which was based upon an actual assault of a guide dog.

Mr. Bell believes that the rights of blind and visually-impaired people are strengthened when our community joins with other disability groups to obtain results benefitting all persons with disabilities.  Mr. Bell was the first blind person to act as Co-Chair of the Minnesota Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities, a cross-disability nonprofit coalition representing all Minnesotans with disabilities before the legislature and before MN Executive Branch agencies.  He testified many times before MN legislative committees on issues affecting the disability community and advocated disability rights issues before the MN Departments of Human Services, Transportation and Human Rights.  He also filed several federal complaints against MN DOT for violations of the ADA accessibility rights in the public rights-of-way.  In 2012, Mr. Bell was the Co-Chair representing the disability community on Minnesota’s state-wide Olmstead Planning Committee.

Mr. Bell retired as a Partner from Jackson Lewis, a national, management side labor and employment law firm, in 2001. He was a Partner in the Firm’s Washington, DC office before he moved to Minnesota to open the Firm’s Minneapolis office in 1997, serving as the office’s first Managing Partner.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Mr. Bell was the Acting Associate Legal Counsel for ADA Services and a principal advisor to Chairman Evan J. Kemp, Jr., at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C.  He was the manager who oversaw the development of EEOC’s ADA employment regulations, Technical Assistance Manual and ADA sections of EEOC’s Compliance Manual.  Mr. Bell also played a significant role in the development of the ADA, providing conceptual and technical assistance to the White House and Senate and House committees during the ADA’s legislative process from 1988-1990.  His co-authorship, for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, of its 1983 report on the nature and extent of disability discrimination and an approach for a legislative remedy, “Accommodating the Spectrum of Individual Abilities” provided the conceptual foundation for this landmark legislation.

Mr. Bell gained trial experience as a legal services lawyer with Florida Rural Legal Services.  Mr. Bell also conducted litigation under the employment and public accommodation Titles of the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 while a partner with Jackson Lewis.  Mr. Bell also provided expert technical assistance to Jackson Lewis trial attorneys litigating cases under the ADA.  Mr. Bell was a nationally-recognized trainer and lecturer on the ADA.

Mr. Bell graduated from Clark University (B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, 1974) and Antioch School of Law (J.D. 1977).


  • Books – Co-Authored
    • “The Taking Control Process:  Beyond Light Duty” – published by Milt Wright & Associates, Inc., Chatsworth, California, Copyright 1995
    • “The Workers’ Compensation – ADA Connection: Supervisory Tools For Workers’ Compensation Cost Containment That Reduce ADA Liability” – published by Milt Wright & Associates, Inc., Chatsworth, California, Copyright 1993
    • “The Job Placement – ADA Connection:  Limiting Liabilities and Maximizing Opportunities for Training and Placement of Persons with Disabilities” – published by Milt Wright & Associates, Inc., Chatsworth, California, Copyright 1993
  • Articles and Chapters
    • “The Bermuda Triangle of Employment Law”, Legal Report, spring 1997, published by the Society for Human Resource Management
    • “Final FMLA Regulations:  What Do They Mean For Employers?” Legal Report, winter 1995, published by the Society for Human Resource Management
    • “Integrating ADA and FMLA into Workers’ Compensation and STD Policies and Practices,” ADA Policy & Law, May 1994
    • “California Reform of Workers’ Compensation Law May Cost Employers Plenty Under the ADA” with Michael J. Lotito, ADA Review, September 1994
    • “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Injured Workers: Implications for Rehabilitation Professionals and the Workers’ Compensation System,” HR Alert, August 9, 1993
    • “Integrating the Americans with Disabilities Act into the Workers’ Compensation System,” Rehabilitation Psychology, Summer 1993; “The ADA and Medical Examinations as a Condition of Employment,” The Disability Law Reporter Service, June 1993
    • “ADA and Benefit Plans:  A Civil Rights Law Perspective”, with Thomasina Rogers and Naomi Levin, Benefits Law Journal May 1993
    • “Employers’ Guide to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990”, with Evan J. Kemp, Jr., Nova Law Review. June 1991

#02)  First Vice-President:  

Becky Davidson

My husband, Ron, and I moved to Charlotte from NY State in September, 2017. I am currently Manager of Consumer Outreach and Graduate Support at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a position I’ve held since June, 1999. I have a Masters degree in Public Administration from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Prior to joining Guiding Eyes I worked for 24 years as an Employment and Training Counselor in Western New York State.

