Why is World White Cane Day Celebrated? History, Significance and Celebrations

WORLD WHITE CANE DAY 2022: A person carrying a white cane with a red end or tip is instantly recognisable almost everywhere as someone with visual impairment. The cane is a tool that helps blind people navigate on roads. However, the cane is more than just a stick used to facilitate movement. It signifies freedom, independence, and inclusivity. Keeping that in mind, World White Cane Day is observed on October 15 every year, to celebrate everything that the tool signifies.

World White Cane Day: Significance

The white cane’s significance as an important mobility tool is widely-known. But what the cane also signifies is the independence of visually impaired people. It serves as a symbol of freedom as it enables people to complete their tasks by themselves and boosts their confidence.

In addition, the white cane also highlights the sensitivity of society towards the needs of visually impaired people. This stems from the fact that the introduction of the white cane in the US in the 1930s helped people recognise blind individuals walking on the streets and be more careful towards them.

World White Cane Day: History

World White Cane Day, also known as White Cane Safety Day, was first observed in the US in 1964 by President Lyndon B Johnson. This maiden celebration followed the fight for the rights of all visually impaired people that the National Federation of the Blind initiated in the 1960s. NFB had developed programs to train blind people using the white cane.

Several decades later, in 2011, then US President Barack Obama anointed the day as Blind Americans Equality Day. The day is now celebrated all across the globe. It recognises and highlights the movement of visually impaired people from a state of dependency to active social participation. It also marks the achievements and contributions of blind people in a variety of fields.

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World White Cane Day: Celebrations

To celebrate the day, individuals can conduct activities (such as white cane walks, film screenings, awareness programs, etc.) in their local communities. Spreading awareness through social media using popular hashtags- for instance, #WhiteCaneAwarenessDay or #WhiteCaneSafetyDay- also serves the cause. Awareness campaigns can include sensitivity and education drives, especially concerning the treatment of blind people and the significance of eye donation.

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