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Thanks for Sharing Your Winning hand

Submitted by: Gabriel Lopez Kafati
Vice President and Program Chair
Word has gotten out the Nugget Casino & Resort in Sparks, Nevada is making room in the walls of the “Stars Suite” for one of our group pics! This elegant spot was BPI’s official hospitality suite during ACB’s Conference & Convention this past July. A shiny baby grand piano and the pictures of the celebs who have stayed in that same suite greeted us as we mingled to share the experience of this year’s Convention. The Nugget opened the doors of its endless casinos, multiple restaurants, and all-night bars. The hotel staff was very attentive; and ACB’s pool of volunteers was remarkable. Even the weather decided to cooperate, and we experienced a mild Summer in Northern Nevada.

BPI’s Dinner With The Board took place in-style, at The Steakhouse. Our Triple7 Mixer attracted old and new friends. A fun fact from our Wine Tastings: we had folks joining us for all five of them! Moonlight has been our best-attended movie night thus far, and many said that the best part of the audio-description was the narrator’s mention of BPI. The huge crowd gathered for our Gong Bath created a powerful energy as we immersed ourselves in the relaxing sounds of the gongs. Our Qigong Movement was such a fun and interactive experience; attendees expressed their gratitude and requested a “Part B.” Yoga Nidra gave all of us a much-needed break towards the end of Convention. Naughty Sparks was full of laughter and surprises. Our Last Deal left us all with the sweetest Convention aftertaste; and the week-long supply of Hi Sierra, BPI’s signature drink, left us thirsty for more.

BPI’s complementary offerings were also top notch. The Policy Director of ACLU Nevada joined us in a discussion on how to “Take Action” during challenging times. Abundant sparkling wine filled our glasses as we toasted during our Ally Appreciation Dinner, and the generosity of a BPI member provided our meal for the evening. Besides the audio-description of Moonlight, AudioEyes also donated to BPI the film Real Boy; we enjoyed this production and engaged in an interesting discussion afterwards. A panel formed of remarkable individuals from different backgrounds opened the floor to a discussion on sexual orientation and faith. The BPI Suite was always ready to welcome our members and friends who simply wished to chat and relax.

For those of you who joined us in July, we sincerely hope we met your expectations. For those of you who were not able to join us, we hope we have given you enough here to get you to St. Louis in 2018. BPI has become a home for many during Convention. Our priority is always to insure the best convention experience for our members. Our welcoming environment is always attracting our allies and friends. BPI has the most amazing and loyal team of volunteers any organization could ever hope for. The members of the Planning and Programs Committee bring all their dedication to plan for and execute our Convention; and our team has developed a keen ability to collaborate with our parent organization. All of this comes together in a week of fun, learning, and mingling between members, friends, allies, and volunteers. On behalf of my Committee, please allow me to thank each and every one of you for sharing your winning hand with BPI!

Success and Moving Forward

Submitted by: Will Burley

Do not fear moving forward for the fear of leaving the past behind. When one door closes, many doors can open…” – Unknown

In the lifespan of any organization, a crossroad will present itself. One direction can lead to a winding, endless circle, while the other leads to a pathway to destinations unknown. An organization must, if it is to remain relevant to the needs of its members, travel the uncharted road. While this can be a bit worrisome for some, it presents an opportunity to look back on the myriad of wonderful accomplishments to give strength for the future. Each year, the BPI conference and convention offers just this opportunity as we review the past term and begin to map a new corse.

As my predecessors will likely tell you, while a president is a major support for each component of convention week, special attention is paid to the business meeting. This meeting, if done correctly, will engage members so they can share their thoughts on the past as well as share ideas for the future. This year’s meeting was no different. I believe this was one of the most well attended business meetings since I’ve been involved with the organization. Most sitting board members were able to be in attendance, and members and friends filled every seat. Members were able to verbalize ideas on a range of themes from board meeting notices to our social networking gathering. Board members and committee chairs were able to take note and will work to find a way to implement many, if not all of those ideas in the coming term.

