Buenas tardes, mis amigas! I am happy to feel the warmth of your friendship. I have loved all of the Americas as my own country, and it is wonderful for me to be in your beautiful Mexico City set amongst its sombre (sic), sentinal (sic) mountains in its great valle (sic). How proud I am to speak to your university with its record of service and achievement.
Because you students and professors, have the power to help mold public attitudes toward the blind of Mexico, I am going to talk about them and their problems. The great majority of the blind are adults who are healthy minded and able to work. They want to support themselves, but are debarred from this vital human right because there is a prejudice that when people are blind they can do nothing. They sit at home staring into the dark with nothing but the dark staring back at them. You have seen these victims of despair on your crowded streets, pitifully groping their way, holding out petty wares for sale, or a cap for your pennies; and these were once people of ambition and capability.
Yet we know that these ambitions and capabilities can be realized. We know that if prompt action is taken after loss of sight, full readjustment can be achieved and resettlement through training accomplished. In this amazing era of technological progress, undreamed of advances are being made in developing appliances whose use promises the blind wide, new vistas of cultural activity, social integration and vocational opportunity.
Remember, the blind do not want charity but the kind of help that will give their lives a goal, their frustrated selves a purpose around which to re-integrate their personalities and regain their inner health. They ask only for training that will keep them alert, and able to occupy an honorable station in service to society. Dear friends, I beg you to convey this information to your associates as well as the public.
Through the ages, men without sight have succeeded in almost every business and profession. Homer, Ossian, and Milton wrote great poems in the shadows. Francois Huber, the blind naturalist, discovered secrets concerning the bees which had baffled the keenest sight for ages. Henry Fawcett was a Member of Parliament for nineteen years and postmaster general of Great Britain. Obviously, if an exceptional blind man can serve society with distinction, an ordinary blind person can be trained for ordinary work, and that is among the most urgent of Mexico's problems. Such services to blind men and women are not nearly adequate.
Justice, commonsense and Christianity demand that the public be aroused to support, actively the Government programs, and those of such agencies as the Mexico City Junior League, and to develop new ones. Government, business, the professions, labor leaders and the general public must join hands to train the blind and locate suitable openings of employment for them.
This is no easy task. It will require personal sacrifice and devoted effort. I appeal to you, dear friends, you whose eyes are full of light, you who have power and influence - to do to my blind fellows in Mexico as you would others do unto you. If you do, the blessings of sight you enjoy will be all the sweeter to you.