[Ohio-talk] White Cane Safety Day: A Symbol of Independence

Cheryl Fields cherylelaine1957 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 8 20:37:30 UTC 2016

Richard, Thank you for sharing this important and timely message. Have
a great day everyone!
Blessings, Cheryl

On 10/8/16, richard via Ohio-Talk <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> by Marc Maurer
> In February of 1978 a young blind lady said, "I encounter people all of the
> time who bless me, extol my independence, call me brave and courageous, and
> thoroughly miss the boat as to what the real significance of the white cane
> is."
> The National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled on the 6th day
> of July, 1963, called upon the governors of the fifty states to proclaim
> October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day in each of our fifty
> states. 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." This resolution said:
> "Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives", that the President
> is
> hereby authorized to issue annually a proclamation designating October 15
> as
> White Cane Safety Day and calling upon the people of the United States to
> observe such a day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.'
> Within hours of the passage of the congressional joint resolution
> authorizing the President to proclaim October 15 as White Cane Safety Day,
> then President Lyndon B. Johnson recognized the importance of the white
> cane
> as a staff of independence for blind people. In the first Presidential
> White
> Cane Proclamation President Johnson commended the blind for the growing
> spirit of independence and the increased determination to be self-reliant
> that the organized blind had shown. The Presidential proclamation said:
> The white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind
> person's ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy
> and special consideration to the blind on our streets and highways. To make
> our people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the
> need
> for motorists to exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it
> Congress, by a joint resolution approved as of October 6, 1964, has
> authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane
> Safety Day.
> Now, therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of
> America do hereby proclaim October 15, 1964 as White Cane Safety Day.
> With those stirring words President Johnson issued the first White Cane
> Proclamation which was the culmination of a long and serious effort on the
> part of the National Federation of the Blind to gain recognition for the
> growing independence and self-sufficiency of blind people in America, and
> also to gain recognition of the white cane as the symbol of that
> independence and that self-reliance.
> The first of the state laws regarding the right of blind people to travel
> independently with the white cane was passed in 1930. In 1966, Dr. Jacobus
> tenBroek, the founder of the National Federation of the Blind, drafted the
> model White Cane Law. This model act--which has become known as the Civil
> Rights Bill for the Blind, the Disabled, and the Otherwise Physically
> Handicapped-'contains a provision designating October 15 as White Cane
> Safety Day. Today there is a variant of the White Cane Law on the statute
> books of every state in the nation.
> From 1963 (and even before) when the National Federation of the Blind
> sought
> to have White Cane Safety Day proclaimed as a recognition of the rights of
> blind persons, to 1978 when a blind pedestrian met with misunderstanding
> regarding the true meaning of the white cane, is but a short time in the
> life of a movement. In 1963, a comparatively small number of blind people
> had achieved sufficient independence to travel alone on the busy highways
> of
> our nation. In 1978 that number has not simply increased but multiplied a
> hundredfold. The process began in the beginning of the organized blind
> movement and continues today. There was a time when it was unusual to see a
> blind person on the street, to find a blind person working in an office, or
> to see a blind person operating machinery in a factory. This is still all
> too uncommon. But it happens more often and the symbol of this independence
> is the white cane. The blind are able to go, to move, to be, and to compete
> with all others in society. The means by which this is done is that simple
> tool, the white cane. With the growing use of the white cane is an added
> element'-the wish and the will to be free'-the unquenchable spirit and the
> inextinguishable determination to be independent. With these our lives are
> changed, and the prospects for blind people become bright. That is what
> White Cane Safety Day is all about. That is what we do in the National
> Federation of the Blind
> Model White Cane Law <https://nfb.org/model-white-cane-bill>
> Sample White Cane Safety Day Proclamation
> <https://nfb.org/images/mtbm/2013/mtbm%20white%20cane%20proclamation.doc>
> C2016 All Rights Reserved - Copyright 2016 NFB
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