October 3, 2005 National Council on Disability Official to Deliver Disability Employment Awareness Month Keynote
Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362
Young-woo Kang, presidential appointee to the National Council on Disability, will deliver the 2005 Disability Employment Awareness Month keynote address at the Library of Congress at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, in Madison Hall, first floor, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.
This year’s theme, “Much More Accomplished, Much More to Do” commemorates the 15th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Blinded by a sports injury in middle school, Kang became the first visually impaired student admitted to Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. After graduating with honors, he went on to become a Rotary Foundation Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, as well as the first blind Korean to earn both a master’s degree and a doctorate.
Kang served as the dean of South Korea’s Taegu University before becoming supervisor of special education in Indiana. He is currently an adjunct professor at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
In 2001 Kang was honored with the Asian American Society Outstanding Contribution and Achievement Award.
Kang’s book, “A Light in My Heart,” has been translated into six languages and recorded as part of the Library’s “talking book” outreach program for the blind and physically handicapped. In addition, the book has also been made into an award-winning full-length film.
On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the effort to educate the American public about issues related to disability and employment actually began in 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962 the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988 Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”