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September 30, 2010
Call for Nominations: ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities' 2011 Thurgood Marshall Award Offers Opportunity to Promote Access to eLaw Resources for Everyone
The Thurgood Marshall Award recognizes long-term contributions to the furtherance of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States. Past recipients include such distinguished men and women as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Fred D. Gray, the Honorable Abner J. Mikva, and Stephen B. Bright. The award will be presented at a dinner on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, during the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada. The deadline to submit nomination materials is Friday, October 1, 2010.
- More information about the award
- The nomination form which should be submitted electronically to irr(at)abanet.org
Who would I nominate? Ray Kurzweil; it's a no-brainer although it may be too law librarian-ish to get the recognition Ray deserves. As CEO of Kurzweil Technologies, Ray has been an innovator and pioneer in assistive technologies for 30 years. The inventor of the first print-to-speech reading machine for the disabled, Ray just keeps focused on the task at hand as the publishing landscape changes. Now there's Blio for eBooks, by K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc., joint venture between Kurzweil Technologies and the National Federation of the Blind.
If not the ABA, perhaps AALL? Now, if only we can get our major legal vendors on board to provide access for everyone. In this day and age, the technological solutions are readily available to provide electronic delivery of primary and secondary legal resources in formats convenient and practicable for use directly to individuals with disabilities as easily as they are provided to individuals without disabilities.
The current state of affairs and the current conduct of vendor business ought not be tolerated one minute longer. If we are truly advocates of access, we should be making this a top priority. I speak from professional and personal experience because my personal attorney is blind so I know the hoops he has to jump through just to obtain usable legal resources to practice his chosen profession. [JH]