White Cane Safety Day is a national observance in the United States celebrated every year on October 15. The date is set aside to honor the accomplishments of people who are blind or visually impaired. A white cane is an essential tool of independence. Apart from this, the day stresses the challenges visually impaired people face in their daily lives. A white cane tool is a sign of blindness, the user's skills and talents, and mobility. Throughout the world, people use this tool for safety and reliable navigation. Using this device, the senses of a person get extended as they can determine steps, unlevel pavement, and obstacles.
To get involved and show some support, read this article carefully. This article will take you through the White Cane Safety Day celebration and much more.
White Cane Safety Day History
Traveling aids for people with visual impairment like canes, sticks, etc., have been on the market for a long time. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that white canes got popular and became a symbol of awareness.
If we look at history, it is said that the concept of white canes originated with James Biggs, a Bristol-based photographer. In 1921, Biggs got involved in an accident that left him blind. To deal with it and be safe on the road, he decided to paint his cane white and make it more visible to motorists and other pedestrians. This is how the white cane was invented, but it never became a nationwide symbol then.
After a few years in the United States, Lions Clubs International came up with the idea of distributing white canes to the visually impaired. Further, on October 6, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson and the U.S. Congress signed a joint agreement and proclaimed that October 15 would be celebrated as White Cane Safety Day.
Why celebrate the White Cane Safety Day?
- There are millions of visually impaired people
It is estimated that there are millions of people in the world who are dealing with visual impairment. Tackling this issue seriously has now become the need of the hour. With this in mind, the White Cane Safety Day celebration is observed every year.
- The White Cane Safety Day Symbolizes Independence
White Cane Safety Day is a symbol of independence for the blind. This day calls for spreading awareness and educating people about the importance and use of this tool so that more visually impaired people can use it and embrace independence.
- It Is A Reminder To Help Visually Impaired People
Although helping disabled people is not just a matter of one day, the awareness day works as a reminder to constantly reach out to people who might need help. It is an opportunity to take the first step towards helping visually impaired people and assist them in everyday life.
- Lack Of Access To White Cane
Even though the number of visually impaired patients is high worldwide, there are still many who don't have access to a white cane and know its importance. Such people find it difficult to perform daily tasks and are dependent on others. This makes the White Cane Safety Day celebration a perfect opportunity to spread the word about this tool and how it can change lives.
Facts To Know For White Cane Safety Day Celebration
- Only 2-8% of visually impaired people actually use a white cane. The rest are dependent on a sighted guide or a guide dog.
- Honking on blind people is never a good idea as they get confused about the direction where the sound comes from and become startled by the noise.
- Carrying white cane in some states is considered illegal. These canes are only to be used by people who are partially or fully blind. If a person is not legally visually impaired, then carrying a white cane might be considered an offense.
- There are two different types of canes. One is used for navigation and the other as physical support.
- The white canes that have a red stripe indicate that the person holding them has deafblindness.
White Cane Safety Day celebration Ideas
Simply Stop Your Vehicle & Wait
One of the simplest and most important ways to celebrate White Cane Safety Day is by stopping your vehicle whenever you see a visually impaired person moving or crossing the road. They are often seen with a white cane or led by a guide dog. In such scenarios, make sure you stop at least 5-6 feet away from pedestrians.
Distributing White Canes
Nothing can be better than giving out white canes to people who are in need as a part of your White Cane Safety Day celebration. Despite the high number of visually impaired people, many of them do not possess white cane and find it challenging to manage daily tasks. This is why, on this day, get some white canes and distribute them.
Assisting Those Who Need Help
White Cane Safety Day celebration is a perfect opportunity to help those who actually need some guidance or support. You can simply do this by extending your hand to any visually impaired person who is struggling with crossing the street or doing some other stuff.
Educating People About White Crane
It is rightly said, “Education is the most powerful weapon.” Hence, on the occasion of White Cane Safety Day, make sure you spare some time and make people aware of white cane laws. Making people learn these laws will help them make the most of their rights. You can either do this by conducting seminars or talking to people face-to-face.
Volunteer For The Blind Schools Or Organizations
There are several schools and organizations that deal directly with visually impaired persons. With the help of such organizations, you can assist, educate, or support them. You can host seminars in schools or workplaces and make everyone learn about the rights and responsibilities and how they can help people with this disability. By doing so, you can make a larger population aware in less time.
Always remember, “There’s so much more than a person can do to make a difference in society.” So, this year, make sure you come forward and take part in the White Cane Safety Day celebration.
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