Another detail on the agenda was board elections. Before I mention any aspect of this process, we must give a note of thanks to Kevin Ratliff and Leah Gardner who served as Secretary and a Member-at-Large, respectively. It is my belief that even though BPI is a small non-profit, our board members and committee chairs put in a great deal of work to make the engine run smoothly. Both of these individuals have a long history with this organization and while not serving on the board, will still be active in one way or another. With these members deciding to take a modest break from serving, our Elections Committee worked with our gifted membership to locate individuals willing to serve.

The Elections Committee is mandated to develop an elections process that engages the membership in not only the nominations process but through a balloting procedure. BPI has had a simple form of electronic voting for years via email. This year, an online program was located that was accessible to allow members in good standing, who could not attend convention, to vote. We secured 15% participation. I wish to thank the Committee and the membership for assisting this organization in taking a leap forward in giving each member a voice in our non-profit organization.

The effect of the Committee and membership working together is Gabriel Lopez serving another term as Vice President, Harlow Pease gaining a new term as Member-at-Large and Tamara Lomax serving in her first term as Secretary as well as Chris Snyder serving in his first term as a Member-at-Large. At your first opportunity, please take a moment to congratulate each person and offer your support in the work they will be doing.

As we begin work anew in this board term, I encourage you to gift BPI with 0.5% of your time each month. This translates to roughly 3.5 hours. If each of us did this, approximately450 hours of work would be done!! This would allow us to take this organization to heights we can only imagine. It is said that no one can do everything, but if everyone does something, everything will get done.

What will you do

International LGBT organization urges Senate to reject Jeff Sessions nomination for Attorney General


International LGBT organization urges Senate to reject Jeff Sessions nomination for Attorney General

Contact: Gabriel Lopez
Company: Blind LGBT Pride International
Phone: (786) 547-5465

Austin, Tx – Blind LGBT Pride International (BPI) the only Civil Rights and Advocacy organization representing LGBT individuals who are blind and vision impaired, today announced its opposition to the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as the next U.S. attorney general.

“We believe that any president should have broad latitude in appointments. However, given the extraordinary role the attorney general has over so many issues fundamentally impacting the lives of our community, Sessions’ egregious track record on those issues makes it impossible for us to support this nomination,” stated BPI President Will Burley.

“Throughout his career, he has been a staunch opponent of progress for historically disenfranchised groups, whether it’s African-Americans, people with disabilities, Latinos, LGBT Americans, or women” remarked Burley. Sessions record is replete with actions and stated positions which we find in complete opposition to the freedoms and well being of people with disabilities who are LGBT, including: in May of 2000, his taking to the Senate floor in opposition to the reauthorization of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), the Federal law which mandates the integration of children with disabilities into public schools; citing the law as the reason that U.S. public schools were failing, referring to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which contains provisions relevant to the voting rights of people with disabilities, as a “piece of intrusive legislation”; opposing both the 2006 and 2013 bipartisan immigration reform bills and calling for an end to birthright citizenship; his opposition to the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, in 2000 and 2009; voting against measures expanding hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation; He dubbed the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage an “effort to secularize, by force and intimidation”, , and referring to Civil rights organizations as “Communist-inspired” and “un-American.” “The list goes on and on”,commented Burley.

“It is exceedingly disappointing, to say the least, that the newly elected President has chosen someone who is at best indifferent, and at worst actively antagonistic toward an overwhelming portion of the country’s population. For such a crucial post, We urge the Senate to soundly reject his nomination,” concluded Burley.

For more information regarding Blind LGBT Pride International’s stance on the nomination of Sen. Jeff sessions, please contact the Legislative and Advocacy chair, Don Brown by email at


Blind LGBT pride International, a 501c(3) organization founded in 1996 has a goal to offer advocacy, education, programs, alliances and support for those who are either blind or vision impaired and who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or allies. For more information, please visit

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