|Awareness has replaced activity this year, but White Cane Day still left its powerful message|
|Internationally, the independence of blind people is celebrated annually on October 15th. But, with Covid-19 restrictions in place this year, our usual marches and public engagement on White Cane Day were replaced by awareness.|
Like sporting bodies that have had to lock out their crowds and press on ‘behind closed doors’, we have devoted this October to commemorating the importance of mobility in the blind community in a quieter but hopefully no less powerful way – spreading that message by whatever means we can.
Blind and partially sighted people use white canes to enjoy greater freedom and safety, locating curbs, steps, uneven pavements, and other physical obstacles in their path. The White Cane allows them to travel independently to their schools, colleges or workplaces, visit friends or family, and participate more fully in the life of their communities. Canes have been used by blind folk for centuries, but white canes came into use in the early 1900s – painted to be more publicly visible.
This ‘staff of independence’ reminds us that the only barriers against people with disabilities are discriminatory attitudes that our society too often places in their way.
So, awareness in place of activity this year, but let’s hope October 2021 sees us back out on the streets and delivering our White Cane Day message in person.
Thank you for your wonderful support.