FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Friday, October 13, 2006
Category: 
John G. Paré, Jr.
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2371
(410) 913-3912 (Cell)

President Bush Proclaims White Cane Safety Day

Proclamation Emphasizes Importance of Opportunity for Blind Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 13, 2006): President George W. Bush issued a proclamation recognizing October 15, 2006, as White Cane Safety Day. The proclamation said in part: “Our Nation believes in the promise of all our citizens, and we must work to ensure that the opportunities of America are more accessible to every person. Many Americans who are blind or visually impaired use white canes to enable them to enjoy greater mobility, engage in productive work, and participate fully in all aspects of life. On White Cane Safety Day, we celebrate the many achievements of Americans who are blind or visually impaired, and we recognize the white cane as an important symbol of their determination and independence.” The President promised continued commitment from his administration to secure civil rights and greater opportunities for blind Americans. He called upon “public officials, business leaders, educators, librarians” and all Americans to “join as we work to ensure that the benefits and privileges of life in our great Nation are available to Americans who are blind or visually impaired, and to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.”

Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest consumer organization of the blind in the United States, said: “White Cane Safety Day is a time for the blind of the nation to celebrate our achievements, and we have much to celebrate. Today, more blind Americans than ever before are engaging in productive and remunerative work and making significant contributions of time and talent to their schools, churches, and communities. However we also recognize on this day that, to provide a few examples, we still have much work to do to secure full access to the Internet and other sources of information, to provide training and opportunity to more blind Americans so that they can achieve gainful employment, and to strengthen and improve educational opportunities for blind children. We are pleased that the President has expressed his commitment to joining us in our continued march towards full equality in American society and look forward to working with him to ensure a bright future for the blind of this great country.”

Throughout the month of October, chapters and affiliates of the National Federation of the blind will engage in various events as part of a national public awareness campaign which the Federation calls Meet the Blind Month. October was chosen for this national campaign because White Cane Safety Day falls exactly at the month’s midpoint.

Photographs to accompany stories about White Cane Safety Day are available upon request.