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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Justin Tapp, Policy Fellow

National Leadership Program, Spring 2019

Justin Tapp smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner

Justin Tapp

Justin Tapp is a Public Policy Fellow at RespectAbilitys National Leadership. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Tapp is now an undergraduate student at The University of Toledo (UT) in Toledo, Ohio. He will graduate in May of 2019 with his bachelors degree in Disability Studies and Political Science.

Tapp’s interest in the nonprofit sphere stems from his passion for assisting marginalized groups by advocating, participating in the political process that affects public policy, and strengthening the social and economic awareness for individuals with disabilities. Overall, Tapp is motivated in researching the most accessible inclusion strategies, providing knowledge on the common barriers faced for those with disabilities, and ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. He especially wants to improve policy concerning Title II, Title VII and FMLA. 

Tapp’s interests in disability issues comes from UTs disability studies program. The disability studies program is Ohios first and only program that focuses on disability in academic scholarship, social discourse and public policy. Tapp has learned the meaning of human difference and how society accepts or resists certain notions of “normal” behavior, function and appearance. He is learning to understand the full spectrum of human variation, and the challenging barriers that prevent disabled individuals from participating fully in common activities such as socializing in public. Justin also has the privilege to be the Disability Studies Student Organizations treasurer at UT.

A fact you may not know about Justin is that he identifies as being disabled. He was born with two congenital diseases: klippel-feil syndrome and scoliosis. Tapp enjoys using identity-first language and making sure everyone gets to know him by name instead of by his disability. Tapp is disabled, but he does not consider himself anyones inspiration; he just wants to show that disability is able to be included in employment/everyday life with the right accommodations. He specifically would like the world to have a universal design. Tapp especially enjoys teaching others about disability culture. Lastly, he has a hazel-eyed black cat named Hazel Mae that he loves dearly.

Tapp wrote three pieces during the 2019 Summer Fellowship, including a personal reflection. Read them on our website:

Tapp also wrote 13 pieces for The RespectAbility Report following the release of the  2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, delving into what the statistics mean for each of these states:

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RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Meet the Author

Justin Tapp
Justin Tapp

Justin Tapp is the Disability Studies Student Organization’s treasurer at the University of Toledo. He will graduate in May of 2019 with his bachelor’s degree in Disability Studies and Political Science. He was born with two congenital diseases: klippel-feil syndrome and scoliosis.

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