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Blind and Proud

Thank You for Marching: A Recap of our Grand Opening Day

Last Friday LightHouse brought together as many as 1,000 blind marchers and their colleagues, friends and extended families. As we paraded down Market Street, holding banners, dancing, shouting —led by the ever-festive Extra Action Marching Band – each of us felt an immense sense of pride and privilege to be part of this vibrant, strong and diverse blindness community. We walked side by side with friends from organizations far and wide, such as Guide Dogs, California School for the Blind, the Hatlen Center, the Earle Baum Center, the World Institute on Disability, the Paul K. Longmore Institute university professors, blindness educators, along with attorneys, political figures, entrepreneurs, technologists and the many other community leaders who turned out for this unforgettable event.

A woman cheers in front of a LightHouse banner
photos by Chelsea Dier

At the end of the parade, it couldn’t have felt more right to finally cut the ribbon and pour into LightHouse’s new headquarters, filling each room with activity. Guests explored our student residences, experimented with Arduino and soldering in the STEM lab, passed in and out of our many communal spaces and, most of all, enjoyed each other’s company and excitement.

What kicked it all off, though, was the speeches on the steps of City Hall; which we are proud to be able to present to you in full on the above video. In addition to these few moments from social media and our photographers on the ground, we will continue to share the memorable sights and sounds throughout the week.

We’ve already seen a tremendous response on social media, but we’d like to continue to hear about your favorite memories from the event. Send your observations, photos, sounds and videos from Friday’s celebration to us on Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox or email.

 

#BeSeenSF: Why We’re Taking Over the Streets on Friday

When you step into the street, whether it’s to represent a cause, celebrate an achievement or just to get where you’re going, you make a statement: I want to be seen.

In the blindness community, we’re used to being looked at. What’s different, though, is choosing to be seen; claiming agency over the spectacle, and making it your own.

On Friday, June 10, the entire LightHouse community is going to depart from the patterns of our daily routines and take over the streets, marching from City Hall, down Van Ness Avenue, onto Market Street, and to a ribbon-cutting and party at our new headquarters, We are in center of San Francisco to make a ruckus, to make a statement, to challenge the idea of business as usual, and encourage our community to think differently about those with different types of vision. Contrary to what you may think, we are blind and proud of it, and we want to be seen in celebration.

This is a parade for people with all types of vision; and we’d love nothing more than to have people who have never met us before filling out our ranks. So tomorrow, Friday June 10 at 11 a.m. sharp, meet us on the Polk Street steps of city hall. It will be a memorable day to set up the blindness community for the next 114 years in downtown San Francisco.

RSVP to join our June 10th Parade and Open House: aogarrio@lighthouse-sf.org.