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A PROCLAMATION from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

Oct 15, 2009

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 15, 2009

WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY, 2009

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

All Americans deserve the freedom to participate in

every aspect of our society and pursue their full measure of

happiness. For blind Americans, the white cane is a potent

symbol of that freedom -- affording them greater independence

and mobility. Today we renew our commitment to provide full

inclusion and equal opportunities for those among us who are

blind or have low vision. As Americans, we must nurture a

society that values the unique abilities and individual

contributions of all its people.

 

Individuals who are blind or have low vision are less

constrained and better integrated in our country than ever

before, but much work remains to ensure they have the

opportunity to reach their full potential. My Administration

is committed to securing full and equal access to education and

employment for blind Americans and all those with disabilities.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act substantially

increased funding for the Individuals with Disabilities

Education Act, as well as vocational rehabilitation services,

including job training, education, and placement.

For Americans who are blind or have low vision, a white

cane is just one of a wide range of tools that sustain

independence and productivity. In recent years, refreshable

Braille displays and speech synthesis devices have given these

individuals access to the Internet, unlocking a new frontier of

limitless possibility. As we encourage the development of new

assistive technologies, we must also improve access to existing

tools. The Braille code has opened a doorway to literacy for

countless individuals, but far too many blind children in our

country are not learning to read it. By improving Braille

literacy, we will secure a brighter future for these young

Americans.

 

In the 45 years since White Cane Safety Day was first

proclaimed by President Lyndon Johnson, Americans who are blind

or have low vision have achieved substantial progress. As

leaders in government and business, academics, and the arts,

they have made remarkable contributions to our Nation, proving

that sight is no requisite for success. We will continue to

strive for a more just and equitable Nation that celebrates

diversity in all its forms and promotes the full inclusion of

all individuals in our communities.

 

By joint resolution approved on October 6, 1964 (Public

Law 88-628, as amended), the Congress designated October 15

of each year as White Cane Safety Day to recognize the

contributions of Americans who are blind or have low vision.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the

United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2009,

as White Cane Safety Day. I call upon all Americans to observe

this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

fifteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord

two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States

of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

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