HARRISBURG, PA. - The rotunda of the State Capitol building served as the back drop Friday, for a celebration of the independence of people who are blind or visually-impaired. State officials were among the crowd at the White Cane Safety Day event. According to the National Federation of the Blind, the day is meant raise awareness of the need for motorists and other pedestrians, to exercise caution for those who carry white canes. It's also a day of recognition for the self-sufficiency of the visually-impaired.
"It's like magic how we cross streets," said Joe Strechay, director for the Bureau of Blind and Visual Services. "We use the sound of traffic, the start and stop at an intersection, the traffic lights, and all of that. " Strechay went on to encourage those without impaired vision to offer a lending hand. "It's okay to approach someone who is blind or visually-impaired to ask if they need assistance, but we really promote independence and providing those skills to be successful in life."
Friday's event included a sensory-loss simulation exercise, so attendees could experience what it's like to have visual impairment.
White Cane Safety Day was officially recognized by Congress as national day in 1964.