I currently serve as chair of ACB’s National Environmental Access Committee. I am past Chair of the New York State Rehabilitation Council, and Past President of Guide Dog Users, Inc. a national special interest affiliate of ACB. I am also past president of the Mount Kisco Lions Club.

Although I am relatively new to NCCB I believe strongly in the ACB philosophy in general. I believe that state affiliates are or should be in a position to be a strong resource and advocate for their members. I believe that NCCB can and should be a source of encouragement and support for our local chapters and have observed that to be the case. We need to reach out in whatever way we can to blind and visually impaired people in NC in general and to young people in particular.

#03)  Second Vice-President:  

Elvira Basnight

Ms. Elvira Basnight was born and raised in New York, but has called Durham, North Carolina home for more than thirty years.  She has been totally blind since her freshman year of high school.  She obtained a Bachelors of Science in business administration from Mount Olive College. 

Ms. Basnight has long been involved in community development and has gained experience over the years working with the City of Durham, its Council, and a variety of community focused programs.  She has been a frequent spokesperson for ADA compliance and diversity awareness within the community and the workplace. Ms. Basnight continues to strongly support independence and equality for those with special needs. 

Ms. Basnight was a devoted advocate in bringing about the first official Paratransit service in Durham County.  She appeared before City Council.  In addition, to advocating for the paratransit service Ms. Basnight worked diligently to have a bond referendum for street paving approved.  After a 14-year crusade Ms. Basnight was rewarded with the passing of the referendum which resulted in the approval for paving of multiple Durham city streets as well as the street on which she still resides. 

Most recently Ms. Basnight challenged the inclusion practices of the Durham City Parks and Recreation Department.  It was concluded that the current policies were outdated and not in compliance with federal laws.  As a direct result, effective January 31, 2019, a revised inclusion policy was developed and distributed to the staff of the Parks and Recreation Department. 

Ms. Basnight has been employed in the medical arena for almost thirty-five years.  She has participated in civil service employment (City of New York), federal (Durham VAMC) and is currently employed in the private sector at Duke University Hospital.  Ms. Basnight’s resourcefulness and problem-solving abilities coupled with her determination have proven essential in her 34 years of active employment.  Ms. Basnight is dedicated to being a productive and active member of society. 

Ms. Basnight leads a very active lifestyle.  She has attended cross-country ski events in Michigan and Alaska.  Ms. Basnight participated in parasailing and jet skiing in the Caribbean.  She is an avid tandem cyclist.  Ms. Basnight enjoys listening to music, reading, swing dancing, yoga, Pilates, ballet conditioning and hiking.  She welcomes any and all opportunities to share in cultural events, visit new places and explore the outdoors. 

Ms. Basnight strongly believes that any limitation one may have should be determined by the individual and not societal prejudices and misconceptions. 

Tamika Polk

My name is Tamika Polk and I am interested in being nominated for the board position of Second Vice-President. I have been the president of in CCB in the past, and I have also been the president of our local chapter. I am currently secretary of the Greensboro Council of the blind.

My greatest desire is to assist blind and visually impaired people to become independent and self-sufficient through the use of Technology that is available to us today. Our local chapter was instrumental in getting JAWS put on the computers in our local public library’s. I also assisted with teaching JAWS for a while to clients who came to the library for that service.  I also assist people with issues concerning the iPhone. One thing I would like to do this year is make blind and visually impaired people more aware of Accessible prescription labels that are available to us. Thanks. 

Allen Moore

My name is Allen Moore.  I am a graduate of the Governor Morehead School.  I was the first in my family to graduate from high school.

I was an employee with the Social Security Administration for 33 years.  I have been first and second Vice Presidents of the NC Council of the Blind.  I have also served with the Metrolina Association of the Blind.  I was also named to the commission of the blind of NC.  While on the commission I was chair of the interrelations committee.  I was also president of the consumer advocacy and advisor committee.  I have also served as president of the Greater Charlotte chapter.  During my presidency I assisted the chapter in obtaining their 501c3 status.

I am interested in running for the position of Second Vice-President of the council.  I would like to see NC Carolina Council of the Blind grow both financially and in membership.  I would also like to see our organization promoted more across the state so that others can know about us and what we do.

