Disability Advocate. Social Impact Entrepreneur. TEDx Speaker.
I’m the first generation daughter of a Taiwanese immigrant and a refugee from the Vietnam War. At the age of 9, I became disabled as a result of a car accident that also took the life of my dad. Today, I’m using whatever power and privilege I have to fight for more intersectional disability justice and equity. I’m a multi-hyphenate on a mission to change the way the world defines and views disability. I’m the CEO & Founder of Diversability, an award-winning community to accelerate disabled lives. I also started a monthly micro-grant for disability projects that has awarded $48,500 to 49 disability projects in 8 countries. I am an Easterseals ambassador and serve on the San Francisco Mayor’s Disability Council.
How does being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American and/or community ally play a role in your life?
I started to identify as Taiwanese American in college when I met other Taiwanese American classmates. We decided to create a new club on campus and it was through that experience that I got connected to the broader Taiwanese American community (ITASA). My experiences in college enabled me to confront the complexities of that identity and were my initial foray into learning more about diversity. In 2013, I partnered with jewelry designer Shannon Shiang to launch the Taiwan Necklace Project and share my Taiwan pride in a meaningful way with others. I lost my dad at a young age and my connection with the Taiwanese community is one of the ways I’m able to stay connected with him.
If you could teach future generations 1 thing about being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American or Taiwan, what would it be?
I want future generations to understand that there is no “right way” to be Taiwanese American. You are Taiwanese American because that’s who you are you are. Even though I was born here, we are still combatting others making us feel like we are perpetual foreigners. But I want future generations to know that you belong here.
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
For me, the future of Taiwanese America looks like solidarity, allyship, and possibility. I want future Taiwanese Americans to be intersectional in their advocacy and be represented in leadership positions at all levels. We can’t be what we can’t see. In my work specifically, I’m excited to see many more disabled Taiwanese Americans taking pride in their disability identities, even though we knew it was taboo to do so when we were growing up. Ultimately, I dream of a compassionate world where people have the space to be courageously and unapologetically themselves.
Favorite memory of Taiwan/Taiwanese America?
Some of my fondest memories in college were the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association (ITASA) conferences. Not only am I still connected with some friends I met through the conferences, but I am in awe of how our careers and lives have evolved in the past 10-15 years.
Favorite Taiwanese food?
Boba… is that a food? Also, I bet I will love Ho Chie’s (TaiwaneseAmerican.Org’s Founder) beef noodle soup recipe 🙂
Connect with Tiffany @imtiffanyyu on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and her Website! Tiffany is extremely proud of all the work we are doing at Diversability. Disabled and non-disabled allies are welcome to join our Facebook community or follow us on Instagram @diversability. Thank you for being an ally!