Helen Keller's Speech
to the Lions 1925 International Convention
in Cedar Point, Ohio, June 30, 1925
Dear Lions and Ladies:
I suppose you have heard the legend that represents opportunity as a
capricious lady, who knocks at every door but once, and if the door
isn't opened quickly, she passes on, never to return. And that is as
it should be. Lovely, desirable ladies won't wait. You have to go
out and grab 'em.
I am your opportunity. I am knocking at your door. I want to be
adopted. The legend doesn't say what you are to do when several
beautiful opportunities present themselves at the same door. I guess
you have to choose the one you love best. I hope you will adopt me.
I am the youngest here, and what I offer you is full of splendid
opportunities for service.
The American Foundation for the Blind is only four years old. It
grew out of the imperative needs of the blind, and was called into
existence by the sightless themselves. It is national and
international in scope and in importance. It represents the best and
most enlightened thought on our subject that has been reached so
far. Its object is to make the lives of the blind more worthwhile
everywhere by increasing their economic value and giving them the
joy of normal activity.
Try to imagine how you would feel if you were suddenly stricken
blind today. Picture yourself stumbling and groping at noonday as in
the night; your work, your independence, gone. In that dark world
wouldn't you be glad if a friend took you by the hand and said,
"Come with me and I will teach you how to do some of the things
you used to do when you could see"? That is just the kind of
friend the American Foundation is going to be to all the blind in
this country if seeing people will give it the support it must have.
You have heard how through a little word dropped from the fingers of
another, a ray of light from another soul touched the darkness of my
mind and I found myself, found the world, found God. It is because
my teacher learned about me and broke through the dark, silent
imprisonment which held me that I am able to work for myself and for
others. It is the caring we want more than money. The gift without
the sympathy and interest of the giver is empty. If you care, if we
can make the people of this great country care, the blind will
indeed triumph over blindness.
The opportunity I bring to you, Lions, is this: To foster and
sponsor the work of the American Foundation for the Blind. Will you
not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable
blindness; no little deaf, blind child untaught; no blind man or
woman unaided? I appeal to you Lions, you who have your sight, your
hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not
constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this
crusade against darkness?
I thank you.