Established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, White Cane Day highlights the white cane on Oct. 15 as a symbol of independence and empowerment because it assists visually impaired people with traveling on their own.
Each year, the Austin community comes together at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) for a celebratory White Cane Day event to acknowledge the abilities of people who are blind and visually impaired and to promote equal opportunities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will be hosted virtually on Zoom and is open to the public from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. on Oct. 13.
Gov. Greg Abbott issues a proclamation each year to commemorate the observance of White Cane Day in Texas. Celebration of White Cane Day is vital to recognizing the achievements of people who are blind and visually impaired.
Mary Cowart, TSBVI White Cane Day coordinator, said it’s empowering for those who attend the event.
“Lots of love is shared that day, and it’s super peaceful,” Cowart said. “It’s good exposure. Blind folks are just like everyone else, they just do it a little differently. We’re trying to educate folks about White Cane Day, and it was created to open and brighten people’s awareness of white canes. It used to be just for safety but has evolved over the years to a celebration of blindness and visual impairment.”
The HHSC Blind Children’s Program is a partner in the event. Interim Deputy Associate Commissioner of Rehabilitative and Independence Services Keisha Rowe will be providing remarks on behalf of HHSC.
“White Cane Day is an important celebration and an amazing opportunity to focus on bringing awareness about visual impairments and blindness,” Rowe said. “This year, we are excited to have members of the Rehabilitative and Independence Services team share their stories about what it means to have blind independence. These team members embody and represent the best that Texas has to offer and demonstrate the myriad of accomplishments of people who are blind.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler and other local leaders will also provide remarks.
For the Zoom link and more information about attending, visit the White Cane Day webpage.
In addition to the Austin event, White Cane Day virtual events will be held in other Texas cities. Envision Dallas will host a virtual event on Oct. 14 from 10–11:30 a.m. where Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson will provide remarks. To RSVP, call 214-420-9411 or email Blake Lindsay.
The Greater Houston Disability Chamber of Commerce will host a virtual program on Oct. 15 from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and a virtual resource fair from 1–3 p.m. The event will feature a mayoral proclamation, guest speakers and more. To register for the event, visit the event webpage.