This is a transcript for the Making a Braille Note Accessible | Haben Girma x Stephen Curry video.
Mariella Paulino: Hello everyone. So July is Disability Pride Month and we hope you are celebrating just as much as we are with the Knowbility team. So yesterday, while scrolling through the interwebs of social media, we came across this post on Instagram from the incredible Haben Girma.
In it, she writes, Stephen Curry sent me a card and a hoodie. I'm thrilled my book, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law, is in your book club. Thank you, Stephen Curry. Can we also talk about sending a blind author a card without Braille?
In the photo, I'm holding a card that says, Haben, we are honored to be a part of sharing Haben with the world. As a token of our excitement, we wanted to send you a little gift. Welcome to the Underrated family. Hashtag StayUnderrated, StephenCurry's signature.
She continues, I can take a picture with my phone and have an app read it to me, but I love paper Braille. It's truly underrated. A slate and stylus, a Perkins, an embosser, or one of the Braille companies could put Braille on a card.
Because I was afraid of seeming disrespectful, I grew up just saying thank you to gift-givers who overlooked my disability. A gift, accessible or not, is still a gift. But I now know it's possible to express gratitude while also teaching someone about accessibility.
Photo description, I'm wearing a black hoodie with the book club's name, Underrated, on the left side. I'm smiling and holding up the card. A dark brown fence is in the background. Hashtag DisabilityPrideMonth, Hashtag Braille, Hashtag Blind, Hashtag AuthorLife, and hashtag HabenBook.
And so we have a lot of opinions here. And before we go on, let us introduce ourselves. So I want to introduce you to the organization that is sponsoring today's video, Knowbility, a nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas.
We are an award-winning leader in accessible information technology. Through accessibility, and usability testing, and auditing at Knowbility, we work to make the future more accessible to people with disabilities. And I want to go ahead and introduce Anthony Vasquez, the communications specialist.
So Anthony, I'm going to have you introduce us to some of the best practices guidelines, which I forgot to do like audio description. So go ahead and take it away.
Anthony Vasquez: Okay. Hello, I am Anthony Vasquez. I am a communication specialist with Knowbility. I'm sitting in a room herein a black office chair, I'm wearing a gray Nike hoodie, and wearing studio headphones, and holding a Perkins Brailler to the camera.
Mariella Paulino: Thank you, Anthony. So I will follow in your footsteps, and go ahead and introduce myself, and do the audio description. So I am wearing a power red jacket. I have blonde braids and I am a tanned woman of Hispanic complexion.
In my background, I am sitting in a bright colored common area space. There are flowers and bookshelves. I love this space, and the space is very bright.
So let's go into some of the tools that we would love to introduce to the Stephen Curry team. We wrote this letter to the Stephen Curry team, and in that letter, we talked about how we are offering three different solutions. The first solution is the one I'm about to talk in just a moment.
So last night when I saw this message, the first thing I did was go on YouTube, and I came across a video that shows how to write a letter without a Braille slate, which is going to be one of the tools that Anthony is going to be talking about in just one moment.
So this video talked about how if you want to print a Braille letter, all you need are a few items. You need paper, you need a printer, any printer will do. You need a needle, and you need something to kind of like press against, and then finally you need a pen.
So how I was able to create this letter is that I went to an English to Braille translator. Once I got the translation, I did a screenshot of the translation and pasted that into a Word document. I took the Word document and I printed it into your average letter sized paper and printed it just as I would any other item.
After that was done, I took that piece of paper and the dots that were marked in black. I, by the way, I used a piece of paper that was a little bit heavier than the average letter paper, because I wanted to be able to poke through the paper and not have the paper turning to mush.
So this is a bit on the heavier side of paper. So then I took the pen and I pressed against all of the black dots, lightly enough to not poke a hole through the paper. And then I flipped the paper over, I had these dots that made indenture on the white paper, and then I took a needle, and then I pressed from the back of the page.
The reason for that is that once you poke the hole in the paper, you want the bumps to come up towards the reader. And because Braille, as I’ve learned in the last 12 hours, is read left to right, top to bottom. Anthony, correct me if I’m wrong in any of this.
But anyway, I indented the paper from the back and that I am hoping will be readable to someone that is blind. Now, I don't know Braille. And unfortunately, I don’t have Anthony right next to me to tell me if I did a good job or not.
So this is going to be one of the simplest, most free ways that you can get a Braille letter. So one of the things I also did in the letter was that I took the hashtags and I did the same thing from the back, so it looks like it's embossed with the hashtag and the parentheses that were in Haben Girma's letter.
