The white cane was introduced in the 1930s as an aid to independent travel. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson established White Cane Safety Day to enable blind people to “come and go safely on their own.” The Braille Institute in Los Angeles explains the law and has safety tips for people who are sighted, including “Stop your car at least 5ft. from a crosswalk.” The National Federation of the Blind notes that “the emphasis has shifted over time away from safety, and toward independence and equality,” so the day is now promoted as White Cane Awareness Day. NFB chapters host white cane events as part of NFB’s Meet the Blind Month campaign. Find downloadable proclamations for local government and a list of local chapter activities like a virtual talent show (complete with clogging tutorial) at Meet the Blind Month.
Giving Back: White Canes for the Holidays
Last December, Cameron Evans , a 17-year-old from Magna, Utah, donated 100 white canes to his alma mater, the Utah School for the Blind. For his Eagle Scout project, Cameron, who mainstreams at his local school after learning the skills he needed at USB, collected donations and worked with Amazon to purchase canes at discounted prices through Ambutech. Ryan Green, the school’s director, noted ““The school deeply appreciates this generous donation as white canes are vital for our students who are blind or visually impaired. We are proud of Cameron for achieving this goal.”