THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY, 1997
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As we stand at the dawn of the 21st century, new technologies are rapidly changing and improving the lives of Americans. For one group of Americans in particular -- those who are blind or visually impaired -- these technologies have opened doors to unparalleled opportunities. Blind Americans now can more readily access information of all kinds, and these advances have brought important improvements to the education, careers, and daily lives of blind and visually impaired people.
In this time of extraordinary progress, however, the simple yet profoundly useful white cane remains an indispensable tool and symbol of independence that has afforded countless blind and visually impaired citizens the opportunity to pursue the American Dream. And so, as we all share in a new era of expanded technological innovations that improve the lives of all of our Nation's citizens, we also celebrate the white cane for its ability to empower and recognize it as the embodiment of freedom.
As a Nation, let us also reassert our commitment to ensuring equal opportunity, equal access, and full participation of citizens with disabilities in our community life. This year, we celebrated the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, reaffirming our belief that all students can learn and must have the opportunities and resources necessary to do so. And we must continue to enforce vigorously the Americans with Disabilities Act, so that our blind and visually impaired fellow citizens enjoy equal opportunity, access to public and private services and accommodations, and a workplace free of discrimination.
To honor the numerous achievements of blind and visually impaired citizens and to recognize the significance of the white cane in advancing independence, the Congress, by joint resolution approved October 6, 1964, has designated October 15 of each year as "White Cane Safety Day."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 15, 1997, as White Cane Safety Day. I call upon the people of the United States, government officials, educators, and business leaders to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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