[Nfbmo] Walk-a-thon sheds light on blind issues

Gary Wunder GWunder at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 10 01:48:13 UTC 2017

Way to go, Jeff City. We are on the move.

-----Original Message-----
From: Nfbmo [mailto:nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Daniel Garcia via
Sent: Monday, October 09, 2017 3:52 PM
To: NFB of Missouri Mailing List (nfbmo at nfbnet.org)
Cc: Daniel Garcia
Subject: [Nfbmo] Walk-a-thon sheds light on blind issues

I am posting this article as is, errors and all


More than a dozen people walked around McKay Park on Sunday to raise money
and draw attention to issues faced by the blind.

The 30th annual National Federation of the Blind Walk-a-thon featured blind
people, along with family/friends, food and lots of walking. Some walked up
to 30 laps around McKay Lake, about 18 miles.

Part of the goal of the event is to have the public "realize blindness
doesn't define who we are. There are lots of obstacles and the federation
works to remove obstacles so that blind people can reach their goals and
live the lives they want," said Shelia Wright, president of the National
Federation of the Blind of Missouri.

Melissa Cain, the local NFB chapter president, said the walk-a-thon is in
October, the same month as Meet the Blind Month, which encourages people to
meet those who are blind to learn about blindness.

The walk is also near White Cane Safety Day, Oct. 15. That day is to remind
drivers to pay attention to blind people, who often use white canes to
navigate while walking.

One problem for blind people is with newer hybrid or electric cars that make
less noise than traditional vehicles. For blind people,hearing is important
when walking, especially at crosswalks or other areas where vehicles are

After considerable efforts, the NFB and others advocating for the blind
convinced Congress to approve the Pedestrian Enhancement Safety Act.

Gary Wilbers of the Columbia NFB chapter said the law requires vehicles
traveling less than 20 mph to make a certain whirling sound to alert blind
people to their presence.

The law was opposed initially by automakers, who strive to make vehicles as
quiet as possible, and by environmentalists who don't want noise pollution.

The law was approved in 2011 and signed by President Barack Obama. But
drafting the regulations, which determines the details of the law, hasn't
happened until recently.

Wilbers expects automakers to start incorporating the changes into their
2019 vehicles.

Cain said that's just one area in which the NFB hopes to create more
understanding on the issue of blindness.

"We encourage people to ask questions," she said. "It's not going to offend

"So next time they can be more comfortable. That's part of our awareness and
increasing understanding."

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