WASHINGTON (October 15, 2020) — On the 56th commemoration of White Cane Safety Day, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) applauds all those who have advocated for independence through their work to promote the public visibility and equality of people who are blind and visually impaired by lifting up awareness to the meaning and purpose of the white cane.
“It’s important we remind everyone on this day to the continued need to break down barriers of inclusion,” said ACB executive director Eric Bridges. “It’s particularly important at a time in our history when the impact of social distancing has placed a significant burden on the independence of people who are blind and visually impaired.”
The white cane is not only a mobility aid for people who are blind and visually impaired, but it serves as an icon that we are part of society, focusing on our ability rather than our disability. Since Congress first passed the White Cane Safety Day resolution in 1964, advocates have heralded the day as a day of recognition to the power of independence, raising awareness to the power of independence at the same time raising awareness to the need for assuring people who are blind can move freely and safely through our society. The unique constraints the COVID-19 pandemic has created, such as social distancing, amplifies the need to remember there are those in our community who rely on alternative means of mobility, and we have an obligation to assure that such needs and concerns are included as our country works to restore social inclusion for all Americans.
“The coronavirus pandemic has created many new obstacles for those who rely on the sense of touch in order to move independently,” said Clark Rachfal, ACB’s director of advocacy and governmental affairs. “Social distancing has created a whole new set of anxieties the cane traveler must now contend with, making it more important than ever that we assure the voices of people who are blind or visually impaired are not shut out of the conversations as to how we must regain our national independence.”
The American Council of the Blind is a national grassroots consumer organization representing Americans who are blind and visually impaired. With 68 state and special-interest affiliates, ACB works to increase the independence, security, equal opportunity and quality of life for Americans who are blind and visually impaired. Learn more at www.acb.org.
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