White Cane Safety Day, a national observance in the US, is celebrated each year on October 15th. The date is set aside to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired, and to acknowledge the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.
Alice Klein (she/her) created merch on Bonfire for the White Cane Day Walk which took place in Seattle, Washington on White Cane Safety Day (October 15, 2022).
Here is Alice to share more with us about White Cane Safety Day and the White Cane Walk.
“On Saturday, Oct. 15, nearly a hundred people who are blind and visually impaired and their families and friends gathered in Seattle to celebrate White Cane Day with a one-mile walk.
White Cane Walk is a multi-agency endeavor including Washington State Department of Services for the Blind, DeafBlind Service Center, Lighthouse for the Blind, National Federation of the Blind and Washington Council of the Blind and the local Lions Club.
The goal of this collaborative White Cane Walk is to foster communication and awareness about the blindness community of Seattle and surrounding areas.
This merchandise was created for a community walk in Seattle to celebrate White Cane Day, October 15th, 2022.
The design was created by contest winner, Joseph Ressor.”
Image Description: Groovy lettering “White Cane” on the top and “Day” on the bottom splitting the year 2022, The middle of the design depicts the Beatles walking across a crosswalk. 3 of them have white canes and one has a guide dog.
Alice is passionate about raising awareness and helping people learn about white canes. Here is additional information about White Cane Day, and using white canes, that Alice wanted to share with the Bonfire community:
“What is White Cane Day?
On October 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the Congress, HR 753, was signed into law authorizing the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day”. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first White Cane Safety Day proclamation within hours of the passage of the joint resolution.
In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.
While the white cane does keep blind people safe (because drivers and other pedestrians can easily see it), it is also a tool that blind people use to explore and navigate the environment. For this reason, the emphasis of White Cane Safety Day has shifted over time away from safety, and toward independence and equality.
How White Canes Work
Blind people use their senses of hearing and touch to explore and understand the world around them. The white cane allows people to avoid obstacles, find steps and curbs, locate and step over cracks or uneven places in the sidewalk, find doorways, get into cars and buses, and much more.
What to Do When You See Someone Using a White Cane
When you see a blind person using a white cane, remember that the cane is our tool to safely and independently navigate the environment. There’s no need to shout warnings or try to physically steer them so that our canes won’t bump into things. Remember that they are using their canes to explore what is around them. If they need any help or direction, they will ask.”