#InequalityIs: Tiffany Yu on inequality and disability

#InequalityIs:  Tiffany Yu on inequality and disability

Disability to me always felt like this elephant
in the room. One of my least favorite memories growing up was this mandatory
physical education class and I would always be the last one picked. If picked is even the
right word to use there. And it doesn’t matter if you have a disability or not, being excluded can
have a lasting impact on how we feel like we can contribute to society. Inequality is exclusion. Exclusion is disabling, not the disability itself. And how many of you guys are new to Diversability? Raise them up high and proud. [Cheering] Good, good. There are a billion of us who live with some
sort of disability. If you don’t
have a disability, or you’re not
affected by it, you don’t even really
think about it, right? Disability is something I think about everyday. Like how can I make hand gestures
during this talk while holding
this microphone. [Laughing] My personal story begins about 20 years ago. My dad lost control of the car. I had broken a
couple bones in legs, so I was in a wheelchair for four months. And I stretched the nerves of my right arm so I have a bit
of a funny hand. And I was trying to deal with this new identity as a
person with a disability. It took me 13 years before I spoke publicly
about the car accident and what had happened to me. And that’s 13 years of shame, that I’m only now starting to explore. Part of the work that I do in the disability space is also serving
as a role model for other people
with disabilities to be employed. I’m a former investment banker, a techie, and now I work at a shared housing
company, Common. And so when I think about employment with
regard to disability, I think that a lot of times the way employers see hiring people
with disabilities as a social good or as something
they have to do to meet some sort of quota. But my hope and my vision is that you see me as
what I can add value to my team and not for, you know, the fact that I can’t use
one of my arms. Dismantling inequality, I think it’s really
rooted in inclusion. If we come back to grounding ourselves
in our humanity, we’ll remember that we’re all the same and we should be equal.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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