17 Oct East Texas Lighthouse hosts inaugural White Cane Day, spreading awareness of visual disabilities
Nearly 300 people came to the event that also included vendors, food trucks, games and live music.
“We look to empower people and our goal is for them to be independent as they want to be and live life to the fullest,” said Alicia Lansford, chief missions officer for East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind. “They can go to the grocery store, they can go out to eat and they can be independent.”
The event precedes and coincides with National White Cane Safety Day, Oct. 15. On Oct. 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress was signed into law, authorizing President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim Oct. 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day.
“The community seems to be really happy to be out here,” Lansford said. “We actually have a whole lot of people from out of town because this weekend there’s a big baseball tournament going on, so we have people from Chicago, we have some teams coming in from all over the U.S. to come and celebrate with us.”
White Cane Day serves as an effort to spread awareness of people who are blind and/or visually impaired living right here in East Texas. It also marks a way to celebrate their achievements and accomplishments and how the white cane really gives them that confidence and ability to travel independently and live life.
“There are so many of the vendors who work with people who are blind… and we’re selling stuff, we’re dancing, we’re singing, we’re doing some blindfolded crafts and some immersion training,” Lansford said.
Sponsors for East Texas White Cane Day included Texas Workforce Solutions, GoBus, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Miles Realty and Non-24.
East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind is a nonprofit organization, a federal contractor, and a Department of Defense supplier. They fulfill their mission of empowering the blind through two divisions, a manufacturing operation (Horizon Industries) and community rehabilitation facility (Client Services).