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Monday was "White Cane Awareness Day," Gov. Mike Parson proclaimed.

The National Federation of the Blind announced the proclamation and shared its wording.

The proclamation noted every blind citizen has the right to carry a white cane which "symbolizes the ability to achieve a full and independent life and the capacity to work productively in competitive employment."

The cane also allows "every blind person to move freely and safely from place to place," the proclamation said, and "makes it possible for the blind to fully participate in and contribute to our society and to live the lives they want."

For the last 10 years, the National Federation of the Blind has operated a "free white cane program" that makes the canes available to blind and visually impaired individuals.

Parson's proclamation also reminded Missourians state law "requires that motorists and cyclists exercise appropriate caution when approaching a blind person carrying a white cane," and the law "also calls upon employers, both public and private, to be aware of and utilize the employment skills of our blind citizens, by recognizing their worth as individuals and their productive capacities."

The governor said the state "can and should facilitate the expansion of employment opportunities for, and greater acceptance of, blind persons in the competitive labor market," and that Missouri's "schools, colleges and universities (should) offer full opportunities for training to blind persons."

Parson also called on "employers and the public to utilize the available skills of competent blind persons, and to open new opportunities for the blind in our rapidly changing society."

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