Helen Keller Day is an unofficial holiday commemorating Helen Keller’s life, resilience, and achievements. Helen Keller (1880-1968) was a blind and deaf lecturer, author, political activist, and an advocate for people with disabilities. She was nineteen months old when she suffered from bacterial meningitis, which damaged her ability to see and hear. When she was six years old, Keller met Anne Sullivan, a teacher who was also vision impaired. Using the Touch Teaching techniques, learning words by finger spelling on the hand, Keller learned to speak, read, and use sign language.
In 1904, when she is 24 years old, Keller became the first deaf and blind person in the US to earn a bachelor’s degree. Keller dedicated her life advocating for people with disabilities, lecturing nationwide promoting their needs, and in 1915, she established the Helen Keller International – a research organization focusing on vision and health. Keller was also a political activist, supporting women’s suffrage, reproductive rights, pacifism, and workers’ rights, and in 1920 co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union.
Helen Keller Day is observed annually on June 27, her birthday. The day was authorized in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, and in 2006 received a presidential proclamation. This day is about Keller’s legacy, but not only. It is about respecting people with disabilities, promoting accessibility, and spreading the idea that anyone can overcome the challenges in their life.
On the day, the American Foundation for the Blind, and other organizations and charities, are holding various events and educational programs, such as the annual fashion show fundraiser in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. You can join the celebrations by reading her autobiography, “The Story of My Life,” get inspired by how she overcame obstacles during her life, and if you happen to be in one of the states that have a statue of Keller – Alabama, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Washington, DC, visit her landmark.