TEXAS — Wednesday marked National White Cane Day, a celebration for the blind community.
- Holiday is October 15 in Texas
- This year celebrations are on October 16
- Several events recognizing visually impaired community
The white cane is a symbol of the tools used by people who are visually impaired to overcome barriers to full inclusion.
Many families marched at Austin City Hall and at the Capitol to raise awareness about the accomplishments of visually-impaired individuals.
Mary Rose Bushland is a student at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI). She and her parents marched to show others that the blind can be independent.
Mary Rose Bushland was born with a disease that affects the retina.
"We said, 'Well, where is the specialist we take her to? What do we do next?' And they were like, 'Take her to an eye doctor once a year for a checkup. There is nothing you can do,'" said Patty Bushland.
Over the years, Mary Rose Bushland has become more and more independent. She is constantly asserting how capable she is. Her saying is, “I've got this by myself.”
TSBVI Superintendent Emily Coleman tries to instill that form of leadership and independence to all of her students every day, not just on National White Cane Day.
"It's a way for our kids to get out into the community and be just like anybody else and find employment, education, relationships," said Coleman.
The TSBVI held a party to celebrate the day, complete with booths to provide resources to blind children and adults.
The American Council of the Blind said White Cane Day was first recognized in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson as White Cane Safety Day. The day was intended to remind the public to be courteous of people who are using a white cane. Now the day commemorates the remarkable contributions made by people who are visually impaired.
On September 10, 2019, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation declaring October 15 to be White Cane Day in Texas. This year, the special day is marked with celebrations across the state on Wednesday, October 16.