[Nfbc-info] Presidential Proclamation for White Cane Safety Day

Danielsen, Chris CDanielsen at nfb.org
Fri Oct 16 02:43:39 UTC 2009

Dear Fellow Federationists:

Below is the text of this year’s White Cane 
Safety Day proclamation issued by President 
Obama.  As you will read, the proclamation 
highlights the importance of Braille 
literacy.  It is clear that our advocacy on this 
issue is having an impact on policy makers at the 
highest levels of our government.  We continue to 
accomplish great things for blind Americans.  Happy White Cane Safety Day!


Chris Danielsen etc.

White Cane Safety Day, 2009

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

All Americans deserve the freedom to participate 
in every aspect of our society and pursue their 
full measure of happiness.  For blind Americans, 
the white cane is a potent symbol of that 
freedom­affording them greater independence and 
mobility.  Today, we renew our commitment to 
provide full inclusion and equal opportunities 
for those among us who are blind or have low 
vision.  As Americans, we must nurture a society 
that values the unique abilities and individual 
contributions of all its people.

Individuals who are blind or have low vision are 
less constrained and better integrated in our 
country than ever before, but much work remains 
to ensure they have the opportunity to reach 
their full potential.  My Administration is 
committed to securing full and equal access to 
education and employment for blind Americans and 
all those with disabilities.  The American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act substantially 
increased funding for the Individuals with 
Disabilities Education Act, as well as vocational 
rehabilitation services, including job training, education, and placement.

For Americans who are blind or have low vision, a 
white cane is just one of a wide range of tools 
that sustain independence and productivity.  In 
recent years, refreshable Braille displays and 
speech synthesis devices have given these 
individuals access to the Internet, unlocking a 
new frontier of limitless possibility.  As we 
encourage the development of new assistive 
technologies, we must also improve access to 
existing tools.  The Braille code has opened a 
doorway to literacy for countless individuals, 
but far too many blind children in our country 
are not learning to read it.  By improving 
Braille literacy, we will secure a brighter future for these young Americans.

In the 45 years since White Cane Safety Day was 
first proclaimed by President Lyndon Johnson, 
Americans who are blind or have low vision have 
achieved substantial progress.  As leaders in 
government and business, academics, and the arts, 
they have made remarkable contributions to our 
Nation, proving that sight is no requisite for 
success.  We will continue to strive for a more 
just and equitable Nation that celebrates 
diversity in all its forms and promotes the full 
inclusion of all individuals in our communities.

By joint resolution approved on October 6, 1964, 
(Public Law 88-628, as amended), the Congress 
designated October 15 of each year as White Cane 
Safety Day to recognize the contributions of 
Americans who are blind or have low vision.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the 
United States of America, by virtue of the 
authority vested in me by the Constitution and 
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim 
October 15, 2009, as White Cane Safety Day.  I 
call upon all Americans to observe this day with 
appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand 
this fifteenth day of October, in the year of our 
Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence 
of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

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