White Cane Day 2020

October 14, 2020

What is white cane day? White Cane Awareness Day, October 15th of every year since 1964, is a day on which blind/visually impaired people celebrate their ability to travel independently, using a white cane.  

A white cane is a tool that people with significant vision impairment use to familiarize themselves with a particular environment. In 1921 photographer James Biggs, who went blind in an accident, painted his walking stick white, so the was more visible in traffic. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, pressured by the National Federation of the Blind, a blind rights advocacy group, officially designated October 15th as White Cane Day. At the time, this was meant to make people more aware of the need of blind people’s safety when crossing the street. Over time, it became a day to celebrate the independence of blind/visually impaired people because of the white cane. 

My white cane is my eyes. Without it, I am naked. This phrase means I cannot go anywhere without it, just like someone cannot go without glasses. I use it to navigate campus. I use this to stay on the sidewalk, and not run into the buildings or people. Please know that I am not trying to trip you, the cane is in front of me so I do not trip over objects that may be in my path.  Please do not call it a stick; it is called a cane. (And no, it is not just for old people.)  

I feel like the cause of bringing about equality for the blind/visually impaired is unpopular with many people. I do not hear politicians speak about advancing blind independence in school or in the workplace or encouraging blind/visually impaired people to vote for them. You hear so much about the empowerment of women, minorities, and L.G.B.T.Q people, but nothing about the empowerment of blind or visually impaired community. Here at North Port High School on October 15th, with the help of Mr. Johnson I am bringing attention to White Cane Awareness Day.  I will be making an announcement and sharing a brief video on the Bobcat Nation News demonstrating how I get around our beautiful campus.  You can view this during your 1st period class.

Update on White Cane Day!

Those who read the article that I wrote called White Cane Day 2020, from a few weeks ago, I appreciate you reading this article. I hope it has brought awareness to you and your friends about the blind and visually impaired community. I would like to know your thoughts on this article, as well as the announcements on Thursday, October 15th. Would you like me to continue this next year and into the years after I graduate high school? 

If any of your friends have not read the article or did not listen to the morning announcements that day, please share these two things with them so that they know about how to use a cane and what White Cane day means to the blind and visually impaired. Please ask for e-mail information from Mrs. Uecker if you have any comments, questions, or constructive criticism. I would like to know how you feel about the article and am happy to answer any questions you have on the white cane, cane use, and what White Cane Day means to me. 

Here is more information: I have a vision and mobility instructor who works with me on such things as how to use a BrailleNote Touch Plus, a device used to do things like write stories, do worksheets and other assignments, read books, send e-mails, and do much more. I use a computer with a program called JAWS Professional, which reads what is on the screen to me. On the mobility side, we work on campus travel, using a cane, and getting in and out of a car. I also have an aide, as you know or read in the article, who is with me in classes. As you may have learned in the article, she is not there to navigate campus. 

I hope you enjoyed reading the article and are looking forward to next year. I would like to hear from you, so if you ever come across me in the hallway, please give me your phone number so I can reply to your text message. I will give you my phone number as well. I hope you have a great day and do well in classes. 

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