Advocates to walk Oct 15 for White Cane Safety Awareness Day
OKLAHOMA CITY — White Cane Safety Awareness Day will be celebrated Friday, Oct. 15, in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and internationally in recognition of the white cane’s significance in advancing independence for people who are blind and visually impaired.
Governor Kevin Stitt has issued an official state proclamation recognizing the event.
In Oklahoma City, Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired will host a celebration from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library at 300 Park Avenue.
In Tulsa, Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired will host a celebration from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on OSU-Tulsa campus at 700 N. Greenwood Avenue.
SBVI is a division of Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
In OKC, white cane users, those with dog guides and sighted supporters will gather in front of the library under the roof overhang. The group will then walk from the library around the court house and city hall complex several times. The walk will end where it began in front of the Downtown Library.
In Tulsa, participants will gather at the Ellis Walker Wood Memorial on the north side of OSU-Tulsa campus to hear proclamations and instructions. The group will then walk to Guthrie Green on the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and East Cameron Street. The walk will end at Guthrie Green.
Walk participants may picnic or visit restaurants in the area at their own expense after the event.
Members of the public are encouraged to participate or ask questions.
White Cane Safety Awareness Day was first established by presidential proclamation in 1964 to increase public awareness about the meaning of white cane with red tips and travel safety needs of citizens who use them.
“Many people in the community haven’t seen individuals navigate with white canes or dog guides and aren’t aware of the law in place to protect those who use a cane on streets and roadways,” Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired Administrator Tracy Brigham said.
“Our goals for the public walk on White Cane Day are not only to emphasize safety and educate about blindness and low vision, but also to celebrate the progress and achievements made by Oklahomans who are blind and visually impaired throughout the years.” Brigham explained.
Oklahoma law requires drivers to completely stop their vehicles 15 feet away from pedestrians who are visually impaired and identified by their use of white canes with red tips or dog guides. People who violate this law are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to three months or $100 fine or both.
Oklahoma law also stipulates that only blind people may carry white canes with or without red tips. These canes are internationally recognized as mobility aids for people with visual disabilities.
Legal blindness occurs when vision is 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, or the visual field is restricted to 20 degrees or less.
For more information about SBVI’s White Cane Safety Awareness Day in OKC, contact Elizabeth Scheffe at 405-522-3359 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Tulsa event, contact Jane Lansaw at 918-313-1572 or email@example.com.
In 2020, Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired provided career counseling, employment, technology, and training and job placement services for 1,190 Oklahomans and helped 112 find employment. The successful jobseekers earn an annual average of $27,404 and pay $4,111 in average annual taxes.
For more information, phone 800-487-4042 to reach the nearest office or visit https://oklahoma.gov/okdrs/job-seekers/sbvi.html.
Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services annually assists more than 76,100 Oklahomans with disabilities.
For more information
Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director