National Disability Employment Awareness Month

DSB IN THE COMMUNITY

The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) is joining in commemoration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and White Cane Safety Day. Everyone is cordially invited to join the Department of Services for the Blind at events around the state throughout the month of October – and beyond!

To highlight the importance recognizing the contributions of people with disabilities in our  workplaces and communities, DSB representatives will be attending National Disability Employment Month Proclamation presentations during the City Council Meetings in several communities. We will also be attending other community events across the state. Everyone is welcome to come show their support at these public meetings and events!

 

Community Events

City of Tacoma Proclamation Presentation

Tuesday, September 26, 5:00 p.m.
Tacoma City Hall
City Council Chambers
Tacoma Municipal Building, First Floor
747 Market Street
Tacoma, WA

City of Lacey Proclamation Presentation

Thursday, September 28, 7:00 p.m.
Lacey City Hall
420 College Street SE
Lacey, WA

City of Vancouver Proclamation Presentation

Monday, October 2, 7:00 p.m.
Vancouver City Hall
415 West 6th street
Vancouver, WA

City of Spokane Proclamation Presentation

Monday, October 2, 7:00 p.m.
Spokane City Hall
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd
Spokane, WA

City of Yakima Proclamation Presentation

Monday, October 3, 7:00 p.m.
Yakima City Hall Council Chambers
129 N 2nd St.
Yakima, WA 98901

Columbia City Farmers Market

October 11, 2017, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Seattle, WA

Join in our White Cane Safety Day celebration featuring a White Cane Walk and a booth at the Farmers’ Market.

Washington Council of the Blind 2017 State Convention

October 26-29, 2017
Pasco, WA

If you are attending the WCB Convention, please visit the DSB booth in the exhibit area on Friday. You can meet with DSB staff and learn how DSB can assist in your career development.

National Federation of the Blind of Washington 2017 State Convention

November 3 -5, 2017
Olympia, WA

If you are attending the NFBW 2017 Convention, please visit the DSB booth in the exhibit area. You can meet with DSB staff and learn how DSB can assist in your career development.

 

National Disability Employment Awareness Month History

The Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) is joining in the commemoration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and White Cane Safety Day. Everyone is cordially invited to join DSB at events around the state throughout the month of October.

It is the goal of nearly everyone in the world to be employed, to be successful, and make enough money to sustain a way of life. All of this hinges on the ability to get a job. But only 33.1 percent of people aged 16-64 who have disabilities are active in the work force.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is trying to combat this low percentage. It has its roots in 1945, when Congress passed a proclamation stating that the first week of October would be classified as “Nationally Employ the Physically Handicapped” week in support of returning veterans. In 1962 the week was opened up to all disabled Americans when the word “physical” was removed. In 1988, the week was expanded to a month, and it was renamed with the title we know today.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy took over the organization of the month in 2001. The month of October is now host to a myriad of events and celebrations, including White Cane Safety Awareness Day and World Sight Day. In many places it is also the setting for events promoting, and celebrating, different forms of disabilities. Many states have laws regarding the third week of October as a week for acknowledging the role those with disabilities have had in our history and the world today, as well as to bring light to how those with disabilities were treated in the past.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a statement that those with disabilities can – and do – accomplish great and helpful things, and that everyone should have equal access and opportunity to be a successful, integral part of society.

2017 is the 70th anniversary of NDEAM and 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Learn more about these and other important events in disability employment history on the Department of Labor's Disability and Employment timeline.

 

White Cane Safety Awareness Day, October 15, 2017

White Cane History

The long white cane is a tool for many blind people. It seems to have always been there, ready to help the independent traveler discover their surroundings. But it has only become powerful, and prevalent, in the past fifty years, despite being used sporadically throughout history. The symbolism of the cane has grown so powerful in fact that it has its own day to promote and reinforce how amazing it is, and all it does in the lives of millions.

White Cane Safety Day was created to promote independence using a cane, and to alert and remind sighted drivers of the correct traffic procedures when sharing the road with blind people. Though laws concerning the white cane were put in place in 1930, the enforcement of many early law were often debated. Because of this, many were ineffective. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) saw this need and acted on it.

During their 1963 convention the NFB asked the states to recognize the fifteenth of October as White Cane Safety Day and a recognition of blind independence. The request was granted by Congress in October 1964. One condition requested in the creation of the observance was that it would always come with a presidential proclamation, stating the day’s significance. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first president to make this proclamation.

Because of this great leap forward, new laws regarding blind travelers have been put in place throughout the United States, many based on model law written by Dr. Jacobus tenBroek. It is because of these laws that the white cane has the empowering qualities that it does, and blind citizens of America have and ability to move as freely and safely as sighted travelers.

For more information, visit the National Federation of the Blind website.

Washington White Cane Law