Promoting blindness awareness for 2010 White Cane Safety Day at Houston’s Discovery Green October 15th
On October 15th, Houston will celebrate White Cane Day at Discovery Green (1500 McKinney St.). The march, which is open to both blind and sighted people, will begin at 10 AM sharp at the corner of Main and McKinney. Activities to follow include live music from a band, a DJ (which happens to be my vocational rehabilitation teacher [VRT]/Braille instructor), proclamation, a poetry reading, and community resources exhibits–all of which will either be for or by visually impaired individuals.
White Cane Safety Day was first observed in 1964 after a proclamation by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The purpose of the first Safety Day was to promote courtesy and special consideration for those who are blind. Over the 40+ years, it has evolved into a celebration of the blind’s independence and their right to participate fully in society. As an effective tool for mobility, the white cane symbolizes independence for the blind. Since its inception, White Cane Day has promoted safety and awareness for blind people.
All U.S. states have their own white cane laws which not only address pedestrian safety but, more importantly, guarantee civil rights protection. Texas law also states that people who use guide dogs have equal access to all public places.
While White Cane Days are taking place all over the state since October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Houston will hold theirs next Friday. DARS is teaming up with Texas Rehab ACTiion Network (TRAN) to host the second annual event. I didn’t get a chance to attend last year even though I was invited to speak at the event (partly due to a busy schedule, mostly due to stage fight). So this year, I will definitely attend in order to support the cause. If you happen to be nearby, I urge you to come out even if you’re a sighted person. It might be an interesting experience to march blindfolded with a cane like the rest of us.