Diversability

Diversability is an award-winning movement to rebrand disability through the power of community.

Diversability is an award-winning movement to rebrand disability through the power of community.

More than 1 billion of us live with disabilities. We must remove all barriers that affect the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in society, including through changing attitudes that fuel stigma and institutionalize discrimination.
— Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

What We Do

Diversability is an award-winning global movement to rebrand disability that began in Washington, DC with Tiffany Yu in 2009.

We foster community online and off to connect, showcase, and empower people of all abilities doing amazing things. We want to get more people talking and thinking about disability as a core part of the diversity conversation. We unite the disability community, engage allies, and celebrate disability pride and empowerment. 

Connect

Something powerful happens when we bring people with and without disabilities together and create a space where everyone is included and everyone matters. Inclusion greatly influences how we see ourselves, helps us feel empowered and builds self-esteem and self-confidence. We can start to change perceptions of disability when we connect in-person, humanize disability, and share stories.

Showcase

In New York alone, we have showcased some amazing people in our community, such as Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Jason DaSilva and Alice Cook; Ms. Wheelchair America 2011 Alexandra McArthur; TEDx speaker Becky Curran; exemplar for the AT&T and NYU Connect Ability Challenge Xian Horn; and more. And we were honored to receive the 2015 Bell Greve Memorial Award from the National Rehabilitation Association for our programming.

Empower

We encourage our community and our allies to dream bigger and do great things. We oftentimes underestimate our abilities, but it’s amazing what people can do if just given the chance. Take Amanda Frantz, who took her jewelry business to the next level when she created The DiversAble Model Project, or Alisa Goldman, Diversability's former Director of Content, who went on to create Healing Honestly, an online platform to speak about healing from trauma. They, and many others, are everyday role models who have expanded the world around us.

Is Diversability a non-profit?

Diversability LLC is a for-profit, social good company. We believe that being a for-profit company gives us better flexibility to work with non-profits, not rely on grants, and create a sustainable business model.

What is Disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one of more major life activity. People with a disability may include:

  • people who are blind or partially sighted
  • people with learning or intellectual disabilities
  • people who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • people with a physical disability
  • people with long term or chronic illnesses
  • people with mental health or psychological difficulties
  • people with an acquired brain injury

For us, simply put, disability is diverse. We want to give people the space to identify as they feel comfortable. 

Our Team

We are run by a team of passionate volunteers. Everyone who is a part of the Diversability community is part of our team. Below you'll find a small selection of who we are.

What People are Saying

I really appreciate your connecting me with this community...I feel a renewed sense of identity and hope for something I’ve felt that has been missing for a while.
— Donna Lee, NIC (Certified ASL Interpreter)
It [Diversability Live!] was a lot of fun. [...] Super excited about this, and so glad to have connected with the community!
— Nick Lum, Founder of BeeLine Reader & Tech Awards Laureate
I love this group [Diversability Community]! As person with a disability who has struggled daily with feeling like the only one it’s nice to have spaces like this to connect with others.
— Jenna Alvarez, Founder of More Than My Disability LLC
Thank you to everyone at Diversability for your continual support. We are extremely grateful to have found this group of wonderful people.
— Heather McCarthy, Co-Creator of Someone Special Uniquely Personalized Books

Awards/Honors

  • Winner, the Guardian's My Side Hustle Wins
  • Winter/Spring 2016 Ben Appelbaum Foundation (BAF) Master Class
  • Selected Project, Radish Lab Discovery Lab Beta Workshop
  • Finalist, Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs
  • Winner, National Rehabilitation Association Bell Greve Memorial Award
  • Finalist, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Hearne Leadership Award
  • Winner, Reimagine Georgetown Grant

Our Friends and Partners

Able-bodied people don’t often talk about disability, and the fear of getting something wrong or offensive keeps us from addressing it. We might even accidentally point out that we aren’t as comfortable with disability as we want the world to believe.

But these fears shouldn’t stop us from confronting our own biases.
— "6 ways to be a better ally to people living with disabilities" (Mashable)
Tiffany Yu at Diversability's New York launch in NYC, April 2015 (Photo Credit: Felix Chen)

Tiffany Yu at Diversability's New York launch in NYC, April 2015 (Photo Credit: Felix Chen)

A Note from the Founder

January 21, 2015

My story begins almost 20 years ago when I was involved in a car accident that left me with a disability, but the real turning point was in 2009.

I was participating in a conversation on diversity in my final year at Georgetown University, and noticed that disability was missing from that conversation. That's when I started Diversability, a movement dedicated to raising disability awareness and reshaping conceptions of ability. We had an amazing year, from receiving a Reimagine Georgetown Grant to hosting our first event--"The Ability to Laugh"--to making headlines on the front page of The Hoya. 

Over the next couple of years, Diversability was led by an incredible group including Eric, Jeff, Kate, and Nancy.

I stayed involved in the broader disability community through Lime Connect, the Disability Interest Forum at Goldman Sachs, and B-ABLE at Bloomberg. But over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed a need for something like Diversability to exist to bring people together and get people of all abilities engaged in the conversation. It seemed like the perfect time to bring Diversability back and expand past the campus.

People with disabilities are more than just "people with disabilities." We are entrepreneurs, executives, whatever we want to be. We are people with diverse abilities. 

Thank you for being a part of this journey and movement.

Tiffany

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