Wikipedia turned 20 today and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) marked the occasion with an interview of one of Wikipedia’s longtime administrators, the current chairman of the American Solidarity Party and longtime friend of IPR, Dr. Skylar Covich.
According to AFB, Covich, who was born blind, has edited Wikipedia since 2003 when he was still in high school. He eventually became an administrator and earned a Political Science doctorate in 2017 from UC Santa Barbara. Two years later he co-founded the WikiBlind User Group, which helps blind users edit Wikimedia Projects like Wikipedia.
To AFB, Covich remarked:
What we [at the WikiBlind User Group] would like to do is to provide trainings so that blind people can start editing — and not only Wikipedia, but other Wiki projects as well, I’m especially interested in spreading the word about blind people and the free knowledge movement and providing some trainings to anyone who’s interested.
I definitely hope to continue to improve articles myself and to be an advocate for accessibility, to get more involved with relations with the Wikimedia foundation that runs the site, to make some accessibility improvements. We want to hear more from people who are more involved on the ground right now in Wikipedia as well.
The article notes the WikiBlind User Group is holding a Zoom conference today to mark Wikipedia’s 20th birthday. According to the site linked, the conference is scheduled to run from 3 pm to 6 pm Pacific time.
AFB does not mention that Covich is currently chairman of the American Solidarity Party. According to his bio on the party’s official site:
Skylar Covich is an academic political scientist who has conducted research on the influence of American Christian organizations on economic policies, and on past efforts to build socially conservative, economically progressive movements. He earned his BA in politics from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2009 and his doctorate in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2017. Totally blind since birth, he was involved in on-campus activities related to the labor movement, the pro-life movement and accessibility for the disabled. Upon finding the American Solidarity Party in 2016, he eagerly took the opportunity to put insights from his research into practice for an organization which matched his values. He assisted with ballot access and write-in vote counting research for the Maturen-Munoz presidential campaign, along with the party’s efforts to gain media coverage and active state chapters. He took a leading position in the party’s California chapter, which ran several candidates for the June 2018 Top Two primary elections including Brian Carroll for Congress and Desmond Silveira for governor.
Dr. Covich lives with his wife in Ventura, California. He teaches university level political science courses and sings in the choir of his Catholic parish.