Berkeley: City of the Blind

Stories and Storytellers

This event will intersperse about a dozen fascinating stories and interviews with plenty of time for conversation with new and old friends.

The stories and storytellers to be included in the evening's program on January 10 are a dynamic and slippery bunch. This page lists our best current estimate of who will be involved and what they might present.

The program is designed to maximize interest and minimize chaos -- it is not an open-mic event. However, we are always interested in improving the lineup. If you would like to propose a story in advance, please send us an e-mail so we can discuss it.

All contents are subject to change without notice.

The Projected Program

An Introduction and Orientation

A quick tour of blindness in Berkeley and the geography of the evening

Storyteller and Host: Joshua Miele, Director, The Smith-Kettlewell Description Research and Innovation Lab; Corresponding Secretary, The Holman Society

The coming of the School, and the Passing of the Torch

A retelling of how, in 1867, Berkeley came to be home to the Society for the Instruction and Maintenance of the Indigent Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind in California, and how, 100 years later, our vibrant blind community supported and informed Berkeley's influential disability rights awakening

Storyteller: Ken Stein, Disability Rights Activist and Disability Historian

Introduction by: Anita Aaron Director, World Institute on Disability

A Story of Transition

The people and places between the blind organizations of interest

Storyteller: Mike Cole, Retired Director, Orientation Center for the Blind

The Origins of the East Bay Center for the Blind

A narrative re-creation of the EBCB's earliest days

Storyteller: Liz Deef, Institutional Memory, East Bay Center for the Blind


1956-57 -- My Blind Freshman Year Abroad at the California School for the Blind

A story of growth and exploration

Storyteller: Jerry Kuns, Retired Technology Trainer and Founder of Jose Can You See

Berkeley Isn't My Usual Topic

A delicate narrative of broad statements and hedged bets

Storyteller: Catherine J. Kudlick, Director, Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability and Professor of History, SFSU

The Students of T22

A self-governing community of blind students isolated from, and at the same time included in, the UC campus community

Storyteller: Judy Wilkinson, Editor of The Blind Californian, a publication of the California Council of the Blind


A Homegrown Revolution

A story of Newel Perry -- his brilliance, insight, and determination

Storyteller: Bryan Bashin, Executive Director, San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

My Father -- One of Perry's Boys

A story of successful escape from Berkeley to a piano shop in Reno, only to be reeled back in

Storyteller: Bill Gerrey, Retired Rehabilitation Engineer

Making Computers Talk

A stroll through Berkeley's contributions to computer accessibility

Storyteller: Marc Sutton, Technology Trainer and Leader by Example

From 6th Street to Shattuck Avenue

The Berkeley Roots of the World's Talking ATMs

Storyteller: Lainey Feingold, Disability Rights Lawyer and Berkeley resident

Discussion and Dialog with Listeners and Storytellers

The Holman Society, 2015