TULSA, OKLA. – The award-winning Oklahoma School for the Blind Jazz Band will perform a free concert on Monday, October 15, at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa.
OSB’s Jazz Band earned 2-A state championships in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The Jazz Band will perform at 6:00 p.m. in front of Macy's on the lower level of the mall.
Woodland Hills Mall is located at 7021 S. Memorial Road.
OSB planned the concert and other activities to celebrate National White Cane Safety Awareness Day, which recognizes the connections between effective cane use, travel safety and independence for people who are blind.
OSB faculty and other experts will display educational exhibits, share information and answer questions about blindness and vision loss beginning at 3:30 p.m.
Visual Services, which provides employment and independent living services for people with visual disabilities, will have a table.
OSB and Visual Services are divisions of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
After the Jazz Band performance, senior OSB students Kaylee Ragon and Gabby King will speak about OSB and National White Cane Safety Awareness Day.
Next, students and faculty will demonstrate proper cane techniques and build awareness as they walk in the lower level of the mall beginning at approximately 6:40 p.m.
The public is invited to join the walk to show support.
“OSB is honored to share in the celebration and invite everyone to come to Woodland Hills to hear our award-winning Jazz Band and participate in our White Cane Day walk,” OSB Superintendent Rita Echelle said.
“White Cane Day is a great day to celebrate achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired, as well as educate the world about blindness and how people who are blind and visually impaired can live and work independently while giving back to their communities,” she said.
OSB educated 102 students in 2018. Residential and commuter students attend classes Monday through Thursday on the school campus in Muskogee.
As the statewide resource for students who are blind or visually impaired, OSB also serves students with visual disabilities who attend other schools, their families and educators throughout Oklahoma.
Legal blindness occurs when vision is 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, or the visual field is restricted to 20 degrees or less.
“Approximately 3.6 percent of the population or 138,700 Oklahomans report vision difficulties and may be potential white cane or dog guide users, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey estimates,” Echelle said. “In spite of new technology, the traditional white cane is a vital tool that enables people who are blind to travel independently.”
For more information about the Oklahoma School for the Blind or National White Cane Safety Awareness Day, contact Karen Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (918) 781-8228.
White Cane History
Under Oklahoma law, only blind people may carry white canes with or without red tips, which are universally recognized as mobility aids for people with vision impairments.
Oklahoma law requires drivers to completely stop their vehicles 15 feet away from pedestrians who are visually impaired and identified by their use of white canes or dog guides. People who violate this law are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to three months or $100 fine or both.
The first white cane laws were drafted in 1964 around the time that National White Cane Safety Day was established by presidential proclamation. Today, similar laws exist in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia.
The Oklahoma School for the Blind is the statewide resource for the education of blind and visually impaired students. Residential and commuter students meet all state-mandated education requirements and receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility, optimum use of low vision, adaptive equipment technology and tactile graphic skills not readily available at other public schools in the state. OSB also provides thousands of hours of free services each year for students attending local public schools, their families and local school staff.