By Carlos Ríos Espinosa, Senior Researcher and Advocate, Disability Rights Division
When I was 4 months old, I got polio, and since then I’ve been a wheelchair user. When I was 10, in 1975, my parents found a summer camp for children with disabilities in California and decided it would be a good experience for me.
Summer camp showed me there was a wider world outside my family and that I was able to navigate it. That summer came back to me when I saw the documentary film Crip Camp, which is slated to start streaming on Netflix on March 25.
The film traces the birth of the US disability rights movement to a unique summer camp, Camp Jened, managed by people with disabilities like Judy Heumann and members of the ‘60s countercultural movement. Camp Jened provided a space for self-discovery for many teenagers and young adults with disabilities – a place where they could share common concerns and stories about living with a disability in a predominantly able-bodied world.
Above all, they learned how to love themselves and be proud.