Secretary of State Steve Hobbs encourages participation in White Cane Day Walk 2023

OLYMPIA — Secretary of State Steve Hobbs encourages participation in the White Cane Day Walk 2023 in Seattle on Saturday, Oct. 14, to celebrate people who are blind and visually impaired.

The White Cane Day Walk will begin at the Pike Place Market Information Center, 97 Pike Street, at 10 a.m. and end with a reception and vendor area at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL), 2021 9th Avenue. WTBBL, a program of the Office of the Secretary of State, provides access to information and reading materials for people who are unable to read standard print.

Representatives from multiple organizations including Guide Dogs for the Blind, Department of Services for the Blind, Northwest Association of Blind Athletes, and others will be at WTBBL after the White Cane Day Walk to promote services and organizations available to those experiencing blindness or low vision.

“Libraries are a resource for knowledge and a vehicle to intellectual freedom for everyone,” Secretary Hobbs said. “The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library provides expanded access to books and information, ensuring all people have equal opportunity to pursue that knowledge. Hosting White Cane Day events is a natural complement to WTBBL’s mission.”

This day of awareness of the visually impaired was established on October 6, 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson signed a Congressional joint resolution to proclaim October 15 “White Cane Safety Day.” In 2011, President Barack Obama also proclaimed White Cane Day “Blind Americans Equality Day.”

This is the second year WTBBL has hosted a White Cane Day event. Secretary Hobbs said the special day is an opportunity to increase public awareness of the services WTBBL provides.

“The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library is a unique program in our state’s government and serves a vital purpose,” Hobbs said. “Through WTBBL, we enable those who have difficulty reading traditional print access to books and other resources most people take for granted.”

Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, oversees the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees, and administers the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime.