October 15th is White Cane Safety Day

Did you know that October 15th is White Cane Safety Day? This is an annual holiday proclaimed by President Lyndon Johnson on October 15, 1064 and it has been celebrated every year since. This is a day to recognize the blind and their strive for independence in their lives. Do you know anyone who is visually impaired? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be blind and how this would hinder your independence?

This is a day to recognize and celebrate the many achievements of the blind and otherwise visually impaired. The holiday got its name from the white canes that the blind once used to travel from place to place. People with vision problems have been striving toward more independence for many generations. It started with the cane and now many visually-impaired people are capable of living on their own and leading perfectly normal lives without their eyesight.

Due to technological advancements, many visually impaired people have other methods of getting around instead of the white cane but it is still an important symbol in the blind community. This was an important symbol of their independence. From canes to Seeing Eye dogs, Braille and more, visually impaired people now have more opportunities than they previously faced. They are better capable of doing things on their own, taking care of themselves and dressing themselves, holding jobs, building careers and making social relationships.

What are some ways that you can celebrate this day and recognize someone who is blind in your life? One factor that complicates blindness even more than the condition itself is the reaction others have to it. Unknowing, well-meaning people may offend or even hinder a blind person. For example, have you ever seen someone shout when talking to a blind person? It’s their sight that is gone, not their hearing. This is a great way to learn more about the condition of blindness and how you can respectfully treat someone who is blind.

If you don’t know anyone who is blind, there are still things you can do to celebrate this sometimes overlooked holiday. Helping Hands for the Blind is a great organization that helps both blind people and those that know them, live with them and work with them. This organization is all about helping blind people become more independent by things such as teaching them to read Braille, teaching seeing people how to properly interact with non-seeing people and so much more.

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