So that is the first solution, and now we have Anthony who is going to talk about the second solution that we want to present to the Stephen Curry team. So Anthony, take it away.
Anthony Vasquez: So I was born blind, started learning Braille when I was four. So stuff is like second nature to me. I have here a Perkins Brailler. It's a giant typewriter-like device. Holding it to the camera now.
That's the view from the back. Gonna’ rotate it to the front and you see all these cool keys. You've got the six keys that correspond to Braille dots, the space bar, a backspace, and a line feed. And that's really it.
It's a very cool machine and I can show you how it works. You type on it. So, for example, if I were to send a friend a letter, a friend who reads Braille, I would use this to type it out. The first technique works though.
I have a friend who made a card for me this way. I don't know if she watched that specific video, what technique, but it was pretty cool. And again, to get a gift like that is actually a neat touch. I would have been happy if it were a card without Braille, but I don't know, it's like icing on the cake, you know?
So I can just type a little bit here. [Brailler clacking] There we go, kind of just moving along. [Brailler clacking] And then I will show you what I've written.
Mariella Paulino: So you're typing just like a typewriter.
Anthony Vasquez: It is a typewriter. Basically, it does, it's got the carriage, which I'll hold up to the screen. The carriage, you know, through cool mechanisms I don't fully understand, punches the Braille dots from below, and you can see it there.
I can actually feed it out a bit. I don't know if the camera’s capturing the dots there, but that's what I've written in those few seconds. Should I center it more? How are we doing there?
Mariella Paulino: I think I saw it when you were turning the--
Anthony Vasquez: Yeah, it was probably also hard.
Mariella Paulino: Like it raised the dots just as if I was kind of like pressing with a needle through them.
Anthony Vasquez: And this is heavier stock paper. The Braille paper that most people use is it feels like letter stock, actually. It's quite thick. I'm kind of tapping it now, kinda’ get a feel for it. And all I wrote here was, hello, exclamation point. This is the beginning.
So just very quick to show you how it works, but this is how, I mean, I learned math by typing with this kind of typewriter, I've, you know, typed essays, and so the way that you would type Braille on a slate and stylus is you would feed a piece of paper and it could be any kind of paper in this device.
It's a little, it's basically like a foldable piece of plastic with hinges. You put the Braille paper or any paper there, you clamp it shut, and then you would start pressing in on these little grooves to make the corresponding letters.
And that's the way that, you know, Braille, Louis Braille invented the code back in the 1800s. Something like that. Perkins, this typewriter did not exist.
Mariella Paulino: That is so cool. That is so cool. And I'm so happy that at Knowbility we are really making a commitment to make the future accessible now. We've presented quite a few options to the Stephen Curry team, and really anyone who is giving a gift to someone with a vision disability, right Anthony?
I mean, like anyone who is gift giving someone a gift and this individual has a vision disability of any type, it's always a good practice to make sure that the gift you're giving is accessible.
So these are some do-it-yourself tools, but we also want to talk about three other tools that you can use to create accessible products. One of them is the Lighthouse for the Blind, San Francisco. So Anthony, do you want to tell us a little bit about that organization?
Anthony Vasquez: It came to mind again, you know, the Warriors being in Oakland, you know, San Francisco right across the bay there. So, you know, tons of nonprofits like the LightHouse, you know, employ blind people.
So I think it'd be an easy shot to just hit them up and ask for help. Hey, I've got this card, can y'all help me make it accessible? And yeah, that's kinda my approach. If I lived, you know, if I were doing this down here in Los Angeles, didn't have access to a Braille typewriter, stylus, anything like that, I would try to find the nearest nonprofit. Lighthouse SF came to mind because it's local.
Mariella Paulino: awesome, thank you, Anthony. Two other organizations that we want to let people know about today are Access-USA and Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. So these are two additional organizations, including the Lighthouse for the Blind, San Francisco, which is local.
With that said, we want to close out and thank all of you for watching this video. Remember, we are all responsible for creating a future that is accessible, and we all have a responsibility to create that future. So, Anthony, do you have any closing thoughts for whoever is watching this video before we officially close out?
Anthony Vasquez: I'd say, you know, gifts are great, accessible gifts are better. It's like the icing on the cake.
Mariella Paulino: 100%. So if you are watching this video, we encourage you to join and subscribe to our YouTube. Lots of really great content. We are also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. So connect with us.
And then finally, if you liked this video and you want to see more like it, make sure that you donate to our mission by joining us at www.bit.ly/donateknowbility.
Anthony Vasquez: Thank you.
Mariella Paulino: Okay, thank you, bye bye.