WASHINGTON D.C. – Advocates for the blind and visually impaired are excited about news that could help more people understand the importance of Braille, a reading tool that utilizes patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips to help those who can’t see.
The Baltimore Orioles announced Wednesday that on Sept. 18 players will wear uniforms in which their usual namesake is written in Braille to honor the National Federation of the Blind, which is headquartered in Baltimore.
According to the Orioles organization it is the first American professional sports team to incorporate Braille lettering into its uniforms.
On Sept. 18, we'll recognize the 40th anniversary of @NFB_voice moving their headquarters to Baltimore and become the first American professional sports team to incorporate Braille lettering into our gameday uniforms when we host National Federation of the Blind Night at OPACY. pic.twitter.com/vU8ZDlXGOr
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) September 5, 2018
“This should be a national day that all baseball teams take this initiative and show their support for those that are visually impaired and blind,” said Tony Cancelosi, President and CEO of Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind.
Columbia Lighthouse is a DC-based organization that helps the blind and those going blind learn Braille and other techniques to help them live independently.
“We have a lot of skilled individuals who can do jobs just like anyone else,” said Cancelosi. “We run government contracts, we contract closeouts and we do brailing for the Department of Education. We do contracts for digital data scanning and administrative work.”
Columbia Lighthouse serves between 2 to 3,000 clients in the DMV every year.
“This is exciting because we feel that Braille is an essential part of an individual who has lost their sight,” said Cancelosi.
Even though it may be considered essential to those without sight it doesn’t have to be exclusive. According to Cancelosi, that is another point being driven home by the Orioles.
“It’s sending a message that this can be something everyone can recognize,” said Cancelosi. “It’s not something where we’re saying ‘This is our language’ but it’s something that’s a learning tool for those who have lost their sight.”