Anthony Yellock

I served as a Member At Large for a term and also served as 2nd Vice- President one term for NCCB. I have served as Alamance Council of the Blind Vice-President 4 terms and served as President 2 terms. I am the current President. I have served on the nomination, fundraising, audit and convention committees. I am looking forward to serving another term as Second Vice-President.

#04)  Secretary:  

Lacey Coward

My name is Lacey Coward.  I am currently serving as the Secretary for the NC Council of the Blind.  I have held this position since the spring of 2018.  I would like to be considered for this position during the 2019 Election year.  

During my short tenure as Secretary I have participated in the state convention as well as 2019 Member Registration.  I am also in the process of learning to maintain our organization website.  I feel that my many years of experience in this type of role would continue to be a benefit to the council.  I am detail oriented and computer savvy. 

If elected I hope to continue to improve the operating procedures of the council with the use of our website. I also hope to start a newsletter that is sent out bi-monthly so that the blind and visually impaired citizens of NC can know what the council is doing to improve things for the blind community.  I also hope to get a presence on social media started for the council.  These are just a few things I hope to implement during my time as secretary.

Thank you for your time and consideration.  Sincerely, Lacey Coward .

#05)  Treasurer:  

Jo Taliaferro

Making Cents!

I am running for the office of Treasurer of the North Carolina Council of the blind. It sounded like a good idea to give people a little bit of knowledge about my life, my work and my lack of experience in handling money! 
Sometimes, I make CENTS and sometimes… I take it away! I guess it all started when I got an allowance as a young child of $.11 per week. One day, I was walking to church and I had my allowance in my pocket. The dime fell out and I said, “Well God, there goes yours!”

I attended public schools all my life and after graduating from college, I got a Masters in teaching Spanish. I did a semester of teaching at the school where I had learned Spanish in high school and I had my wonderful Spanish teacher as my supervisor. Such a fun semester it was! After graduating from Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana, I went on to get a Doctor of Ministry degree from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond Virginia. I studied Christian education, and graduated with majors in preaching and pastoral care from the seminary.

I have traveled to Europe on a few occasions as an exchange student. I stayed with the family for the year of 1969 to 1970 which would’ve been my last year of high school. I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country but I accepted the offer of a year in Germany! So… I had an instructor give me nine or 10 lessons before I left for Germany and then could not understand the dialect that was spoken in the family that I stayed with. It was rather a rough year but I did learn to write Braille in German since I attended a second grade class for about eight weeks. Those kids really showed me up!

I have two sisters. Jan Roach is my twin and we were both born prematurely because it would’ve been too hard on my mom for us to be born one after the other and buy a couple of months or so. Ha, Ha, Ha!  My twin sister is sighted and has two adopted grown children who are also twins! My younger sister Nancy has a thriving sewing business in Kansas City where the rest of my family lives. I am not even going to mention my running for NCCB Treasurer because I don’t want her to laugh really hard! My parents, who are both in their 90s, live in a retirement community in Kansas City where they have been all of their lives and where my sisters and I were raised. They don’t want to be old, they want to stay as independent as possible and I know things cannot be easy for them as they begin to lose cognitive abilities. They still get out and go places and still want to be in their own little apartment! So perhaps I got some of my genes from them! 

For about 45 years of my life, my awesome companions, Seeing Eye dogs, have been by my side! They have all been wonderful German Shepherds and all are so much alike and so different.

Life has taken me to many places around the world: to Germany, Spain,  Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and now to North Carolina. I would like to serve as treasurer of the North Carolina Council of the blind and promise to do so to the best of my ability. I can, after all, manage a checkbook as long as money is being deposited and not withdrawn!   

#06)  Member-At-Large:  

Sharone Bunn

My name is Sharone Bunn and I would like to be considered for the Member-At-Large position for the upcoming election. I am a new member of the Wake County Chapter of North Carolina Council for the Blind, however I have been doing work for the council since I became employed with NC Division of Services for the Blind at GMS in 2016. I would like to be considered for the Member-At-Large position due to the fact that I live in Wilson, NC.

