Activism, Asian mental health, Diseases and Disabilities, Entrepreneurship, New York, Notable Taiwan Guest, Podcast, Racism and Diversity, Self-Empowerment, Taiwan, Taiwan Organizations

Tiffany Yu: Empowering the Disabled Through Diversability Ep 146

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

Tiffany Yu is a disability activist, CEO and founder of Diversability, and host of Tiffany & Yu, a social impact podcast. She’s also on the San Francisco Mayor’s Disability Council, a three-time TED Talk speaker and has a list of many more impressive accomplishments that appear on her Wikipedia page.

She spoke with tremendous vulnerability about her disability origin story, the trauma she’s experienced, dealing with shame, and her continued healing.

Tifany also shared about the many exciting projects she’s working on for Diversability and in the disability space.


CORRECTION: At 14:21 when Tiffany mentioned a TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Narrative” she was referring to the TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story.”

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • How Tiffany spearheaded the Taiwan Necklace Project to raise money for ITASA (Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association)
  • Tiffany’s disability origin story
  • How she came up with the idea for her company Diversability in 2009 while a student at Georgetown University
  • The work that Diversability does
  • How Diversability went from a side hustle to something fulltime years later in 2017
  • How Diversability is about improving the lives and well-being of disabled people
  • How can Diversability make disability a reason to belong and not a reason to exclude
  • What happened in 2019 that made Tiffany realize that she was experiencing PTSD and how she dealt with it
  • Tiffany’s thoughts on her first TED Talk
  • What has changed since Tiffany started Diversability
  • How Tiffany was able to get the mayor of San Francisco to declare July Disability Pride Month in 2020
  • How Tiffany has evolved since she first founded Diversability
  • News about Diversability
  • The “Disability is not a bad word” T-shirt campaign
  • The Diversabillity Leadership Collective
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) goal of economic self-sufficiency
  • How Tiffany has launched an endowment fund at Georgetown University for disability-related initiatives
  • The comments that Tiffany’s mom made about Diversability in 2018
  • How Tiffany deals with her mother’s opinion of the work she does with Diversability
  • Tiffany’s podcast Tiffany & Yu, which she started in 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic
  • Tiffany’s favorite episode of her podcast Tiffany & Yu
  • Laverne Cox’s term “possibility model”
  • The term ableism
  • How Tiffany enjoys making Tik Tok dance videos
  • The accomplishment that Tiffany is most proud of
  • How the Paralympics may be used as a reason not to care about disability
  • The term inspiration porn
  • How paralympican Rebecca Meyers’ request to have a personal care assistant accompany her was denied


Related Links:


Tiffany Yu’s website:


Tiffany and Yu podcast:


Tiffany Yu on Instagram:


Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter:


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, The danger of a single story:


Disability Empowerment Endowed Fund at Georgetown University:


Tiffany Yu on Facebook:


Tiffany Yu on Twitter:


Tiffany Yu on LinkedIn:


Tiffany Yu on YouTube:


Tiffany Yu on Wikipedia:




Diversability Facebook Group:


Diversability Leadership Collective:



Diversability Facebook page:


Diversability on Twitter:


Diversability on Instagram:


Disability Empowerment Endowment Fund to support disability initiatives in perpetuity at Georgetown University:


The Georgetown Voice article, “Alumna Tiffany Yu looks to cement legacy of disability justice as students push for Disability Cultural Center” about the endowment fund for disability related initiatives at Georgetown University that Tiffany is raising money for:


Disability is not a bad word, now on a T-shirt:


Tiffany’s first TED Talk, The Power of Exclusion:


Tiffany’s second TED Talk, The Truths About Being A Pioneer:


Tiffany’s third TED Talk, The Problem with Positivity:


The Danger of a Single Story (TED Talk):


PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder):


Post-traumatic growth (PTG):


Dr. Robert Bullard:


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):


Tiffany &Yu Episode 18, Disability Pride, ADA30 & Diversability’s D-30 Disability Impact List ft. Alex Locust (Glamputee):


Laverne Cox Calls Herself a ‘Possibility Model’ on Katie Couric:


Laverne Cox On Why She Still Has Something To Prove:


Talila Lewis’ Working Definition of Ableism:

Tiffany &Yu Episode 17, Leadership Lessons from Yoga Journal Racism & Controversy ft. Nicole Cardoza (Anti-Racism Daily):

Stella Young’s TED Talk, I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much:


Paralympian Rebecca Meyers’ Op Ed in USA Today, “Paralympic swimmer: I don’t want to pull out of Tokyo Games, but I’ve been given no choice”:


Paralympian Rebecca Meyers:


Tiffany and the Taiwan necklace project featured on Outreach for Taiwan (2014):


Tiffany talks about being Taiwanese, ITASA and the Taiwan necklace project:




ITASA (Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association):


TACL (Taiwanese American Citizens League):

About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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