Richmond and Washington seminar

Hello Virginia Federationists,
I hope you all had a wonderful 2022 NFB of Virginia Convention. Although it may seem like it’s still three months away, Washington Seminar is fast approaching, in person from Monday, January 30 through Thursday, February 2, 2023. I wanted to send out some info to help you begin thinking about reserving your room and making arrangements in your schedule to attend.
The legislative Committee needs to begin creating teams of those who will be attending Washington Seminar and start scheduling appointments with members of Congress. So the earlier you can let us know whether you will be attending, the better. Please let us know by December 28 whether you plan to attend. When you let us know, please provide the name of your member of the House of Representatives. If you don’t know, please provide your address including street address and ZIP code so we can easily look it up. If you want to look it up yourself, you can access this information at
The Great-Gathering-In is scheduled for Monday, January 30, 2023. The Great Gathering-In is the official kickoff meeting for our 2023 Washington Seminar. The deadline for making hotel reservations with the Holiday Inn Capitol is December 28, 2023, and although I know most of you are busy as we approach the holiday season, the hotel would certainly appreciate getting your reservations as early as possible to ensure that you secure your reservation.

Please reserve your room at the Holiday Inn Washington Capitol – National Mall, 550 C Street, SW Washington, DC 20024.

Rates are $129 per night for a double or $109 per night for a single. Keep in mind those rates do not include the 14.95% District of Columbia sales tax. To book a room, please use our booking link.
Or call 877-834-3613 and use group code NB8.

Last year, we had a record number of Virginians attending our virtual sessions! This year, we are going to Washington in person. January will mark the start of the 118th Congress, and we wanted to make sure we were one of the first groups new members met with. Please encourage all your chapter members, friends, and acquaintances to attend so we can show Congress that blind Virginians are committed to our important issues!
Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for updates on our legislative issues and training schedules. Regarding COVID-19, we will not be requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test to attend the 2023 Washington Seminar. We will require that all attendees of the Great Gathering-In and the 2:00 p.m. Legislative Seminar Training on Monday, January 30, wear masks. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact me, your co-legislative director, at or call me at 9099643699.


Deepa Goraya
Co-Legislative Director
National Federation of the Blind of Virginia

From Bonnie O’Day, NFB of Virginia General Assembly Legislative Chair

Please join us for Richmond Seminar to ensure our voice is heard in the Virginia General Assembly.

Whether you have attended many Richmond Seminars, or this will be your first one, we strongly encourage you to attend and participate in representative democracy in action. We are planning for an exclusively in-person Richmond Seminar.

Monday, January 16, Martin Luther King Day. We will hold an important NFBV Board Meeting to discuss legislative issues and get organized. On Tuesday, January 17, we will meet with our Senators and Delegates.

How it Works:
Please attend the NFBV Board Meeting on Monday to learn about the issues. Plan to stay overnight at the Delta Marriott Richmond on Monday night and enjoy an evening of conviviality with your NFBV family. You will be assigned a team to meet with legislators on Tuesday, sharing our issues and answering the questions of legislators and their staff. The affiliate will reimburse transportation and hotel expenses. The National Federation of the Blind of Virginia can reimburse these expenses through the generosity of the many donors to the Charlie Brown Memorial Fund. We are grateful for these contributions which honor Charlie’s commitment to ensuring we all have a voice in advocacy for the rights of blind people in Virginia.

Where it All Happens:
Our board meeting is scheduled for 1:00 PM Monday afternoon, January 16 at the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired Campus, 395 Azalea Avenue, Richmond. We will meet in the Library & Resource Center (LRC) or perhaps in the gymnasium if construction has started at the LRC building. Lunch will be available at the cafeteria on the premises prior to the meeting. On Monday night, we will stay at the Delta Hotel by Marriott, 555 East Canal Street, Richmond, VA 23219.

On Tuesday morning, we will be going to the offices of the General Assembly in the Pocahontas Building. Our meetings are typically between 8:00 AM and 11:30 AM. Your team will likely have 10 appointments during this brief time window. Your team leader will facilitate the process, but everyone will play a role on the team. By Noon, we are gathering back up to return home. It is quick, exciting, and the legislators and their staff are happy we came to speak with them.

We look forward to reconnecting in person while being mindful of and compliant with all visiting requirements observed at Marriott properties, the DBVI campus, and the capitol.

The Issues:
The issues we will bring to Richmond are still under consideration but will most likely include:

Improving the accessibility of technology used by K-12 students, college students, state employees, and users of Virginia government resources
Expanding resources for the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired

We will present the final list of issues and fact sheets at the board meeting on Monday, January 16.

What You Need to Do:
We have bills being drafted that will need co-sponsors. Chapter Presidents should contact their General Assembly members in their local offices before the end of the year. All Chapter members are encouraged to participate in these meetings. A meeting with our elected legislators in their home districts will go a long way in establishing the recognition that is needed for our visit to Richmond. If you need assistance identifying your delegate, need help in setting up a meeting, or do secure a meeting and need additional information about our issues, please contact me, Bonnie O'Day (my contact information is below.).

Let your chapter president know you will be attending the Richmond Seminar, but also copy Bonnie. Chapter presidents will arrange cost effective transportation for their chapter members. Individuals are expected to share hotel rooms and must obtain hotel reservations themselves at the NFB of Virginia rate, which is $145 per night plus taxes. We reimburse based on having two people share a room, so we ask you to plan for a roommate. If you need assistance finding a roommate, please call/text Domonique Lawless: (615) 904-4225, no later than Saturday, December 31 to allow matches to make their reservation by the hotel deadline of January 5. You can also email Domonique but please put Richmond Seminar Roommate request in the subject line and email her at:

You may choose to reserve a room by yourself, but as has always been the case, the affiliate will reimburse only 50% of the room reservation.

Please make your own reservation on-line at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Richmond Downtown at:

You may make your reservations at any time, but they must be made by January 5. If you have problems making reservations or have any other issues with the hotel, please contact our Operations Coordinator, Joe Orozco via email at A form requesting reimbursement for transportation and your hotel stay is attached to this email, or can be downloaded from the affiliate site:

Chapter presidents must provide an initial list of the names of the individuals planning to attend from their chapter to Bonnie O'Day by Tuesday January 3 at 5 PM and additional names as they are known so we can establish and update teams in advance.

Finally, if you are interested in being a team leader, please reach out to Bonnie O'Day directly and provide your full name, city or county of residence, email address, and phone number. If you have any questions, please contact Bonnie O'Day at 703 965-2501 or email her at
I look forward to seeing you in Richmond!

Bonnie O’Day
NFB of Virginia General Assembly Legislative Chai


Jacki Bruce

Corresponding Secretary, National Federation of the Blind of Virginia
President, Greater Williamsburg Chapter
RISE/Silver Bells Outreach Coordinator
Follow us on Twitter @NFBVirginia
Find us on Facebook @NationalFederationoftheBlindofVirginia

Live the life you want.

The National Federation of the Blind is a community of members and friends who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation’s blind. Every day we work together to help blind people live the lives they want

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.