I bring to the table 22 years of Braille reproduction and transcription services, a great attitude, a willingness to work, and lots of good-will and cheer!  I am a single mom, my oldest child is 29 – her name is Bianca and she is the mother of my only granddaughter, Mea.  I also have a son, 24, whose name is Tevin.  The all reside in Raleigh, and I get to see them often due to the fact that I work there.  I have attended several gatherings and meetings of NCCB and have met most, if not all of the members of the chapter I joined.  Although I’ve never held an office of this type, I think my eagerness and my quick learning abilities make me an ideal candidate.  Additionally, I can offer services to my co-members who have lost their sight, or are visually impaired, because I am not, by God’s grace.

In conclusion, I would like to be considered for the position of Member-At-Large for the 2019 Election year.  Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.


My name is Kendall. I am a 21 year-old young lady from Arkansas, but now reside in the triangle area of North Carolina. I was born with a degenerative eye condition known as Lebers Congenital Amerosis (LCA). I have always chosen to live my life doing the best of my ability rather than surviving around my disability. Fortunately, my vision remained stable until I was sixteen. At sixteen, my vision declined to the point where I needed to learn Braille. I pushed through and decided to graduate from public high school in just three short years. As my senior year progressed, my father passed away unexpectedly.

Through the loss of my sight and the loss of my father, I continued to persevere. I knew there were people out there that had life much worse. There was a job I needed to do. I completed high school in three years and decided to move into the World Services for the Blind facility. Meanwhile, I attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. As time progressed, I found myself working for World Services as a grounds keeper. This piece of responsibility taught me how much I could really change my community. I began speaking  in Lion’s meetings across the state, board meetings, and was also awarded the winner of the 2015 AER Scholarship.

My drive to spread awareness and build the blind community didn’t stop there. I moved to North Carolina in 2016 where I decided to continue my education. While attending North Carolina State University, I completed a work experience at the Governor Morehead School. I taught assistive technology, Braille, and socialization skills. I currently am one year from earning my Bachelors Degree in Social Work, but am very involved in the community. I volunteer weekly with elders with visual impairments, in which I teach independent living skills and iPad techniques. I value the concept of awareness and will continue to do speaking engagements to draw communities closer together. 

As a Member-At-Large, I will promote the spread of awareness, equality, and unity. We are all different, but I believe that we all have something to offer one another. We will work together, we will promote change, and we will grow.

#07)  Member-At-Large:  

Larry Woodard

My name is Larry Woodard.  I am currently a member of the NC Council of the Blind. I would like to be considered for the position of Member-At-Large during the 2019 election year. I have only been a member for short period of time for 1 year to be more specific, but feel I can make a contribution to the organization by serving in this position at this time. I have attended both the state and national convention. I was selected as “Client of the Year“ in 2017 by the NC Rehabilitation Services and was selected as the Howard Jensen Award winner in 2018 by the NC staff of the NC Rehabilitation Center for the Blind. I will be involved in my local chapter committees. I have the qualities, skills and experiences of leadership, organizing, planning, communication and listening skills to serve as a valuable member in the position.

I see the position as an excellent way to be a part of a team that is involved not only in the current aid of the visual impaired/blind lives, but also the bigger picture of providing a better place for the future of our lives. After previous work experience at the Governor’s Institute and the NC Department of Health and Human Services working as a project director and lead regional trainer for the state, I was able to gain firsthand experience in what it means to be part of a team, serve as a team member, listen and work to make progress a central part of your goal. 

If elected I would make it my goal to serve and work in whatever capacity needed to help further the organization. I sincerely hope to be elected and appreciate your consideration.

The election will take place in Burlington NC, on Sept. 22, at the North Carolina Council of the Blind’s state convention. 

Here’s a sneak peak at one of our exhibitors. Be sure to visit AIRA when at this year’s NCCB State Convention

Aira is proud to sponsor the 2019 North Carolina Council of the Blind State Convention. As part of our partnership, we are offering Aira Access at the Best Western Plus on 770 Huffman Mill Rd for this event. 

What is Aira Access? Individuals who are blind or have low-vision can use Aira for free through Aira Access. We’ve partnered with some of the most well-known businesses in the world to provide free Aira Access to more people, in more ways. It is the ability for anyone to download the Aira app and use Aira for free; finding a hotel room, a conference room, reading a hotel menu or describing exhibit hall tables.

Download the free Aira app as a Guest at today so you can use Aira for free while attending the event. Trouble downloading? Call 1-800-835-1934.

Aira is on a mission to provide instant access to visual information for anyone, anytime, anywhere. Learn more about Aira at or watch this video.