CLEVELAND, Ohio — Blindness doesn’t stop Ivory Pattilo from living the life that he wants to live.

What You Need To Know

  • The National Federation of the Blind is scheduled to hold a convention for Ohio affiliates starting Nov. 4

  • Ivory Pattilo hopes the convention discusses parental rights

  • It's an issue he says concern many members

“I prefer to make notes in braille,” Pattilo said.

Using his braille typewriter, Patillo wrote down important information about an upcoming state convention for Ohio affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind. He plans to attend.

“Well, [we’re] celebrating Blind Equality [Achievement Month],” Pattilo said.

Beginning on Friday, Nov. 4, Pattilo said state chapter members are scheduled to gather and discuss ways that the community can live more independent lives.

“We have that motto, ‘Live the life you want to live,’” Pattilo said. “You know, so you can be free to operate and function as a visually impaired and blind person.”

Pattilo added that he hopes the convention will include a major discussion about Senate Bill 202. The bill would "prohibit disability from being used to deny or limit" a person’s right to parent. 

“We don't want them stepping in and taking control of our parenting rights, trying to remove the children from us, because we have a visual problem,” Pattilo said.

Pattilo said members of the federation have gone down to Columbus to advocate for the right for people with disabilities to raise their own kids.

“I mean we are capable of making children, creating children, we can also be capable of rearing them,” Pattilo said.

Raising kids is something Pattilo said gives him joy. He has four kids of his own.

“It’s fun," he said. "I like children. I used to do daycare years ago. So, it's nice working with children.”

Pattilo said he ultimately hopes that his work betters the lives of other visually impaired individuals. 

“Vision-impaired people want to be recognized, as you all, as regular citizens of this state, city, country,” Pattilo said.

If you're interested in learning more about the state convention, please visit the federation's website.