Austin celebrates White Cane Day

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by JESSICA VESS / KVUE News & Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

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kvue.com

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 16 at 12:00 PM

AUSTIN -- Hundreds marched in downtown Austin to honor the blind and visually impaired.

Approximately 460 people gathered at the State Capitol Tuesday morning to commemorate Austin’s 12th Annual White Cane Day Walk. The group left as one and marched down Congress Avenue and over to Austin City Hall.
 
Most who participated in the march are blind or visually impaired. They used canes to navigate the downtown streets. The canes are designed to warn them of obstacles like stairs or curbs. It also serves as a remainder to others that they are blind.
 
The march is designed to celebrate the independence that the visually impaired have gained over the years.
 
“The fact of the matter is we know what we're doing. We're doing all right. We get around okay, all because of this white cane. This is our eyesight right here. I think that's really what we're trying to get across today, is that sure, it's difficult, sure it's a pain in the neck but it's not the end of the world,” said 2012 White Cane Day Coordinator Dave Armstrong.
 
At City Hall Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell addressed the crowd of hundreds. He read a proclamation declaring Oct. 16, 2012, as White Cane Day in Austin.
 
The first White Cane Day was celebrated back in 1964 under then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. Over the decades, each state has passed laws that protect the visually impaired. In Texas the White Can Law ensures the rights of individuals who walk with a guide dog. It allows them equal access to all public places.
 
White Cane Day continues in celebration at Republic Square Park until 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon with activities and live music.

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