White Cane Day honored as part of ‘Texas HireAbility’ campaign

Participants line the sidewalk for the White Cane Day march in Austin. (KXAN Photo/Steffi Lee)
Participants line the sidewalk for the White Cane Day march in Austin. (KXAN Photo/Steffi Lee)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Adhyayan Singh wants people to know even though he’s blind, he’s able to do just as much as others who have their vision. It’s why he marched in the White Cane Day event in Austin.

“When we get to march, when we get to show off to the blind people, to the sighted people, I feel like we get to express ourselves, to come out into the light and tell people that we are independent,” he said.

White Cane Day is recognized annually to focus on the abilities of people who have visual impairments, as well as promoting access to equal opportunities. The President of the United States issues the Blind Americans Equality Day Proclamation on Oct. 15 every year.

The Texas Workforce Commission partnered with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) to host the activities in Austin. White Cane Day is also being celebrated in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and is part of the Texas Workforce Commission’s “Texas HireAbility” campaign, which is focused on raising awareness about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.

It’s through a partnership with the Texas Governor’s Committee on People With Disabilities and the Texas Workforce Solutions net.

“People don’t really realize how independent blind people are,” Singh said, adding he enjoys being able to take short term courses through TSBVI, while attending public school.

“You can come to the school and learn how to cook, learn how to clean, learn how to do laundry and learn how to handle an apartment,” he said.

Singh said he wasn’t as outgoing about having a cane to help him when he was younger.

“I got my first white cane when I was around the third or fourth grade,” he said. “I never had much respect for it. [I asked myself] why am I carrying a stick? Why am I carrying a big stick, while sighted people get to walk with nothing in their hands? So I always left the cane behind and just didn’t care about it, you know? When I got to the sixth and seventh grade, I started realizing the importance of it because this long stick is the equivalent of eyes for the sighted. If a car is coming by or if there’s something in my way like a chair, it’s going to hit that and let me know there’s something in my way.”

The National Federation of the Blind estimated, in 2015, there were 655,500 people in Texas reported to have a visual disability. You can find a list of the other White Cane Day events this month hosted by the Texas Workforce Commission on their website.

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