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National disability leader speaks today in Duluth at state council’s annual awards meeting

Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary for disability employment policy in the U.S. Labor Department, will speak today in Duluth at the annual awards luncheon of the Minnesota State Council on Disability.

Before being nominated for the federal position by President Obama, Martinez had been executive director of the World Institute on Disability and specialized in employment, asset building, independent living, international development, and diversity and gender issues.

She told DiversityInc last spring:

“As a Latina who is blind, I have first-person experience with the low expectations and assumptions of the majority culture,” Martinez says. “I have seen many disabled Latinos live down to these diminished expectations. They become overwhelmed by isolation, are disconnected from the service-delivery system and don’t have disabled Latino professionals to look up to or network with. Unfortunately, even those who do access resources often are not receiving appropriate service.”

I do some work for the Disability Council and will be in Duluth today for Martinez’s address at the annual lunch. It’s at 11:30 a.m. at the downtown Holiday Inn.

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