White Cane Day
Tuesday ,October 15th
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind will celebrate nearly 90 years of service to the blind and visually impaired community on National White Cane Day in Miami on Monday, October 15th.
For blind people, the white cane is an essential tool that gives us the ability to achieve a full and independent life. It allows us to move freely and safely from place to place—whether it's at work, at school, or around our neighborhoods.
White Cane Awareness Day is our way of emphasizing the critical role that this tool plays in living the lives we want and informing the public about its true significance. — NFB President Mark A. Riccobono
The History of White Cane Awareness Day
While it was not uncommon throughout history for blind people to use a stick or cane to navigate, society largely didn't accept that blind people could travel by ourselves until recently. In the 1960s, the National Federation of the Blind became a leader in fighting for the rights of the blind and in pioneering innovative training programs using the white cane. At our urging, the United States Congress adopted a joint resolution in 1964 designating October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day and recognizing that white canes enable blind people to travel safely and independently.
While the white cane does keep blind people safe (because drivers and other pedestrians can easily see it), it is also a tool that blind people use to explore and navigate our environment. For this reason, the emphasis of White Cane Safety Day has shifted over time away from safety, and toward independence and equality. We believe that it's important to celebrate this history and recognize the white cane as the tool that allows the blind to "come and go on [our] own" as President Lyndon Johnson said back in 1964.
To emphasize the shift in focus from safety to independence, and to continue to use the white cane as a symbol, we have chosen to refer to this day as White Cane Awareness Day.