Access Press has news of our own! Learn about our new website and hear other plans for the future. Access Press Presents: Digital Transformation.
The virtual free event is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 15. It’s a chance for readers old and new to catch up with Access Press staff and board members. It’s also an opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation to Minnesota’s disability news source. Event sponsors are needed. Contact Executive Director Holly Anderson at 651-644-2133 ext. 3 or [email protected]
Get the event link here.
“We are really excited to have this opportunity to present this type of program to the community and for everyone to show their commitment to Access Press,” said Joel Ulland, Access Press board chair.
The event will feature Belo Miguel Cipriani, a digital inclusion strategist who became passionate about making online spaces accessible after a tragedy. In 2007, Cipriani was blinded as a result of being attacked by a group of men in San Francisco’s Castro District. He sustained irreparable retinal nerve damage after receiving multiple facial blows.
After the attack Cipriani, a former systems engineer and technical recruiter, began to use various assistive technologies for people with visual disabilities. JAWS (Jobs Access With Speech) utilizes synthesized speech and Braille to allow users to read information as it is displayed on a computer screen.
He also uses a digital recorder to document his thoughts and an application that reads back to him what he is typing on his laptop. With the use of assistive technology, Cipriani has been able to reinvent himself as a writer and digital access consultant.
Through his digital access consulting firm, Oleb Media, Cipriani has helped countless organizations including Access Press build inclusive websites and apps. HuffPost referred to him as an “Agent of Change,” and SF Weekly named him one of the best disability advocates.
In 2018 Cipriani founded the publishing house Oleb Books, which focuses on publishing writers with disabilities. His own books and articles on disability issues have received numerous awards and international recognition. His debut book, Blind: A Memoir, was released in 2011. The non-fiction memoir that chronicles the events surrounding the attack and his recovery. The memoir received the LGBT Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention in 2012 for Best Debut Novel and Best Non-Fiction, and also received an honorable mention from the Eric Hoffer Book Awards.
Cipriani is a longtime columnist and talk show host, who has focused on both career advice and on his life as a gay blind man in San Francisco. In 2017 “Seeing in the Dark,” a monthly Bay Area Reporter column, received an honorable mention from the Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability. He also has hosted weekly talk show segment where he shared tips and advice on career moves.
He has worked as a writer-in-residence, lecturer and teacher. In 2018 Cipriani joined the community faculty at Metropolitan State University in the Twin Cities where he teaches creative writing.
He is a sought-after speaker and is an equal rights advocate for the LGBT, disabled, and BIPOC communities.
Former Congressman Tony Coelho, a primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), called Cipriani an important voice in disability writing.
In 2020, he was appointed by Gov. Tim Walz to the Minnesota Council on Disability.
Cipriani holds a Bachelor of Science degree in information systems from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California in 2001. He returned to the university to study with Jacqueline Berger and fiction writer, Kerry Dolan, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2010.
He also received a Master of Arts degree in culture and spirituality from Holy Names University in 2012, and a Doctor of Education in organizational leadership from University of the Pacific in 2019.