On October 15, White Cane Safety Day is observed around the world.
In the United States, it is a national observance, which was first celebrated in 1964, after the proclamation by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
White Cane Safety Day celebrates the achievements of blind or visually impaired people. A white cane is an important mobility tool for such people as well as the symbol of their independence. Canes have been used by blind people for centuries, but the white cane was introduced in the early 20th century. Canes were painted white to be more easily visible.
In the United States, white canes were introduced and promoted by Lion Clubs International. There are different types of the white cane such as long cane (also known as Hoover cane), guide cane, identification cane (symbol cane), support cane, and kiddie cane. Not all of them are used as a mobility device. For instance, the ID cane alerts others as to its bearer’s visual impairment but is of no help as a mobility tool.The white cane is one of the symbols of a blind person’s independence at it ensures their ability to come and go on their own. In 2011, President Barak Obama also referred to White Cane Safety Day as Blind Americans Equality Day.
On White Cane Awareness Day, and throughout Meet the Blind Month, members of the National Federation of the Blind conduct activities in their local communities such as white cane walks, film screenings, and social events. To get involved and show support contact them directly for more information.