Thursday is White Cane Awareness Day in Missouri.
Gov. Mike Parson issued a proclamation, as October is Meet the Blind Month.
National Federation of the Blind of Missouri officials said they hope this leads to a greater understanding of the blind in today’s society.
Group spokesman Daniel Garcia said the proclamation serves as a means to acknowledge the usefulness of the white cane as a “simple yet effective tool of independence that contributes to the self-sufficiency of individuals who are blind and visually impaired and symbolizes their ability to achieve a full and independent life and their capacity to work productively in competitive employment.”
White Cane Awareness Day is observed, Garcia said, to emphasize the need for all Americans to be aware of the presence of people with disabilities in our communities and to work together to keep streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, facilities, and places of public accommodation safe and functional to the disabled community.
Garcia said they are also asking blind citizens to take part in the NFB’s Blind Voter Survey to report good or bad voting experiences. The NFB will use this data to approach elected officials to make the voting process more accessible for the blind.
“The Help America Vote Act provides for an accessible voting machine at every precinct during federal elections,” Garcia said. “The National Federation of the Blind of Missouri is thus working hard to persuade the legislature to have accessible voting machines at every polling place in local and state elections as well. We are also working with election officials to ensure that in future elections, blind people will be able to preserve their right to independently cast a secret ballot if they choose to vote absentee.”