WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY | OCTOBER 15
National White Cane Safety Day on October 15th annually celebrates the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired. The day marks the importance of recognizing the white cane. The white cane is not only a tool. It also represents the independence of those who are blind worldwide.
This day has been set aside to celebrate all of the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired, and the principal symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.
While technological advancements continue to improve the lives of the blind and visually impaired, the white cane continues to be a basic necessity for leading an independent and productive life. The white cane extends a person’s senses allowing them to determine steps, unlevel pavement, and obstacles. But it also provides a level of safety as a signal to the seeing public. It’s important not to disrupt the path of someone with a white cane or to steer them in another direction. A skilled user allows the cane to find the clearest way.
HOW TO OBSERVE WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY
The best way to provide assistance is by keeping aisles and doorways clear of boxes and other debris is one good first step. However, the day primarily focuses on the independence and equality of those with visual impairments. Their vision shouldn’t be a hindrance to attaining their goals and dreams, and the white cane symbolizes those achievements. Use #WhiteCaneSafetyDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY HISTORY
Following a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress, H.R. 753 became a law on October 6, 1964, authorizing the president to proclaim White Cane Safety Day. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first proclamation for White Cane Safety Day on October 15, 1964.
This day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day in 2011 by President Barack Obama.
There is always so much more one can do to make a difference. For more information regarding White Cane Safety Day from the National Federation of the Blind.
White Cane FAQ
Q. Besides a cane, what other tools do those who are blind utilize?
A. Those with blindness access several tools and resources that improve their independence. For example:
- Guide dogs – These specially-trained dogs respond to commands and recognize obstacles for someone with limited sight.
- Braille – The braille alphabet is read using the tips of our fingers and allows those with limited sight to read books, menus, directions, and more.
- Screen readers – These browser tools allow those with blindness to access websites.