The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has presented $50,000 in cash awards to individuals and organizations that are a positive force in the lives of blind people and whose work advances the goal of helping transform their dreams into reality. The twelfth annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards honored five innovators, including San Antonio photographer and author Michael Nye, who are helping blind people live the lives they want
An award of $15,000 was presented to Michael Nye, a San Antonio-based artist and documentarian. Mr. Nye created the book and art exhibit My Heart Is Not Blind, which educates the public about blindness through portraits, text, and audio interviews about the lives of forty-six blind and low-vision individuals. My Heart Is Not Blind, published by Trinity University Press, is a collection of stunning portraits of blind and visually impaired people. Each image is accompanied by an intimate story told by the subject concerning his or her experiences and unique perspective. The exhibition of photographs, along with audio interviews, opened in 2019 at the Witte Museum and will be traveling nationally.
“Michael created something that is very powerful and that asks us to imagine visual perception in ways we normally don’t conceive,” said Tom Payton, director of Trinity University Press, publisher of the book. “Viewers and readers will come away from the project with a heightened understanding of what perception means.”
Dr. Jacob W. Bolotin (1888-1924) was the world’s first physician who was blind from birth. He achieved that goal despite the tremendous challenges faced by blind people in his time. Not only did he realize his own dream, but he also went on to support and inspire many others.
“Dr. Jacob Bolotin was a pioneer who overcame low expectations and discrimination to become a renowned member of the medical profession without the benefit of the support services and civil rights protections available to blind people today,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “The National Federation of the Blind is proud to honor the memory and spirit of Dr. Bolotin by recognizing and financially supporting those individuals and organizations who are doing exceptional work to help.”
Other recipients include Blindconnect of Las Vegas, Nevada, for its training facility Angela’s House, Libra Robinson of Washington, DC, for her outstanding leadership of NSight VIP Services, The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) for its National Fitness Challenge, and Bristol Braille Technology.