Joe Amoroso, 39, is currently the acting division director for the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Disability Services. Amoroso, who has cerebral palsy, oversees a budget of over $300 million and hopes to drop the “acting” from his title.
How’d you join the crip club?
My true awareness started in my early college career when I first moved away from home and had to deal with emergencies myself. My crutches broke on a Sunday afternoon, and when I called my dad he said, “What are you going to do?” He was halfway out the door and in the car on the way to help me when I told him I had found a medical supplies store and bought a new pair.
What is your passion?
Social justice. It drives me bananas that people are treated differently because of something not under their control, and disability is one of these things.
What’s your motto?
Facta non verba — “Deeds, not words.”
What makes it all worth it?
Being able to win, and change someone’s life for the better. Sometimes it’s a big win, like a policy or philosophical change, and I see people doing better because of what I’ve done. Other times it’s a small victory, something I did in one person’s life. And sometimes, I get props just for showing up for just being there and le