White Cane Safety Day recognizes blindness, brings united vision – Hamilton County Reporter – readthereporter.com


By JAMES MICHAELS
Guest Columnist
Each year on Oct. 15, White Cane Safety Day recognizes the abilities of people who are blind or visually impaired and reminds us that creating equal opportunities in America involves including them as well.
In 1964, White Cane Safety Day became a national observance after the United States Congress adopted a joint resolution. Initially, this day was meant to recognize the safety white canes provided people with vision loss. However, throughout the years, emphasis has shifted from celebrating safety toward celebrating independence and equality, which is why White Cane Safety Day is now commonly known as White Cane Awareness Day or White Cane Day.
Having sight is often taken for granted, but nearly 2.2 billion people globally – and almost 160,000 in Indiana – are affected by some form of vision loss. Through the use of a white cane, many people can achieve independence in their everyday lives. White canes allow people with vision loss to experience the world in a way that they wouldn’t be able to without it. It allows us to assess a situation, to locate doorways, curbs, obstacles in the road, get into cars, and much more.
Join Bosma in celebrating White Cane Safety Day, not just on Oct. 15 but every day. As our community works to create an inclusive, welcoming society, let us remember all the diverse populations who make up Indiana. Don’t know anyone with vision loss? Bosma has many volunteer opportunities for you to get involved.
For example, you can help out at our special events or share your time and talents with seniors or others who have lost their sight. We also have a job training program and could use your help with mock interviews so our clients can learn business skills. Whatever you choose, you will enrich their lives and yours.
During the month of October, you could make a gift to support our vision rehabilitation programs, which provide statewide training to help people with vision loss gain independence. The training includes how to properly use and navigate with a white cane allowing a person with vision loss to be independent.
Other ways to recognize White Cane Safety Day are to stop at least five feet from a crosswalk, or for Twitter users, help boost awareness through the hashtags #NationalWhiteCaneSafetyDay and #WhiteCaneDay.
Whatever you choose, you are taking the first step in building a truly equitable and inclusive society. White Cane Safety Day is only the beginning to creating a broader vision for the community by including people who are blind or visually impaired.
James Michaels serves as the Vice President of Program Services at the Bosma Center for Visionary Solutions. Learn more at bosma.org.
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