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Experience what it feels like to be blind

MIDDLEBURY — This year’s national White Cane Safety Day — the 50th annual observance celebrating a long-standing symbol of strength and independence for blind and visually impaired individuals — will include a celebration in Middlebury on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m. at Ilsley Public Library.
Participants of all ages and backgrounds will take an experiential walk through downtown Middlebury at 11:30, learning first-hand what it’s like to make their way in the world as a blind or visually-impaired person.
The walk will be followed by a reception at the library, at which the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI) and the State of Vermont Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI) will join the town of Middlebury in proclaiming White Cane Safety Awareness Day in Middlebury. Light refreshments will be served.
According to the American Council of the Blind, the white cane was first introduced in the United States in 1931 by a member of Lions Club International, after he saw an individual crossing a busy street with a black cane that seemed to be extremely difficult for motorists to notice. On Oct. 6, 1964, Congress passed a joint resolution to grant the president of the United States the power to proclaim Oct. 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day. President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the first White Cane Safety Day within hours of the passage of the resolution. Since its inception, White Cane Safety Day has both celebrated the white cane and brought awareness to those who are not familiar with what it is like to travel under the guidance of the white cane.

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